I Am Good

This week I have been teaching 3 year olds at Vacation Bible School.  Monday was difficult since few of the kids have any self-control.  Tuesday was even worse.  It made me think that anyone who disciplines their child is the exception now-a-days and not the norm.  I have been seeing firsthand the depravity of mankind in these 3 year olds that need no teaching on how to be selfish, liars, abusive, manipulative and a host of other adjectives.

On the way home from VBS on Wednesday, my mother-in-law asked my niece if she had a good day today.  (I am her teacher so I thought I would get a simple yes.)  The answer she gave her grandmother was that she didn’t kick, she didn’t hit, and she didn’t choke any of the other kids.  I smiled when I heard her answer that way because she has been one of the best behaved kids in my class.

As I thought about her answer, I realized that she gave the same answer I hear adults give when asked about why they think they are good.  One of the diagnostic questions to come out of the Evangelism Explosion curriculum asks, “If you were to stand before God and He were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into My kingdom’ what would you say?”  The most common response I hear is about things that the person hasn’t done.

I haven’t killed anyone.  I haven’t stolen anything. I haven’t . . .

I find it very interesting today that people define their goodness by what they haven’t done!  It is the same answer that the Rich Young Ruler gave to Jesus. He said he didn’t break any of the 10 commands so therefore he was a good person.  (Matthew 19:16-22)

How easy it is to deceive ourselves into thing we are good because we didn’t do something.  I think of people who have struggled with a variety of addictions.  It is considered a good day when they don’t give in to it.    Do we measure ourselves by what we don’t do, or by what we do?

I think the reason we prefer the former is because we can make ourselves look better.  If we were to be honest and consider what we did do to see if that measured up, the only honest conclusion we could come to is that we have fallen far short of God’s standard of perfection.  His standard is that we glorify Him in everything we do, say, or think.  When we judge ourselves on this scale it is painful and depressing.

But it is also on this scale where we find grace.  When we see ourselves as completely bankrupt of anything that is righteous or meritorious before God, we find ourselves in a place where we can only cling to Christ.

 2Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Here is the great doctrine of double imputation.  Our sins were imputed to Christ and His righteous is imputed to us — IF WE ARE IN HIM.  For those who are in Christ, that is, place their faith and trust in Christ alone, God applies his perfect standard to His Son and rewards all who are united to Him! 

Let us not simply judge ourselves upon the basis of what we have or haven’t done, but let us judge ourselves in light of Christ’s perfect record, trusting that His life and death has earned what we could not earn and paid what we could not pay.

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