There is no such thing as a good person. No matter what you’ve been told, we are not inherently morally good. We’re certainly not good enough to save ourselves. Romans 3:11 says “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Verse 23 of the same chapter says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Here on Earth, we have a merit-based justice system. We do things and make decisions based on what we believe is fair, what is right. But in God’s eyes, we are all worthy of death without Christ. God didn’t save you because there’s something in you worth saving. God saved you because he is an incredibly gracious and loving God. He saved you because he loved you, not based on your works, but because he just did. God just did. That’s a tough concept to grasp, and it’s something we may struggle with all of our lives.
God is a holy, righteous God. Thus, he is the only true judge. He alone is worthy to judge all peoples, and his goal is to uphold his holy character and bring glory to himself. Because of who he is, God deserves all the glory and all the praise, and we deserve none of it.
Those who seek their own glory, or “justice” for themselves, will find themselves declared wicked by God, and God will have none of it. Stealing God’s thunder will get you struck by lightning if you don’t turn around and trust in Christ:
“If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword, he has bent and readied his bow, he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.”–Psalm 7:12-14
God cannot allow us in our sinful condition into heaven. He can be around sin, but because it is so abhorrent to him, he is definitely not ok with it. We have a sin condition, and desperately need a savior. But far too often, we think we are our own savior. We are not saved by our works. Look again with me at Romans 3. By our works, we are condemned, and so, only Christ can justify us, and only God can judge us, because he alone is worthy. God is the goal, we have all fallen short. You see, looking at God’s justice, the upholding of his name, and the punishment we are all worthy of, points us to Christ.
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”–Romans 3:20-22
So God is the only one who is good. Jesus is the only man who’s walked this Earth that was perfect. We are sinful, and have no true moral code. We have no way to save ourselves. We have no right to declare what is right and wrong, what’s fair and not fair. So pretty much, we’re in trouble.
But God made a way when we were dead in sin, and the way is Jesus, and Jesus alone. Jesus can save us, and for those who believe, Christ is the savior, and is able to make us righteous by his work, not ours.
May this impact us every day, to marvel at God’s grace, and to keep us from judging others and thinking we know what is right or fair, for God is the only judge of what is right and fair. Our justice system does a marvelous job, but ultimately, the final judgment lies with the Creator.
One last thing I want us to see is found again in Psalm 7. Verse 8 says “The Lord judges the peoples, judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.”
Without Christ, when we ask this of God, we’re pretty much telling God that we’re ready to go to hell. We’ve packed our ice packs and sunscreen, let’s go. Do we think about it like that? No, because again, we think, before we know what we know about God, that we are inherently morally good. But if we were to truly get what we deserve, we’d get death.
But think about that prayer and request from David in the light of the salvation of Christ. God doesn’t then look at us for righteousness, but at Christ, who makes us righteous and who makes us whole. He had the righteousness needed, and thus, we are saved by faith in Christ, and not in anything else.
God, your grace is amazing, and we don’t fully understand it. May we continue to live our lives in such a way that marvel at who you are and bring glory to your name.