82. TRYING TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN IS NOT ENOUGH -JESUS IS THE ANSWER
(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 1)
Many people try their very best to be the best they can be in this life. They try a whole lot of things and for everything they do that they have labelled as ‘good’, they believe that God is well pleased and it earns them points in heaven. However, outside of a life that has been surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only one that is perfectly good, completely sinless, absolutely pure and perfectly righteous, God is not pleased. He is a thrice holy God and we are so far gone that he has declared that it is only JESUS CHRIST that he will accept in bringing us back.
Jesus himself said when he was living on this earth, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6).
While trying to be good is a noble effort therefore, it is important that you know, that through God’s mercy and grace, the price for the salvation of the soul of EVERY human being (which requires that sin be first punished through death) has already been paid when Jesus offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice, to die a painful and agonizing death substitutionally for you and for me.
That is although he was perfectly righteous and never sinned and was perfectly good, he stepped in out of love for us, to pay the penalty that each one of us incurred for sin (which is disobedience against God). That penalty was death, meaning both physical death and spiritual death, the latter of which would have ultimately resulted in us going straight to hell.
For, God’s standard to get to heaven is perfect righteousness. When we do acts here and there that we consider to be good, God considers them as not good enough and we still miss the mark. He therefore does not credit any of our so-called ‘goodness’ to our account to get to heaven. However, when we surrender our lives to his Son the Lord Jesus, who died, rose up again, appeared to many and then went back to heaven, God in his mercy and by his grace, saves us from eternal damnation in hell by imputing or crediting Christ’s perfect righteousness to our account.
In other words, he covers us in the righteousness of Christ which is perfect and is God’s standard for righteousness, thereby enabling us to have access to His heaven, not because of anything that we have done or could do but because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins when he obediently went to the cross and died for our sins.
He did not have to but despite being God the Son and therefore part of the Godhead because of God’s love for human beings, Jesus humbled himself, came to earth in the form of a human being and allowed himself to be captured and killed by wicked men, so that the price for the sins of the world could be paid, His perfect blood could flow and then be used as an atonement for our sins.
Romans 6:23 lets us know that “…the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John 3:16 states that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Philippians 2:6-11 states of Jesus that He:
- “…being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
1 Peter 2:24 states of Jesus, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.“
Leviticus 17:11 underscores the importance of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. It reads: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.“
That Jesus Christ is the propitiation or satisfaction or the only one worthy of making acceptable payment to God for the sins of the world is clear in the Bible. The Word of God declares that He is “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Romans 3:25).
John 2:2 also states “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
The price for salvation (which is to escape hell and have access to eternal life in heaven) has therefore already been paid when Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins on the cross. However, it is important that you know that you cannot benefit from this finished work on the cross, unless you believe that Jesus rose from the dead and then confess with your mouth the truth, that he Jesus is Lord.
Romans 10:9-13 makes it clear that:
- “…if thou shalt CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE IN THINE HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and WITH THE MOUTH confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, WHOSOEVER believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Acts 10:43 states of Jesus that “…through his name WHOSOEVER believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Salvation is therefore a gift and is available to all but it can only be received by those who DECIDE to accept it. For, although it is free, it came at a great price…the dying of God the Son.
His death was a part of the plan of the Godhead and God has declared that:
- 1. All who BELIEVE in their heart that (i) Jesus Christ came to this earth, died and was risen again by God the Father after three days and (ii) that he (Jesus) who appeared to many after his resurrection from the dead and was seen going back up to heaven is coming to this world again one day, as he has promised, to judge the whole world of sin (including those who lived and died but who he will raise back to life again for the judgment); and
- 2. All who CONFESS with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, meaning Lord over all (including all of creation and their own lives) while they are alive and living on this earth and therefore surrender completely to him,
SHALL BE SAVED FROM THE AWFUL WRATH OF GOD THAT IS COMING AND THE LAKE OF FIRE which God has reserved for the devil, demons and all those who have chosen to live outside of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, you could take what I am saying here seriously or dismiss it as foolishness but it doesn’t change the fact that it is TRUE. 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 states:
- “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the POWER of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
- Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the POWER of God, and the wisdom of God.
- Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Trying to go to Church regularly therefore, trying to be good to your spouse and kids, trying to not fornicate or commit adultery, trying to tithe, trying to do charitable works, trying to be kind to others, trying not to curse, trying to work hard at your job, trying to respect your parents, trying not to lie, trying to be a better person, trying not to be corrupt, trying to live an honest life, trying to keep the sabbath, trying to eat healthy and trying to be religious…is all a waste of time if your sins (which were paid for), have not been forgiven because you choose not to believe the truth, not to surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and in faith, have his perfect righteousness imputed or credited to your account.
All your ‘good’ works and intentions are a complete waste of time and earns you no points with God because through your unbelief, birthed as a result of your pride, rebellion and stubbornness, you have not been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ His Son but are still out of favour with him and under his wrath because you have not been brought into RELATIONSHIP with the one who created you: JESUS CHRIST, His Son.
JESUS CHRIST is our peace. HE is our rest (not the sabbath or anything else). HE alone is our ticket to heaven. Outside of him, you are trying to be ‘good’…but failing miserably.
All of us as human beings have done so much wrong, including our ancestors, that there is NO way that we could right things by ourselves and be reconciled to God. However, although we could never find our own way back to God, God has provided a way for us through his Son. He is willing to accept all human beings through HIM (Jesus) and HIM alone. What we need therefore is to be COVERED with the covering that Jesus gives because it is that and only that, that God will accept.
In Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah the prophet stated of human beings, including himself: “…we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
It is clear therefore that your best works and my best works are viewed as filthy rags in God’s sight, when we do it outside of Jesus Christ. We are only reconciled to God the Father and brought back into relationship with him as a son or daughter of his, when we believe on his Son Jesus Christ and ask him to come into our hearts and to save us from sin and eternal damnation.
Eternal damnation is what will befall ALL who refused while alive, to make Jesus their Lord and chose instead to TRY to serve God however they felt was best.
We don’t get to make the rules. God does and he has already stated what he will accept.
It is up to you the make a choice therefore and I hope and pray you make the right one.
Please don’t tell me that you were baptized as a child or once baptized so you are okay and on your way to heaven. Not necessarily. Many persons were baptized and still went to hell because they did it without first believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and confessing him as Lord with their mouth. They did it without truly surrendering their hearts in faith to the Lordship of Jesus and so, came up out of that water the same way they went in: unregenerate.
Trying to be saved by being baptized in water, yet not understanding the significance of baptism and knowing the God of that baptism and surrendering your life (your WHOLE life) to Jesus by believing that he rose from the dead and confessing with your mouth that he is indeed Lord, is a waste of time. If you do the act of baptism but don’t want Jesus to be LORD over your life and have not yet truly believed that he rose from the dead or confessed with your mouth that he is Lord and have therefore not placed confidence in Him alone for salvation, then it is just that: an act.
Biblical baptism is meant for those who have already believed on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, already confessed with their mouth that he is Lord, already surrendered their whole life to his Lordship and placed confidence in Him and Him alone, to get to heaven.
‘Lord’ means you bow to him and his orders, you do what he wants you to do and not what you want for yourself, you cease from making your own decisions and surrender your life to him as a living sacrifice. You allow him to be boss over you and you willingly become his humble servant. You agree to let him have his way in your life and you are prepared with his strength, to say no to yourself and yes to him for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
It is very much like a marriage, only much more serious. That’s why it is called covenant by God. In fact, when God designed the permanent institution of marriage, it was intended to reflect the love relationship, faithfulness and commitment he has with HIS children, through Jesus Christ His Son. That is why he said in his Word that he hates divorce. In the Bible, this was known as ‘putting away’ and here is what Malachi 2:14 -16 KJV says:
- “Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth…yet is she thy companion and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one?…and wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away…”
Without a change of heart, your genuine repentance for sin upon your believing in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, confessing with your mouth that he is Lord and a genuine desire for Him to Lord over your life, the water immersion means nothing.
It is because our own works and efforts fail that we have no choice but to accept what God has provided: Jesus. When we make him Lord over our lives through faith in him, his blood and the Word and when we confess our sins to him and humbly ask him for forgiveness and to save us and to dwell in our hearts, we become what is known as being ‘born again’. We were initially born naturally from a woman but this second birth is made possible by the Spirit of God.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3)
We renounce the things of this world and the devil and we begin the process of learning more about the one who died for our sins but is alive because he was resurrected. We aim to please HIM and all our other desires fade in comparison. We grow more and more in love with him each day and he reveals more and more about his heavenly character and HIS heavenly Kingdom to us. We become more like him as time progresses and piece by piece, as we allow him, and submit to his holy Spirit which indwells us, he chips away the dead-weight, the bad practices and the things that are evil in our fleshly nature, that do not bring him glory. We never remain the same and are forever changed.
This is why the Pastor on the pew has absolutely nothing to boast about, nor does the lady singing in that choir. None of us can boast because all true Christians know that the salvation from eternal damnation we acquired was not through our own effort. It was Jesus that paid the price, offered the gift and we received it. We then became partakers of an eternal inheritance as sons and daughters of the true and living God because he accepted us. He accepted us because we were presented to him with the only covering he was willing to accept: the righteousness of Jesus Christ who was absolutely sinless. God accepted his offering (which was of himself in death) as a perfect sacrifice for our many sins (past, present and future) because he was absolutely spotless. He had no blemish in his life and committed no sin while he lived on this earth.
When we accept Jesus into our lives therefore, he clothes us with his clean garment of righteousness so that not one of us can boast. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The world often lies to us by telling us that we are good enough, when we aren’t. We are not intrinsically good and there is nothing that we could do of our selves and in our own strength that would make us good enough for heaven. This is why we desperately need Jesus. Everyone of us, even the best of us are naked in our filth and need the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, to clothe and cover us.
The problem arises though, when, ironically, after coming to Jesus, submitting to his Lordship and being cleansed, forgiven and covered, the devil then tries to whisper in our ear through people, circumstances and even our own inner voice which arises from our flesh, that we are not good enough. Yet, God’s Word exposes this for the lie it is. From the moment we come to Jesus through faith and avail ourselves of God’s grace by believing on Him (Jesus), we become good enough. The world will try to mess with our minds then, to make us feel that we are good enough but we ARE, not based on our own goodness but because Jesus’ sinless perfection, His righteousness which is God’s standard for righteousness, has been placed on us.
When he saves us and we become part of God’s family, Jesus also gives us spiritual gifts, as he sees fit. Once again, no Christian is to be puffed up in the gift or gifts that God has given him. Nothing that the Christian has, he gave himself. It was ALL God’s doing. The gifts are given, not for us to exalt ourselves and feel important but to promote Jesus as Lord and His causes.
As I close, Job 20:4-9 reminds us of our mortality. Despite all of your pride, stubbornness and rebellion, you will have no choice but to humble yourself unto death one day. For the Word of God declares:
- “Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.“
Time is ticking. You are aging. Soon, your time on this earth will be done and you will be gone, like the thousands of people who went before you. Knowing that you have an appointment with death and that after death is the JUDGMENT (Hebrews 9:27) and knowing that God’s standard for heaven is perfect righteousness, such as which is only available in JESUS CHRIST and knowing that despite all of your ‘good’ works and trying to be a ‘good’ person, God has already declared in His Word that you are a failure and your best works as filthy rags in his sight, where will YOU spend eternity?
I pray to God you make the right choice. I pray to God that you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, confess him as Lord and submit your whole life to HIS Lordship. I pray to God that you realize that outside of Jesus, you are on the path to sure destruction, not just of your body but of your soul in hell. I pray to God that you hear the Spirit call. I pray to God that you will surrender and come.
(Written a few years back, added to thereafter)
Dear Daughter of God, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, interesting or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 172 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?’
- Note 184 – ‘Could You Be Sincerely Wrong?’