“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:10
This verse from Scripture is both good and bad. The bad news is all of us have sinned. This is bad news because we have all sinned against a Holy God who deserves to be respected and esteemed. When we disobey His Law, we disrespect God’s will and therefore dishonor His name.
The good news is our sin and failure points us to a hero. Someone who does obey God. A person that lived sinless and can vouch for our guilt and shame. Thank God that He sent Jesus, the Son of God, to be our Savior and Redeemer. The Father loved us so much that He brought us His only Son to atone or pay for our sins.
The Bible teaches that though our sins are many, God will cast those sins as far as the east is from the west. The Word declares that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is the good news that God saves sinners. Ephesians 2:8-9 says it best: For by grace you are saved through faith. This is a gift from God, not as a result of works so that no man may boast. Therefore, going to heaven is impossible without the sacrificial Lamb of God who imputes His righteousness to us.
I was talking to a patient at the hospital who was reminiscing about all the mistakes he made in his early 20s. You could tell the patient was full of regrets. Suddenly, he started asking me about spiritual questions and I had to be prepared to share the good news.
I mentioned how all of us are sinners. I gave examples from the Bible to validate this truth. For instance, Noah was a drunkard, David committed adultery, and the apostle Paul was a murderer. All of these humans were utterly sinful and yet God called them to be His followers.
I told him the same is true with us. We have lied, been unkind to others, lusted, been angry, you name it. The final verdict for us all: guilty as charged.
Fortunately, after hearing the bad news, the Judeo-Christian worldview has exceptionally good news: God will forgive you. God can extend mercy and grace if you humble yourself and seek His face.
The patient told me his favorite verse was John 3:16. This is a popular verse because it truly encapsulates the good news that God rescues sinners from judgment. It also expresses the unconditional love of Yahweh. His mercy and patience with a rebellious creation is unfathomable.
Both the patient and I were thankful that we trust in Jesus as our King. I think he really enjoyed our conversation. I know I did. Sharing the gospel revives your own soul because it never gets old. It’s the best story ever told.
However, there is coming a time when God will judge the living and the dead. All of us will have to give an account for our sins. Without Jesus as our advocate, there is no way to be accepted into heaven. People think they are good enough, but this is far from the truth.
Imagine a bright flashlight in a dark room. That flashlight is extra bright because it is compared with darkness. However, what happens when you put that bright light in front of the sun?
The flashlight looks dim. This is how our sin and unrighteousness look before God. Compared with the dark world, we may look morally superior and bright. But compared to the holy majestic God, we are exceedingly sinful.
This is why many today think that if they just do more good works, they will bring a smile to God’s face. If only they pray more, give to charity more, and practice patience more they will get their ticket to heaven.
It’s admirable to give money to the poor. It is a wise practice to pray. And it is encouraged to work on virtues that honor God. But realize this: You will not be able to cancel the debt you already have. You will not be able to erase the sins you have committed by sacrificially giving your money on the altar of good deeds.
Salvation doesn’t work this way. You need the righteousness of Christ. You and I need the atoning sacrifice of God’s beloved Son Jesus Christ to make us holy, righteous, and perfect before the Father. Without perfection, no man will see the Lord.
You might ask, “How is it fair that God requires perfect obedience? This is impossible for anyone to accomplish. When you come to grips that it is impossible and you are not good, only then can God save you. It is impossible; that’s why Christ did it for us. If you cant accept the fact that you will not receive any accolades for your salvation, then you won’t make it to heaven.
I am sorry but this is the truth according to Scripture. All of us stand guilty before God. We all deserve the wrath of God. This is why mercy, an attribute of God, is the only reason some of us will get into heaven. Heaven is not earned. Heaven is a free gift to all those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus.
Does this mean we have a license to sin if it’s all about grace? Of course not. Paul said shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? God forbid!
Jesus told his disciples unless we repent, which is a 180 degree change of direction from sin to living obediently to God, we will perish. This doesn’t mean sinless perfection, but neither does the gospel allow for carnal Christianity.
Instead, the right paradigm is this: Good works is NOT a means to salvation. Rather, salvation is a means or avenue toward good works. In other words, when God redeems your soul, He puts within you a desire to obey, love, and cherish His commands. For Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”
Notice that Jesus did not say you “might” obey Him. He said you “will” obey. What does this mean for us? Introspection is key here. Only you can truly answer the question: “Am I seeking the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength? Am I cherishing the two greatest commands in Scripture: To love God and love man?
If you can’t honestly say you have been, then repent and confess to God. He will be eager to change your heart and strengthen you by His spirit. Just call on the name of the Lord, and the Bible says you will be saved.
In conclusion, even though the verse of the day from Ecclesiastes rightfully condemns us, we have Christ to lean on. He is our substitute, hero, and friend. The weight of the world’s sin fell upon Him at Calvary, and He was able to suffer the wrath of God for us.
So even though the bad news is we are sinners and disobeyed God, the good news is we can be forgiven and reconciled to God the Father through His Son. Essentially this is what heaven is about. To be reconciled to God. To worship and adore him for eternity. Are you excited for this day? I know I am. Let’s pray.
Dear heavenly Father,
Forgive us for falling short of your standards. Humble our hearts so that we will repent of our selfish sinful nature and put our trust in you alone. Thank you for sending Jesus, your Son, into the world. His perfect life and sacrifice gives us the righteousness we need to enter heaven and have a relationship with you. Thanks for this good news that God saves sinners. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.