Just as there is no human life without oxygen, so there is no eternal life without the grace of Jesus.
All other theories, strong and noble though they seem, are grand illusions that overestimate our goodness and underestimate God’s holiness. No string of sins avoided, or good deeds performed with vigor even start to bridge the gap between our lostness and His law.
But forgiveness takes us where forgoing never can.
Jesus loves us far too much to let us go on fooling others and ourselves about the cost of being saved. Only He can pay the price—and He has paid it all.