Your Relationship with God
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him. Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."John 3:1-3
There is nothing more important than what you believe about your relationship with God. Many people live their lives trying to do what they believe God expects of them. Our Lord has a lot to say about human behavior in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17), and Jesus’ sermon on the mount (Matthew 5). Many people treat these scriptures as a “checklist” for getting on God’s good side and getting into Heaven when they die. Is it really this way? Does God “weigh” our behavior on a scale and let us into Heaven if the sum of the good we’ve done is greater than all of the bad we’ve done?
We were created by God to be perfect, and to enjoy an eternal relationship with Him. However, because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, sin came into the world and our relationship with Him was destroyed (Genesis 3). We are born as rebels against God, lost in sin, and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23a).
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6)”. The prophet Isaiah tells us that all of our righteous acts, or “good works”, are nothing but filthy rags before the Lord, unable to prevent the wind of our sins from sweeping us away. So how much do our good deeds help us in getting right with God? NOT AT ALL! Likewise, the Apostle Paul knew that keeping the Old Testament law (the Ten Commandments) couldn’t make us right with God either, and he presents this brilliantly in Romans 7. Surprisingly, Paul concludes that it is the law itself that made him aware of his own sinfulness! What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet. (Romans 7:7)”.
Paul knew that good works alone cannot put anyone right with God, and that all the law does is make people aware of their own sinfulness, providing no way of fixing it. You can hear Paul’s despair in Romans 7:24 where he writes, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
Fortunately, God loves us so much that He provided a means to restoring right relationship with him through Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17). Here, Jesus tells us that the only way to get right with God and have eternal life is to believe in Him. This is what He was trying to tell Nicodemus and is what He wants us to believe.
Today, stop trying to “earn” your way into Heaven by pleasing God with good deeds. Instead, believe in Jesus Christ and invite Him to be Lord of your life. Good deeds will follow this: Not to save us, but because we have been saved.
Let’s pray: Father in Heaven, I want to restore a right relationship with you. Please help me to stop trying to earn this through good deeds, but instead help me to repent of my sins and believe that you sent your son Jesus to save me. In His name I pray, Amen.