“Good works” are the essence of every other religion on earth. All other religions strive to earn God’s favor and to achieve moral perfection. We see this in the Jewish ceremonial law, the eightfold path of Buddhism, the Hindu doctrine of karma, and the Sharia law of Islam.

But the essence of Christianity is not human effort. Instead, it is God’s grace. The concept of grace is unique to Christianity. It is not found in any other religious belief system. The doctrine of grace not only teaches that we don’t need to earn our way to heaven, it teaches that it is impossible to earn our way to heaven.

The apostle Paul put it this way: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

So it is a tragic and fatal error to believe, “I have lived a good life. I don’t need to be saved.” Are you trying to earn your way to heaven? The Truth is that no one can ever earn his or her way to heaven. We are all under the curse of Adam’s sin, and we are all unworthy of salvation.

Yet no matter how far we have fallen into the depths of sin, we cannot fall beyond the reach of God’s love and grace. He has forgiven, redeemed, and restored sinners of every kind—blasphemers, murderers, robbers, slave-traders, adulterers, and worse. Nothing you have done comes as a surprise to God. He is ready to receive you—yes, even you!

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your extravagant grace demonstrated in the gift of Your Son. Thank You for doing for me what I could never do for myself. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Got Freedom?: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.



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