Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Being Good is Not Good Enough

One of the troublesome aspects of funerals is that the deceased person is often said to be in heaven because they were such a good person.  We will often talk about the moral goodness of a person or we will discuss how the person attended a church or perhaps, like my mama, they kept nursery for the church for many years.  All of the good that a person does is suppose to show that they loved God, that their works showed their faith in Jesus (James 2:14-26) and certainly good works do follow salvation (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).

However, we must preach hard that good works never justify a person before God.  You see the problem with good works is that we cannot decide when enough good works are enough.  How many good works must a person do to obtain forgiveness of our sins?  What if our bad works are equal with our good works?  What if the standard for good works is actually do something else besides what we are doing?  And further, who decides what are good works?  Scripture doesn’t give us details to what qualify as good works per se.  Does giving money to a charity qualify the same as giving money to a homeless person?  And what if we give money to a homeless person but then we lie or cheat or steal?  Does the good then outdo the bad?  It is a never-ending cycle.

This is why justification is by grace through faith which boggles the mind.  No wonder Paul would write in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  The cross destroys our human logic.  The cross destroys two things.  First, the cross shows the utter sinfulness of our sins.  We often fail to see our sins until we see the gospel in the cross of Christ, that the sinless Lamb of God took our place (Isaiah 53:4-6).  The cross shouts to us, “Guilty before God of sin” (see Galatians 3:10).  We are guilty before a holy God of crimes against His Law (Romans 7:7; James 2:10).  The Law shows us that we deserve His just wrath against sin (Galatians 3:23-24).  The cross shows us that sinfulness before God.  No matter how good we might think we are, we are still guilty before a perfect and holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  

Secondly, the cross shows us the grace of God for our salvation.  Jesus bore our sins on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He took the wrath of God, the bitter cup for us (Mark 14:36; Romans 5:8-9).  He died for our sins (Matthew 1:21; 26:28; 1 Peter 2:21-24). He shed His blood that we might be forgiven before God (Hebrews 9:27-28).  We don’t fully grasp that but we see it a bit more clearly when we see our sinfulness and then the cross in light of our sins.  God has every right to destroy us and cast us into outer darkness for our sins (Matthew 25:30, 46) but He gives us grace in His Son (John 1:17).  Such marvelous grace that would go to Calvary and die for our sins.  Oh the power of His love!  Oh the wonder of His grace!  Oh the beauty of the blood of Christ!

The cross tells us that good is not good enough.  All our goodness cannot compare to the cross.  All our goodness cannot repay the Lord for the cross.  We simply receive His grace, His love, His mercy and His kindness by grace through faith.  We cannot obtain salvation through our goodness.  It is not faith plus our goodness.  It is simply faith in Jesus that saves (John 6:29).  All of salvation is a work of grace (Acts 15:11).  We can never obtain salvation by any other means but by the marvelous cross of Jesus Christ as He died for our sins.

Praise God for the cross!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/10/2012 at 10:49 PM

%d bloggers like this: