Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:1-4

Are you a good person? What a hard question! As compared to whom? The popular comparison is to someone we regard to be extremely wicked, selfish, and greedy. In that comparison, we usually say, “I like to think I am a good person,” or, “I never do these things ...” or, “I always try to do these things ... .” When “good” humans are compared to “bad” humans, we look pretty good.

What if the comparison is to God? That is the comparison we never like! Why? No matter what acts or attitudes are compared, none of us look good. We are talking about the One who gave us Jesus, who gave us forgiveness, who gave us mercy, and who provides us salvation in our unworthiness. How do you compare yourself to that?

Understand one thing, and impossible despair is replaced with the hope of expectation. What one thing? This realization: God does not compare! He gives us Jesus for two objectives: (a) to eliminate comparisons and (b) to provide us goals for transformation. God looks at you, your personal potential for godliness, and your commitment to growth in Christ-likeness. How much do you believe in what God did for you in Jesus’ death and resurrection? Is your confidence in your deeds or in God’s achievements in Jesus Christ? Do you obey God to place God in debt to you, or do you obey God to express your gratitude? Do you serve God because you fear divine punishment, or because you genuinely desire to be like Jesus? Do you do good to honor yourself or to honor the Lord?

God knows your background, weaknesses, struggles, and failures, and it is okay—if you place your confidence in Jesus. Some of the most religious people Paul knew made a huge mistake: they placed their confidence in their deeds instead of what God did in Jesus Christ. Never trust your deeds—they are never enough! Trust what God did in Jesus—it is always enough! The difference is the difference between that of failure and service, between a terror-filled life and a hope-filled life! Trust Jesus, not you!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 16 August 2009

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