You Don’t Need to Do Better, You Need to Be Saved
Trust no more in your own weak efforts, and trust the efforts of the Savior. And when you trust Him, He will save you. His death on the cross is more than sufficient for all your sin. As Richard Sibbes has said, “There is more mercy in Him, than sin in us.”
I’m just trying to get right with God.
Working in the hospital, I heard this phrase so many times. Many had come face to face with their own mortality, and the thought of coming before God brought new introspection. So I’d ask the same question that Job asked: “How can a man be in the right before God” (Job 9:2)? And the answer I was given was almost always simple, predictable, and wrong.
“You know, I’m just trying to get back in the church, start reading my Bible, start tithing, get baptized, and start doing better.” And I’ll imagine that if you’ve spoken to anyone on the street you’ve probably heard something similar, as if the problem was that they just needed to do a little better and then they would be on God’s good side. But how terrifying to imagine standing before the Judge of all creation, and all you can say is, “I’m not quite as bad as I used to be. I’m doing better!”
Here’s the problem: You cannot be good enough. You cannot be “better” enough. Your good works will never outweigh your bad. James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). Every sin committed is equal to breaking God’s entire law. How many sins have you committed? How large is your negative balance? This is regarding your sin, but what about your righteous deeds? “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Even your best deeds are filthy before God. In our sin, we are unclean. Imagine standing before God in the judgement, and all we have to offer Him is a pile of unclean, filthy garments. You see, we don’t need to be better, because we can’t be better.