Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Good enough?

I had a pretty unpleasant conversation with a man this week. Alex was a very bitter and aggressive man who seemed to think that he was the only one in the whole world who was right in the area of scriptural doctrine and practice, (he doesn't meet at any church, and he will not be taught by anybody).

He kept citing verses to support his off-the-wall notions, and when I challenged him each time to tell me where the verses were found and what was their context he couldn't do it. I showed him that he was pulling the verses out of context and the passages clearly weren't teaching what he was saying. He said that I was "really into" this context stuff! I told him I really was into it, because God's Word isn't something to be played with, twisted and molded to fit our own ideas and whims.

Anyway, I could take ages telling you all the crazy things he said in our conversation, but what I want to tell you about is this, he said that he thought if he continued to walk faithfully with the Lord then he would be saved. I asked him how faithful he had to be, because he surely wasn't claiming he was perfect. (I'm not convinced he didn't think he was perfect.)

This is something that everyone who has a performance based hope needs to ask themselves - how good do I have to be? He told me that he wasn't depending on his own strength but on the grace of God to empower him to live a faithful life, but if he wasn't perfectly faithful then whose fault is that? Is that a lack of grace on God's part or is it a lack of faithfulness on Alex's part? It can only be a lack of faithfulness on Alex's part, so how faithful does he have to be to satisfy God and earn His acceptance? It appeared he had never really thought about that. I pressed this point on him, and want to press it on all who are depending on their works for God or walk with God - you have created a god in your own image - the true God is absolute in His righteousness, and if you are depending on your faithfulness then you will have to be absolutely perfect, because God can't give you any quota of sins that you're allowed to commit.

I told him he could never be good enough to earn God's favour. He seemed insulted, but then I told him nobody could be good enough - we have all sinned and we come short of the glory of God (Romans 3 v 23). That's why I am depending on the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary.

When someone recognises the seriousness of their sins, and appreciates and accepts the sacrifice of God's Son to meet their need and pay their penalty, this brings them into the present possession of new life in Christ (John 3 v 36).

I don't know if Alex will think about what I said, but I hope you will. Think how righteous God is - our lives can never satisfy Him, but Christ's death has, the resurrection proves that. Depend on the One who died for you and rose again, and you will know the assurance of salvation and peace with God.