If you were to ask the average person, even many of those in the church, how God will determine who goes to heaven or not, they will likely respond that God will evaluate the way people lived their lives; and, if they are basically good, then He will reward them with heaven. This manner of thinking exists despite what orthodoxy may teach about the insufficiency of works as a means to salvation.
Admittedly, the Bible speaks, even in the New Testament, about being judged according to works, so there is ample basis for confusion. And the Old Testament concept of rewarding good conduct and punishing the bad seems logical enough to the human mind. The problem with the concept of a judgment according to works is trying to visualize the standard by which that judgment could be made. The Bible says clearly enough that we all have shortcomings, and we know that a part of everyone’s life is devoted to hiding and/or trying to overcome their darker side. The Bible also seems clear on the point that, if you err at all, it is the same as being totally in error. With those facts in view, it is hard to see how anyone will be able to survive a judgment of their works.
Just how good is good enough in God’s sight? A logical answer” to this question might be to suggest that we simply leave that up to God because He knows best and we don’t need to know. Of course, this response then leaves the respondent in the position of doing his or her best and then hoping for the best. I believe that the vast majority of folks, in or out of the church, are doing just that. Doing the best one can and then leaving the rest up to God appears to be the real prevailing theology. I’ll be the first to admit that leaving it up to God sounds a whole lot better than leaving it up to me. If we count on God to do what is right, how could we possibly be wrong?