When asked, many people–even those calling themselves Christians–will say that they think they are a good person. They believe the good things they do outweigh the bad things they do. And they hope that the scales is tipped enough to the “good deeds” side to get them entrance into heaven when they die. They often believe Christ died for the sins of the world. But, for some reason, they think that they still need to do enough good things before they can be reconciled with God and spend eternity with Him.
I know many, if not most, of my readers fully realize that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. But if you have landed here and do not truly understand this, it seemed well worth the effort to write about it this week. On Good Friday we contemplate Jesus’s death on the cross. And then on Sunday we celebrate Easter, the glorious day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to reign forever more! But why does it really matter, if I can be good enough anyway?
Do you truly realize the message of the cross? Do you realize that Jesus died on that cross for your sins? So that you can be reconciled with God? To provide the ONLY way for reconciliation? In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
There are lots of vague, fuzzy beliefs out there right now. Beliefs that you can believe whatever you want. False teachers who tell us we can all believe differently and still get to heaven. But Jesus tells us in the Bible that we cannot all believe different things. He tells us that He is the only way.
And, lest you think you are tipping the scales pretty heavily on the “not guilty” side and in no need of a Savior, Romans 3:23 sets us all straight:“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Our pastor said yesterday that our good deeds are akin to our taking dirty water and filthy rags and washing windows. Will you end up with clean windows? No, you will still have dirty windows.
Isaiah 64:6 says:
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
So, we can do all the good deeds in the world, and yet, we can never reach perfection. And so, God made a way for us. He sent His Son to die on a cross and to rise victoriously over sin! He sent His son so that we can stand clean–white as snow–before God (Isaiah 1:18). Instead of our sin, God sees Christ’s righteousness. Oh, the glorious cross! It made a way of salvation for you and for me!
So, you may say, if our righteousness is as filthy rags, why do anything good? Why bother? Why try to live a good life? I will tell you why! Because if you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ and if you truly understand what He did for you on the cross then you will love Him so much that you will want to please Him in all that you do. Your main goal in life becomes glorifying Him and sharing the wonderful good news of the gospel with others.
I am afraid that I have “preached to the choir” in writing this. If you have already repented and trusted Jesus for your eternal salvation, may you take this week to truly ponder and rejoice in what Christ did for you on the cross. But, if you have not, may I encourage you to search the scriptures, so that you may understand what it was that Christ did for you on the cross. And, although I do not know your name, please know that I will be praying for you.
- Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
- By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
- Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
- Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span