If we want to fully grasp the gospel, we must start with the foundation of it. Let me start by asking you: do you think that you really need the gospel? Is it only for the “bad” people? Can we be “good” enough to not need the gospel? When I say the gospel, I mean the Good News of Jesus Christ. I mean what He accomplished by dying on the cross and being raised to life. So, did Jesus die only for people who are more unworthy than others? Does the pastor need the gospel, or is it just for the person far from God? Wrong answers to these questions can be devastating. However, graciously, the Bible is extremely clear about them.
The apostle Paul just destroyed any thinking that we may have about some people being “better” than others. The pastor is not more “worthy” than the person far from God. When Paul says that no one does good in Romans 3, what he means is that no one does good. Not even one. That includes you and that includes me. The prophet Isaiah tells us that “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Notice that he says “all.” All means all. All of us are unclean and the sum of our best acts are like filthy rags in God’s sight, outside of the gospel. That includes the pastor’s acts.
So, nothing we do is good enough for God? Exactly! How can that be? It is because God is perfect and any attempt we make to reach Him falls shorts. The best person on earth cannot be perfect. One sin, one mistake, separates us from God forever. Do you believe that? If you do, you are in a great place to receive the best news on the planet. If you do not, you are in danger of missing the best news on the planet.
As we continue to focus on the gospel throughout the next few weeks, we will talk about what Jesus has done and how that sets us free, but that is not the goal of this writing. The goal of this writing is to place yourself in Romans 3. I want you to see yourself in comparison to God. I want you to see that your imperfections should keep you separated from a perfect, holy God forever. We must see that everyone, all of us, desperately need the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one is “good” enough to make it to God without it.
I want to start wrapping up by speaking directly to two groups of people. First, to those who feel like you are too dirty and unworthy for God to love you. Here is something you may have never heard from a ministry before: you ARE too dirty and unworthy! And so is everyone else on the planet. The best person you know is in the same dilemma that you are. Something else that you should know is that you are in an amazing place. When we can truly see our filth, we can actually see our need for a Savior. Come to Him, just as you are. You may be closer to the gospel than someone who thinks that they are a pretty good person, without the need of a Savior.
When we can truly see our filth, we can actually see our need for a Savior.
If that is you, if you feel that you are doing pretty good, at least better than most people, I would challenge you to pray for God to open your eyes. I had a season of life where I was very arrogant and thought that no one was on my faith level. I thought everyone should be better and act more like me. In reality, I was missing the foundation of my faith. I wasn’t treasuring the cross because I thought I was doing pretty good on my own. God opened my eyes to see my filth. Now, the more I grow in my faith, the more I see my need for the cross. Protect yourself from feeling like the “super-Christian.” The people you are judging are no less righteous than you are. That’s why Jesus came to die.
Can I end by lovingly tell you that the Bible is not about awesome human beings that amaze God with their faith and righteousness? The Bible is about a glorious God coming to save broken, faithless, helpless sinners. We must start here. In order to fully see the beauty of the gospel, the cross, we have to see our desperate need for outside help. We are unable to come to God on our own. If you think otherwise, you are in a dangerous place. Pride will blind us from the gospel. The gospel is the only thing that sets us free and brings us to God. It is Good News. It is incredible news. A gracious God sent a perfect sacrifice to save broken, helpless sinners. We will continue to focus on this gospel for the next few weeks. Join us!
- Do you see yourself in Romans 3? Is it hard for you?
- Take some time and pray to God about this post today. Pray for eyes to see your need for the gospel.