WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 6, 2021
TOPIC: NOBODY CAN EARN HIS WAY INTO HEAVEN
BY T. O. BANSO
“He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 New Living Translation).
Some people acknowledge that they are sinners and need help. But some people feel they are good and don’t need any help. The latter believe that they will make heaven based on their good performance or good behavior. Jesus Christ said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17 New King James Version).
Ordinarily, when you look at some people, you will see how much they have tried to live a morally upright life. They follow a strong moral code. They don’t lie, steal, hurt others, etc. What else does one expect them to do? God should be satisfied with their lives and admit them to heaven when they die!
The problem, however, is that self-righteousness, which comes by following a moral code or even the Ten Commandments can never satisfy God’s justice. Isaiah 64:6b says all our righteousness are as filthy rags. That’s talking about self-righteousness. Proverbs 30:12 says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness” (New King James Version).
A sinner needs God’s mercy. The Bible says all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Verse 10 says there is none righteous, no, not one. Even the seemingly most righteous person is a polluted person before God, the righteous God. His filthy rag or polluted garment must be removed and replaced with God’s righteousness – imputed righteousness that came through the blood of Jesus.
Ultimately, it is what God says that is right, that is right, not what anyone deems right in his own eyes. Proverbs 21:2 says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts” (New King James Version). Also, Proverbs 16:2 says, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits” (New King James Version).
There are two kinds of righteousness: God’s righteousness and self-righteousness. God’s righteousness is imputed to man through faith in Jesus Christ. Self-righteousness is morality – man’s failed attempt to live to please God or win His approval through keeping rules.
If it were possible for anyone to be saved by keeping rules or the law, God would not have sent Jesus Christ to come and die for the sins of the world. Jesus came to die to save the world because the law could not and cannot still save. Whoever believes that he is keeping the law or living by a set of moral code and he is righteous enough to make heaven or satisfy God’s justice by himself is minimizing the work of redemption that Jesus did on the cross. Such a fellow is magnifying his work.
Nobody can be saved by keeping God’s law or following any moral code. “For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it” (Romans 3:20 New Living Translation). If obeying the law could have made human beings right with God, we would have been saved by obeying it (Galatians 3:21b). The law only shows us our sinfulness but is unable to keep us from sinning.
Jesus had to come to die on the cross to save us from sin. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20b-21 New King James Version).
It is ignorance for anyone to think that he can be saved by keeping the laws and ignoring the work of redemption by Jesus Christ. Jesus shed His blood to save and all who will be saved must come to God through Him. Romans 10:3-4 says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (New King James Version).
Jesus Christ has accomplished the whole purpose of the law. Therefore, everyone who believes in Him is made right with God. Not based on their polluted righteousness (self-righteousness), but based on God’s righteousness. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version). Just as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
We are saved by grace, not by works. But we are saved to do good works. Nobody can earn his way into heaven by his good works. It must be by faith in Jesus Christ. This is the essence of Easter – Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross for our sins to save us. “He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 New Living Translation).
The apostle Paul said, “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:15-16 New King James Version).
He also said in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (New King James Version).
As much as doing good works is important; it will never save anyone. But having been saved, believers must live out their new life by doing good. Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Believers must do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). We must not be weary in doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:13). “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 New King James Version).
But we must never replace the finished work of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary with our good works. Nobody’s good work is good enough to earn him eternity with God. We must never try to establish our own righteousness but rather submit to the righteousness of God.
A sinner needs the mercy of God, not to boast about his works of righteousness. He must admit and confess his sins to obtain God’s mercy. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the first thing the tax collector did, when he wanted to pray at the Temple, unlike the self-righteous Pharisee, was to admit that he was a sinner and to ask for God’s mercy.
Luke 18:13-14 says, “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ This man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (New King James Version).
Peter, addressing the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin, said, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 New Living Translation). Peter was referring to the name of Jesus Christ. Nothing and nobody else can save anyone; only Jesus saves. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 New King James Version).
1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (New King James Version).
Your self-righteousness is like filthy rags. We must come to God based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10 New King James Version). God says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12 New King James Version).
Nobody can earn his way into heaven – not even by giving generously to support the work of God. You can’t buy your way into heaven. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; nobody can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for Your righteousness imputed to me through the finished work of Christ on the cross. I shall not seek to establish my own righteousness but subject myself to Your righteousness. Father, You made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin for me, that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. Holy Spirit, help me to live as the righteousness of God in Christ.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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