Reflection: Perhaps the clearest teaching to emerge from the Reformation is that no one can earn their salvation by “good works” alone. As we shall see in coming days, this teaching does not mean that a person’s conduct is irrelevant to Jesus’ judgment. However, it does mean that no one should imagine they can curry favour with Jesus on Judgment Day by boasting of the righteous things they have done (Eph. 2:9; Titus 3:5). Why? Paul gives two main reasons. First, even the best of our good works is flawed, and feeble by comparison with our sins. We have all failed to
meet the rigorous moral standards dictated by God (Rom. 3:23; cf. Ps. 14:2-3). Second, people who are found at the Final Judgment to have “put their faith in Christ Jesus” will be treated as though they did meet God’s standards (“justified”) – but only because they have received the saving work of Jesus as a free gift. For the purpose of deciding the fate of their soul, the sins of such people will not be counted against them (2 Cor. 5:18-19), and, better still, Jesus’s perfect righteousness will be imputed to them (Rom. 3:20-22; 2 Tim. 4:8).
Questions: What is the most righteous thing you have ever done? Do you think that it somehow makes up for all your sins?
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus as the instrument of eternal salvation. I acknowledge that I cannot earn my own salvation, and that no one else can either. Amen