“God justifies the believer - not because of the worthiness of his belief but because of His worthiness Who is believed”
(Richard Hooker, English Pastor, 16th century)
If you ask the average individual how a person can “get to heaven,” the answer is usually, “By being good, doing your best, being sincere, or following some set of guidelines.”
Do these answers surprise you? Have you ever asked where they come from? Does it boggle your mind that after nearly 400 years of the gospel being preached in this country that people believe that heaven can be earned? What does the good news of Jesus Christ really say?
You would hope that through the constant preaching of the foundation of Christianity – that men are saved not by any works but by faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ – would be both understood and believed by even the common man. Yet that is not the case.
This foundational truth is a stumbling block for the human heart. The human heart since it is ego-centric and vainly proud refuses to reject the notion that a man can be saved by his or her own works. Whether it is keeping the law, submitting to sacraments, doing good works, or efforts of self-reformation - men think they can make themselves acceptable to God. Yet, the sad truth is that there is nothing one can do to make one’s self acceptable to God.
“Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning the question of being saved by faith? Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, he would have had something to boast about. But from God’s point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.’ When people work, their wages are not a gift. Workers earn what they receive. But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their works.
Now then, is this blessing only for the Jews or is it for Gentiles also…Abraham is the spiritual father of those who (Gentiles) have faith but have not been circumcised. They (Gentiles) are made right with God by faith.” (Romans 1:5, 9, 11 - The New Living Translation)
How about you? Are you trusting in your sincere good works to be declared righteous before God? This is a spiritually fatal error. This is the broad road or way that Jesus said leads to destruction. How horribly sad it is that there are many people who have and are currently walking down this path toward their destruction.
Take a minute, bow your head, repent of trusting in your own efforts and turn in faith, trusting in the fully sufficient and efficacious atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Remember Pastor Hooker’s words – you are not declared righteous based on the worthiness of your beliefs but you are declared righteous based on the worthiness of who you believe.