THE GOSPEL IN ACTION
Jul 7, 2016 1028
By Eliezer Gonzalez
So many people find themselves toiling away on a treadmill of good works, trying to earn God’s love and favour. But there’s a better way, as you’ll see in this excerpt from Good News For You: The Gospel Story by Eliezer Gonzalez and Des Ford. Look out for this book, which will be launched in August.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day believed that everything they did would either earn them salvation or prevent them from earning salvation. They didn’t want to hear that they were powerless to earn their own salvation.
It’s the same for us. Joining a church will not rescue you from sin, nor will leading a good life, helping people who are in trouble, or attending church – although you’ll probably want to do all those things when you’ve accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation.
Jesus told a story to illustrate how salvation works. There were two men praying in church. One was a religious teacher who spent his entire life making sure that he followed every rule of his religion. He even did more than was required, to make sure that he was better than other people. He was very smug about how good he was, so he chatted to God about it in a loud voice: “I’m really glad I’m not like other people,” he told God, glancing around and spotting a tax collector praying in a dark corner of the church. “I fast twice a week and I give more generously than necessary to the church.”
The tax collector, on the other hand, was too timid even to lift his eyes toward heaven. All he could say to God was this: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Jesus left no one in any doubt about the outcome. God, he said, heard the sincere prayer of the tax collector, and gave him salvation, but turned away from the pride and arrogance of the religious leader. “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
So it is with us. We can’t do anything that will help to save us. The Bible tells us about the only thing we can do. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
If you truly believe in Jesus, you’ll trust him. You’ll trust him to stand before God in your place. You’ll trust him to cover your sinfulness with his perfect righteousness. And you’ll trust him to show you how to do his will.