The Pope has strongly asserted that all can earn their way to heaven through good works. This teaching is clearly contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and an example of a false gospel – Pope implies good works can lead to salvation.
The Bible itself declares that no-one is sinless before God based on his/her own works:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (Romans 3:10-11)
Jesus also asserted that no man is good:
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. (Mark 10:18)
The New Testament makes it absolutely clear that man can ONLY be saved by the grace and mercy of God:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Jesus Christ Himself makes the claim that salvation is ONLY possible through Him in the following well known verse:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
An atheist by definition cannot he have his/her sins paid for through Jesus Christ because they would not have accepted Jesus as their Saviour. This is NOT to say that atheists are incapable of good works – every human being (whatever their belief/unbelief) is capable of good works. However, those good works cannot save as every persons life is tainted with sin, no matter how many “good works” they have done – Why is sin a BIG deal?