Good Behavior Can’t Raise the Dead
although most Christians know that they have been saved by God’s grace – His unmerited, undeserved, and unearned favor that not only forgives the sinner through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, but also brings eternal life and grants the redeemed sinner a justified position in the family of God – most Christians, since we are all legalists at heart – tend to fall into the ‘works’ or ‘performance’ trap and believe that they have to ‘be good’ and ‘do a lot of good deeds’ in order to be ‘truly’ saved. The Scriptures tell us just the opposite.
All sinners are spiritually dead, rebellious enemies of God, thus we have no desire, nor ability to contribute anything to the spiritual transformation and new birth that God’s grace brings to us. Our key verses from Titus 3 make it very clear that ALL humans are born and are living contrary to the perfection, worship, and love that the Lord expects from anyone when confronted with the Holy and Sovereign God Almighty. BUT, as verse four begins, it is because of His grace – His gift – His life – that the Lord chooses to bestow upon sinners – that any of us can become one of His children.
It’s not that humans try to be good and try to worship and love the Lord but for some unbeknown reason we are kept from doing what our hearts really desire to do! We don’t want to love Him; we don’t want to worship Him; we don’t want to be His kind of ‘good’, nor do we have the ability to do any of these acts of righteousness. Mankind may try to appease their guilty consciences by ‘doing good’ but since it is done apart from God’s Spirit, and not done for God’s sake and glory, those ‘good deeds’ are seen by the Holy God as filthy rags. It takes the grace of God to redeem and forgive sinners, and that transforming grace only comes from the Lord through the God-given faith to trust in the finished work of Christ upon the cross.
Queen Esther (from the Book of Esther) was fearful to go into the king’s presence, even though she was his wife, but because of her position as queen, and because the king loved her, she was not only granted access to the king, but she was also promised up to half the kingdom if she wanted it! If you are a follower of Christ – if you are a Christian – then we have access to the Father because we are His children and because He loves us – and neither of those two facts (our standing as His children, and His love for us) are contingent on something or anything we have done. It’s all Jesus – it’s all the work of the Lord – it is all by God’s amazing grace!!