The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Weekly Devotional 1-6-20 Good Enough
Ask someone; If you should die today, where do you think you will go, heaven or hell, and most will say heaven. Then following up on that question, asking what do you believe qualifies you for heaven, many will answer, I believe I have been good enough. They add, I know I have done some bad things, but I believe I have done more good things than bad things, and when scaled out, God will say “enter into my presence.” But is that correct? Consider the words of Jesus as He proclaimed from the mount “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). And, in His conversation with Nicodemus, He said: “3 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God….5Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:3….5-8).
In the Matthew passage, Jesus was talking to men He had chosen to be apostles, men whom after His death would carry His message to the world. At the time He spoke those words however, they were not as of yet born again, they were men who were still controlled by their old (sinful) natures and He said to them that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the hypocritical Pharisees, they would by no means enter into heaven. They would later understand that that was not humanly possible. They, like the Pharisees, were enslaved by their sinful natures, which disqualified them for heaven. They would later understand that sin must be paid for.
In the John passage, Jesus told Nicodemus that his religiosity could not make him right with God, but at the time Nicodemus couldn’t understand that. He thought, am I not the religious leader of the Jews? Am I not a Pharisee?
The apostle Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote: “1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 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” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Paul himself at one time thought that he was serving God, even casting Christians into prison, but at a certain time, the crucified risen Savior apprehended him breathing into him the Spirit of God, and he was made righteous (Acts 9). He became an apostle of the Lord, becoming so filled with Christ that he suffered martyrdom rather than deny Jesus. He had come to understand that his righteousness was Jesus’ righteousness given to him. He wrote of this in several of his letters.
From his first letter to the Corinthians, we read: “26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1st Corinthians 1:26-30).
In his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote: “20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”(2nd Corinthians 5:20-21).
In His letter to the Romans, he wrote: “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
And, in Titus 3:5-7 he wrote: “5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
From these passages, that which qualifies one for heaven is Christ’s righteousness given to those who are born again by the regenerating authority of the Holy Spirit. This is necessary because: “10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-11). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
I close with these words of Jesus: “18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Weekly Devotional 1-6-20 Good Enough