March 16, 2010

A Good Sinner

Written by Boyd Bailey

A Good Sinner… “A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:18-22

Good sinners still need a Savior for all of us have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Your goodness can even be an obstacle to your salvation. Goodness without God is our feeble attempt to earn eternal life in heaven. But if goodness were the gauge to God, how would we know when we were good enough?

Good deeds do flow from a heart given to God, but our works do not get us to God. Faith is what connects us to Christ. When He asks us to give up something, it becomes a trust issue. Can you trust your Heavenly Father to provide what you need? Even if you give Him your most prized possession? A relationship? An opportunity? What’s the Lord asking you to leave for His sake? Be glad, not sad to give up a good thing for God.

It’s your humble and holy dependence on Jesus Christ that gets you to heaven. But even after becoming a Christian, your goodness can get in the way of glorifying God and growing in grace. Good sinners are tempted to judge bad sinners. Self-righteous behavior is as bad or worse that unrighteous behavior. So as your moral standards grow, grow in grace. Grace filled Christians are gracious, loving and compassionate. There is no high horse of judgment, but only the low place of humility and gratitude to God.

Grace engulfs your goodness and badness, as the ocean closes over a diver. So, swim in the sea of your Savior’s love and forgiveness, and you will never lack what’s necessary to stay afloat in life. We are all sinners: some good–some bad. What makes the difference for both is the appropriation of God’s grace. Sin is like riotous vegetation in the untamed wild, but grace tames the heart. Love, trust, mercy, obedience are its fruit that remains.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

What does the Lord want me to give up? Who can I help, instead of judge?

Related Readings: Job 41:34; Jonah 4:2; Luke 18:9; Romans 14:3-10

Recent Posts