How good is good enough? How bad is too bad? It seems like whenever I get into a conversation with someone about what we must do to be “right” with God, the conversation, at one point or another, includes the following phrase: “Well, I’m basically a good person. I live my life and try not to hurt anyone.” I’ve heard believer and unbeliever alike utter this phrase. I use to say those same things until I was confronted with the reality that “good” is not good enough. God doesn’t ask us to be “good.” He says, 45 “I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45 NIV) In another place, Jesus says, 48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48-1 NIV)
My being content with being “good” is like a long jumper standing before the Grand Canyon and being satisfied that he can jump 25 feet when everyone else is jumping 10 or 15 feet. Jumping further than everyone else is irrelevant when you are still going to fall far short.
We are saved, not by being better than everyone else, not by being good, but by the grace of God. Salvation is a gift. I didn’t earn it by going to church, helping the poor, memorizing Scripture, or leading others to Christ. I can’t maintain my salvation by teaching Sunday school, working with addicts, taking a mission trip, or by giving money to the Sisters of Charity. All of these are wonderful activities for me to invest my life in, but they have nothing to do with my earning or maintaining salvation. Isaiah 64:6 lets me know that my most righteous deeds are as filthy rags to God. Salvation is a gift. An incomprehensible, astoundingly amazing gift from God.
The difference between those who think they can do something to merit God saving them, or contribute to maintaining their salvation, and those who know that salvation is a gift from God is the difference between arrogance and humility. To think that I can “do” something that would lead God to stand up and take notice inevitably leads to arrogance and self-righteousness. Lord knows we have lots of arrogance and self-righteousness in the Body of Christ today. On the other hand, those who know that salvation is a gift are fully aware that God has acted on their behalf in spite of themselves and this leads to humility. How can I not be overwhelmed with humility when I know that the God of glory has so graciously rescued me from myself, my propensity to disobedience, and an eternity apart from God? How can I not be stunned by God’s mercy when I consider that He loved me so much that He put my guilt on His sinless Son’s shoulders? I am driven to my knees in humility when I consider what God has done to save me.
I’ll receive God’s gift of salvation and treasure it all the days of my life. I’ll cherish His priceless gift and share the good news of God’s free gift of salvation with everyone I meet.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will never let me forget that when it comes to my salvation You have done it all. Help me respond to Your gift my giving my all to serving You as I serve others.