I had to visit the dentist recently. Thrilling stuff, right?
I decided to get the gentle condemnation out of the way right off the bat.
“I haven’t flossed as much as I should.” I hastened to add, “But I’ve been drinking fewer sugary drinks and more water.”
The hygienist chuckled but said “I don’t think it works that way.”
I realized that there are too many people in this world who treat getting into heaven the same way.
“Yeah, I lie a little, but I donate to a charity that digs wells for villages in Africa.”
“Maybe I haven’t gone to church as much as I should, but I’ve never cheated on my spouse.”
“Bargain” variety of salvation. Except that just like keeping my teeth healthy — it doesn’t work that way. Getting to heaven isn’t playing a cosmic game of addition and subtraction. Of tallying a ledger of good deeds vs. bad deeds.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:4-10, emphasis mine)
This is the message of the entire Bible: our works can and never will earn us salvation.
Not because we can’t do good deeds or nice things, or because our bad deeds are so bad. It’s because our spirits are dead and need to be made alive. Only Christ can bring life from death. Only by believing in His sacrificial death and resurrection can we turn away the wrath of God and enter into His exceeding riches in Christ Jesus.
All the wells in Africa won’t do what the Living Water (the Spirit) can.
I find it difficult to floss every day when it comes to my teeth. You think I want to gamble my eternal soul on doing good deeds. Ha!
Choose between trusting in my good works or trusting in the finished work of Jesus, that’s an easy decision. (Spoiler alert: it’s Jesus.)
If you have not made that decision in your life, make it today.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.