Isn't It Enough To Be A Good Person?

At least I'm not an ax murderer, right? Most people like to think they are pretty good, you know, compared to someone worse than them.  

But in Romans 7:18 Paul says, "I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh."  

We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope
— Tim Keller

How Bad Are You?

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says that anyone who murders will be judged against the law.  But then he adds a very tough addendum.  If you are angry with anyone, you will be judged!  I’m pretty sure there isn’t a human that walked this earth who can say they’ve never been angry.  

The more I study and read scripture, it is apparent that the laws of the old and new testament are impossible to follow 100% of the time.  A non-Christian friend noticed our church often talks about the fact that we can’t be perfect.  She confessed it made her very depressed to think this way. And she is right.  Focusing only on our imperfections can be very depressing, indeed.

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.
— CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Law Can’t Save

But here’s the deal.  We need the law.  We need it to show us our need for a Savior.  We need it to depress us.  For one who lived the first 18 years of my life trying to abide by the law and earn favor in God’s eyes, this is great news.  Because I failed…a lot.  The law was never meant to save us!

Galatians 3 : 21-22
“For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ,

might be given to those who believe.” 

Faith In Jesus is Better Than Rule Following  

  1. Rule following is exhausting work.  Pious people spend all of their time and energy trying to stay within the lines, and live in constant fear they are not making the grade.
  2. Faith in Jesus allows us to claim HIS perfect life as our own.  It’s not fair, but it’s ever in our favor!
  3. When we mess up, we do not have to work our way back to God.  We have perfect communion with Him because when God looks at us, He sees His perfect son.
  4. Working towards our own perfection leads to judgment.  Working out our faith in Christ leads to eternal life in heaven.

Better Than A Fairytale

Every little girl dreams of prince charming sweeping her off her feet.  She waits for her fairy god mother to come wave her wand and wipe away all her imperfections.  She twirls in his arms, knowing the night will come to an end.  She will once again be ragged and lonely.  He does not recognize her in her lowly state, and needs a magic glass slipper to realize his princess is standing in front of him.

Your story is not this though.  It is better.  Your Prince does not wait for you to have access to a magic wand, if ever one existed.  He does not stand in his mighty castle, waiting for you to find a way to him.  While you are covered in filth, despised and rejected, he searches for you until He finds you.  He looks with love on you.  He covers you with his spotless robe.  He claims you as His own, though you don’t deserve it.  You are cherished by this King more than you can ever understand.

Daughter of the King, do not dwell on your imperfections.  Acknowledge your sins and flaws as an arrow, pointing you into the arms of a Savior who is more than enough to cover it all.  He covers you with his righteousness, his perfection, because He loves you!  

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A Resource

There is a teaching in the church called total depravity.  Sounds really complicated, but the basic idea is that we cannot do anything good apart from God.  Even our 'good' acts are flawed and sinful, unless they are done by God through us.  For more info on "Total depravity," click here.