Have you ever felt like you are always trying to earn your way in this world? Let’s work harder for a raise at work. Make sure and get your grades up so that you can get a good scholarship. You need to write the next hit song so that you can get a record deal! Okay…maybe that’s just me. But all of these demands can pile on and create unneeded pressure on lives that are already hectic. This world is full of competition and we are constantly being compared to others in everything that we do. And if we are not, then it at least feels like we are. This naturally makes us feel like God is comparing us with others. We automatically feel as if we have to earn God’s love, earn His favor, and ultimately earn our way to heaven. How can this be false in a world that is constantly requiring us to earn our place?
God makes this very clear to us from the beginning. We are literally all on a level playing field. You see, since the fall of Adam and Eve we are all born into sin. Romans 3:23 says “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not some of us, not just the bad people, but ALL of us. None of us are good enough to earn God’s favor because sin separates us from Him. This is the law in which God shows us that we are sinners and in need of someone to save us. But Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, this is pretty incredible because if you think about superhero movies, the people who always get saved are the ones who actually deserve it. It’s usually the damsel in distress (who most of the time is beautiful) or the dapper, wealthy businessman (usual strikingly good looking as well). Rarely do they save those who don’t deserve it. Rarely is the focus of the hero’s attention on the lowly people who are un-deserving of their love and attention. In this story, we are not the beautiful or the deserving. So how could an infinite God possibly love us when we are poor miserable sinners?
Well, let me tell you something. God loves you the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Check out Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!” So if Jesus never changes, how could his love possibly change? It doesn’t. He has loved you since the moment of your conception and he will not stop loving you at the day of your death. In Christ, His love NEVER changes. This is the beauty of the cross. Because of his death, we know that there is no earning our way to heaven. If there was, Christ died for no reason. But instead, it is because of his blood that we are redeemed. His wounds heal us. There is nothing we can do to get ourselves there. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by GRACE that you have been saved, through FAITH, not by works, so that no one can boast.” If that’s not convincing, let’s step back and think about it. If I could really earn my salvation, what would the benchmark be to get us there? Is there one really good thing that you have to say you’re good enough? Is there a point system where God is keeping track in a heavenly score sheet? No…. Jesus earned all the points we could possibly score and then some for us on the cross. We couldn’t do it so God sent Jesus to do it for us. We weren’t good enough, so Jesus needed to be good enough for us. How amazing is that? We don’t have to worry about earning His love because His love is already given to us, through His Son. But does that mean we could do something so bad to lose this love? Is there something so terrible that would negate Christ’s death and resurrection?
Well let’s think about that. If there was nothing so GOOD that we could do to equal Christ’s death, how could there be something so bad that could negate it? The Bible says that the only unforgiveable sin is the denial of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). So as long as we receive Christ as our Savior, we are forgiven. Our sins from yesterday, today, and the ones we haven’t committed yet, forgiven. Even the worst of the worst that you think is so bad that Christ could never look past. Forgiven. It says in 1 Peter 3:18, “Christ died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God…” There is literally nothing I can do to separate myself from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38). This is ONCE AND FOR ALL. Sins now, then, and yet to come. This is the best and most joyous news that anyone could ever tell me! Go back to Romans 5:8, though I’m a sinner, Christ died for me. He took my place. So does this mean that because we know we have forgiveness, we keep sinning? Of course not! Paul says, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace my increase? By no means! We died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1) We do good works in response to what God has done for us. If someone saved your life wouldn’t you want to do anything and everything for them? Absolutely. Our good works come out of response to him, not to earn anything from Him.
So please know that there is no earning involved in Salvation. That even though we live in a world that requires so much from us, God gave everything because He knew we didn’t have anything to give. There is no benchmark that shows we are good enough. Christ set the benchmark on the cross. While we were still sinners, there was Christ, and his love is still as passionate for us today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. It won’t change because of something you do. So unless you think you can outdo what Christ did on the cross to cover the sins of the whole world, you better stop trying so hard. That is the Gospel my friends! Jesus loves me this I know, and that’s never going to change!