Second in the series: SALVATION- A Technical Explanation
Throughout the history of humankind there has been an inbuilt desire to relate to God.
Cain and Abel, the first two people born, felt that desire and so initiated the first acts of "Religion." Religion is the attempt to approach God by performing some act. Cain and Abel made offerings. Many older religions revolved around various offerings or sacrifices to the many "gods." These offerings were made to appease the gods, to make them happy, to bribe them into helping the people, or to meet the gods' desires for "victims."
After God gave the Law to the Jews, religion became more and more the practice of keeping regulations of lifestyle. That is what the main thrust of religion remains to be today. People "do" things in order to approach God; to please God; to become "like" God; some even supposedly to "become God."
Those who believe in "the Judgment Day" do the things they think will weigh in their favor when God judges them, weighing the good and the bad to see whether they should go to heaven or hell.
It was through the Bible, and the Law given to the Jews that the true God explained the reason for sacrifice. That reason is Sin. Sin is the wrong that people do. The wrong which separates them from a pure and holy God. God provided a means for removing that sin. That means of removal was the sacrificial substitution of an innocent life for the life of the sinner.
Those who are raised in a "christian" cultural environment are indoctrinated into the concept of Judgment of all people by God when they die. Religion says that the decision made for either heaven or hell is based upon how well the person has managed to adhere to and accomplish the rules and regulations that have been laid down.
In that context the person brings up the claim,
" I'm basically a good person, and I try to keep the 10 commandments."
Any honest review of such a statement shows it to be an admission of ignorance. The person does not really have any idea what he should have done and is simply hoping for the best.
Through learning the true nature of salvation a person can move from this position of hopeful ignorance to one of solid knowledge. As a result he eventually understands that his claim quoted above is completely irrelevant in relating to the determination of his eternal condition.