The Bible tells us many times that we are sinful people and don't deserve any of the blessings God gives us (Romans 3:23). That is why Jesus came! Jesus is the only reason any of the Bible matters to us. No matter how many rules, strategies, warnings, or encouraging words God gives, we all mess up all the time. So, without salvation through Jesus, nothing matters. The reason John 3:16 is such a well known verse is because it lays out the foundation of Christianity,
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
What this means is that God loves each one of us so much that He sent His perfect son into certain torture so that we, despite our own imperfections, can be with Him forever. This is amazing, the best news ever, the Good News! But sometimes I struggle with the reality of this verse.
Many people often think of themselves as pretty good, I do. I know that I need Jesus but sometimes slip into the trap of thinking that I deserve more than some other people because of I'm "better" than them. Earlier this morning, I was doing my Bible Study and ran across the verse that I thought was extremely cool and exactly what I needed to help me with this particular struggle.
"If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God." Romans 4:2
A little background knowledge for those who don't know, Abraham is the father of the Israelites (God's people). He had great faith in God and did a lot of good stuff, if anyone has something to brag about, it would be Him. However, he could only brag to other people. No one goes up to a famous singer and says, "I'm a really good singer and I sang in my 5th grade talent show 10 years ago and my parents clapped really loudly for me." That would sound extremely stupid and trying to brag about the good things I've done in my life would sound just like that if I were to say them to someone perfect (aka God). Especially since I wouldn't even know the difference between right and wrong without the Bible and the moral compass He's put in each of us!
Thankfully, I will never have to try and tell God the "good things" I've done because we are not justified by works, we are justified through faith, faith in Jesus. When the day comes for God to judge me, He will declare me innocent because of my faith in Jesus. Nothing else matters. That's why it's so important for the whole world to see what Jesus did for each of us, to accept that gift and to spend our lives praising Him for saving us. So, in conclusion: If we do good things purely out of thankfulness for what God has done for us, that is when what we are doing is purely good! :)
I felt like a good verse to end this post with would be another one from Romans, this time Romans 6:23,
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I think a fun way to memorize scripture is through song. click here for a Romans 6:23 memorization song! You can find cool songs for other verses as well on the Seeds Family Worship website (the same one the Romans 2:23 song is on). If you see the logo below, you're at the right place! :)