“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
The truth—and it is painful to admit—is that no matter how good we are, we will never be good enough to satisfy God’s holiness. And that doesn’t change even after becoming a Christian.
Packiam, Glenn (2010-01-01). Secondhand Jesus (p. 128). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
If a parent told his children that they would never be good enough, he would be scorned and probably end up in court, but he would be truthful. I have know so many who, although they could accept they were not perfect, they believed that they were “good enough.” God doesn’t grade on the curve. He requires perfection, 100 %. We can’t make that grade.
Coming to grips with not being “good enough” should bring us to our knees. Thank God, He has provided an answer to this problem.
The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We … put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God … puts himself where we deserve to be. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 160.
Somehow the concept of Jesus’ substitution for us, slips through our fingers and we are left holding only the concept of forgiveness. We come to believe that salvation is a “Second Chance.” That having not been “good enough to start with that having been forgiven we will now be good enough. Paul answered that question in his letter to the Galatians.
Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! (Gal. 3:2–4 MSG)
Grace is a double barrel blessing: forgiveness and the ability to obey. We still fall. We still need forgiveness. We still need grace. We have to be careful not to let our pride convince us that although we were “bad” before, now we are “good.” We can begin to believe that we have earned something by our new “good works.”
If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with “rights”—I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace—then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.
Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton/Penguin Group, 2008),
Grace doesn’t make our obedience irrelevant; it makes our obedience possible.
Packiam, Glenn (2010-01-01). Secondhand Jesus (pp. 152-154). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
Our God is holy, loving and just.To us these, attributes seem inconsistent. If we focus on His holiness, we are crushed, If we focus on His love, we are useless, if we focus on his justice, we are lost. We need to focus on His Son, and live.