Is Your Best Good Enough for God?
July 1, 2012
When I was a child, I thought of God as a vague (unclear), faraway being who wanted something from me. To be honest, I was a bit confused. I knew there was a problem with sin, but that didn't stop me and I really didn't know how to stop doing the wrong that I did. So, I kept asking God to forgive me for my sins, hoping and praying that at Judgment He would remember that I asked for forgiveness, thinking that asking for forgiveness was the solution.
This type of thinking is no different than the world's concept of right and wrong. It's commonly thought that we should do good things, and that as a just God, He will reward us with heaven because we tried. It's been said that we must do the best we know, and that is what we'll be held accountable too. Many preachers falsely teach this incredible lie.
My friends, the Bible teaches us another way. In this column we're going to look at some key verses which point to a wonderful Savior, who indeed has ransomed (delivered) us from our debt. The man Job also thought doing good things was the requirement and that he should be rewarded for his works. Let's take a closer look at some verses from the book of Job.
Job 1:1-There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Notice that the verse says he was perfect. Then, with the permission of God (Job 1:12), Satan wreaks havoc on Job's life, taking away all he had. Job starts to complain:
Job 3:3-Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. (The child he is referring to is himself)
Job's friends came to comfort him, but spoke critical words that God himself condemned them for (Job 42:7). After much back and forth between Job's three older friends and himself, the younger Elihu speaks up:
Job 32:2-Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Job 35:4-8-...Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? or if thy transgressions [wrong doings] be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
After much painful truth, Elihu finishes his message. The Lord confirms Elihu's speaking by asking many questions; asking Job to justify his bold proclamation that his good works should count for something:
Job 38:3-4 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding...
Job 42:1-3-Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
I wish there were more space, as we only have room for a few verses. However, my friends, it is very clear that God is looking for more than our best. Remember that Job was called perfect, and by God himself! If any man ever had reason to think his righteousness counted for something, Job had that reason.
Now, let's look at Romans:
Romans 3:23-24-For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:27-28-Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 4:5-But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Friends, we are clearly saved by grace, through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ alone. We must be followers of our Savior; not for the sake of righteousness, but because we are fully committed to him! There is so much trouble because people do not rightly divide the Word of God!
2 Timothy 2:15-Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (Our works are no longer filthy, because we have Christ. Christ's finished work cleanses us, and makes us and our works clean; therefore we no longer need to be ashamed.)
We must recognize that the Bible speaks of different topics, and that indeed we must work for the Lord. Indeed, our reward is based on our works, but not our salvation (another column could be written about the difference between ‘reward' and ‘salvation', and even ‘saved' versus ‘salvation'). We must read the entire Bible; not only the verses that allow us to find our own way into heaven. Jesus Christ alone is the door, our robe of righteousness. Our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. In spite of that, we tend to be so proud that we ask God to accept our filthy works, pleading that He'll like what we do! This is a shame, a terrible shame, and it's time we accept Christ as our righteousness and fully consecrate our entire lives, spouses, families, occupations, goods, and yes, even our own righteousness. Only then can we come into His Glory.
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