This morning I woke to the words of Paul running through my mind. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:20-21. As I heard these words running through my mind, I cried out, “Lord, I have done all these things. How then shall I ever inherit Your Kingdom?”
I have done every evil thing that is listed in the above scripture. I have committed adultery, in my mind I have lusted after another, and before I knew Christ I was a fornicator, unclean, lewd, and even now as a Christian I battle with the sin of idolatry. I put other things above God. I have murdered, in my mind I have hated and been angry with a brother or sister, I have done all these things and have no excuse before my God. It is evident that I am sinner, and if I base my worth off of what I do then I will never enter the Kingdom of God.
But, I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord who took away this list that was against me and gave me the gift of Eternal Life through His sacrifice. Think about it for a minute. If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to say that there is no way we could ever make it to heaven. There is not a single one of us who can say we have never done any of the works of the flesh that Paul listed for us. We all have fallen short, and there is no excuse. Nothing can help us; nothing can save us except Christ Jesus who died so that we could live.As I pondered on the words the Lord gave me this morning, I realized that I have been caught up in trying to do works again. I have found myself wanting to do better, to be more obedient, to serve more, to work more for Him. While there is nothing wrong with these actions and thoughts, per say, but the motive behind them is what He was showing me. I have fallen into the pit again of wanting to earn my way into His favor. There is no earning our way to God. There is only One way to God and that is by believing in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God who came and died upon a cross. He is the way the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Jesus Himself said that if we want to get to the Father than we have to go through Him. He is it.
All these things I have done in my past and even now in my present will never be able to be repaid by the good things I do. God does not take your good works and say, “Well, that good work equals this sin, so I will just cross this sin out, since you did such a good work.” Nope- doesn’t work that way. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ that any of our sins can ever be erased, that any of our evil can ever be washed and it is only through Jesus Christ that we can get close to God. We want to be in the Kingdom of God, we want to inherit the Kingdom that He has prepared for us- but we want to earn our way into it.I have noticed that when I start trying to earn my way to God, then my sin becomes even more apparent. I see more sin and I see it more clearly. Why? Because God has not asked us to earn our way to Him, He has simple said, “Believe in Him whom I have sent.” It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved, and only through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8) There is no amount of good that I can do to earn my way into the kingdom; because my good will never outweigh my bad. I am worthy to enter the Kingdom of God because He called me worthy through Jesus. I am good because He is good. I am whole because He made me whole. I am loved because He first loved me. I am a child of God because He was a child a God first. I am a Christian because He made the way for me to be a Christian. I owe it all to Jesus. There is only one thing that can get me to His Kingdom, and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way. We need to stop trying to earn God’s favor, and start receiving His favor with thankful hearts and show Him the praises He deserves.
When we try to earn our way to God, we are basically telling God that our way is better, and we don’t need His help- we got this one. But God the Father sees our struggles and reaches out to all of us today saying, “Stop. Nothing you do can ever earn my favor, because My favor has already been given to you through My Son, Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you will always have My undeniable, undeserved favor.” It is His grace that I desire, not my works. It is His way that I want to walk, not my own. It is Him that I need, and not to be better. It is just Jesus- just give us Jesus and we will see the wonder and majesty of a life lived by faith through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Him be all the glory, now and forever. Amen and Amen.