Here is a quote from Ellen White for all the legalists who believe they must add works to the list of requirements for salvation:
“He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility.” ~ Desire of Ages, P. 172
It might be tempting to turn her statement into a description of a non-christian person who thinks that if they are a good person then they will get into heaven. But in reality she is talking about a professed Christian who does not understand the relationship between faith and works in the plan of salvation.
Those who believe they must attain a state of perfect obedience as a condition of salvation are doomed before they even get started. First, they do not have the genuine faith that is required for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Second, they will never reach the point where they are sinless.
Simple faith is the only condition required for being “re-birthed” into the kingdom of God. Genuine faith accepts the assurance of salvation which allows the Holy Spirit to change the motivation from fear of condemnation to love for receiving the free gift of salvation.
Love for God is the cleansing agent that removes the power of sin in our lives and transforms us into the image of Christ. This love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit by faith (assurance of our salvation) through Jesus Christ. Genuine obedience is the fruit of a love relationship with God that is far removed from the guilt-ridden fear of attempting to earn heaven by our good deeds.