Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Someone once wrote that it is clear that when we horizontally look around ourselves, we can see there are some people who morally and ethically stand out. Everyone would agree that on the scale of good, that some people are more righteous than others. However, vertically, it is a different story. I heard that there is one prayer you never want issued from your lips, one prayer you never want to utter, and that is: “Lord, give me what I deserve,” because the Bible tells us (1) all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (nobody is perfect) – Romans 3:23, and (2) the wages of sin is death (we earn the penalty) - Romans 6:23. Nobody should pray: “Lord, give me what I deserve”, but everybody should pray: “Lord, give me (what I do not deserve) mercy.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (against God), in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (the devil), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
This simple concept, that we are all sinners and cannot buy, are unable to earn, or do not deserve eternal life in heaven is one of the hard realities to get people to grasp. On that horizontal scale of good where we are measured against everyone else, we are not so bad at all ... compared to others. What sin??? But, God doesn’t use any scale of good, nor does He grade on the curve (where the far right equals with the far left and he takes an average). He doesn’t say that we are good compared to our neighbors and fellow human race. God judges on perfection and it is in vertical comparison to God Himself.
James 2:10 “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”
I know that it goes against what the world tells us, but if you’re not perfect, then you can’t go to heaven. But then who could possibly get there, since nobody is perfect? No one. Yet, people truly believe that they are “awesome” (worthy of admiration and reverence due to one’s greatness). Martin Luther said that the most damnable and pernicious idea that has ever plagued the minds of mankind is the idea that we sinful, fallen, depraved created creatures could ever make ourselves good enough to stand in the presence of an all-holy, sin-hating God. It was this realization that he had sinned against his “just” and “holy” Almighty Creator Father God that broke and converted my “raised in the church” friend Scott because he finally saw himself as a sinner, who could not save himself, and needed a Savior, so he believed and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the ones who blindly walk in the darkness of sin and get in the way of the light of saving faith and justifying belief.
John 3:15-17“Everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God proved a way to get rid of our sin by punishing it on His own Son. From the proto-evangelium of Genesis 3:15, God, by grace, devised means by which His banished because of their sin ones should not ultimately and totally and finally be separated from Him. These means are called “the Gospel”, “Good Tidings”, the “Good News” of the love of Jesus Christ; His death and resurrection. Jesus Christ is the Way, the truth and the Life and there is nothing in comparison.
Acts 16:31“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
In Christ, Brian