Many have the mistaken belief that Heaven awaits those whose good deeds outweigh their bad. They strive, sometimes to exhaustion, attempting to find favor with God by the positive things they do. But Scripture plainly teaches all of man’s righteous works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). King Belshazzar understood the truth of God’s Word one night, albeit too late for him, as a hand wrote upon the wall of his palace.
Belshazzar’s father had been the great King Nebuchadnezzar whom God used to bring His chosen people out of the land of Judea and into captivity in Babylon because of their sin of forsaking Him and worshipping the gods of the Canaanites, which He had clearly forbade (Jeremiah 2). During a great feast to honor a thousand of his nobles, Belshazzar commanded the golden and silver vessels confiscated from the Temple in Jerusalem to be brought to him and his guests to partake of their drinks while praising the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall.” The prophet Daniel was called to interpret the handwriting which included God’s words, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Judgment was being pronounced upon Belshazzar, along with his kingdom, which ended that night with his death and the kingdom being divided between the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5).
The balance man is weighed with is not good deeds versus bad deeds, but against the Person of Jesus Christ. When weighed against Him there is no hope of Heaven for anyone. Only by His Mercy and Grace freely offered by His death on the cross to all who will call upon His Name is Heaven promised (Romans 10:13). He has done all that could be done to bring man into a right relationship with God. There is nothing in man’s hands or on a scale he can bring to Him; only to His Cross can man cling by faith to receive His forgiveness.