When you think you’re something (or at least good enough)

Our church will finish making eggs next week.  Last night, someone from our church was at a store buying some supplies to finish up our egg making and saw someone with a cartload of powdered sugar.   “Making eggs?” the person from our church asked.  “Yes”, the other person answered.  “We are from a church in Frostburg and will end up making 10,ooo eggs”, they said.  Throwing the 10,000 figure out there tells me the person from Frostburg was proud of their accomplishment.  And rightfully so, that is a lot of eggs.  Then the person asked the person from our church, “Do you also make eggs?”  Our person said, “Yes, we do.”  “How many?” they asked.  “As of today, we have made over 24,000”, our person responded.  We will end up having made a total of almost 27,000 when we finish next week.  All of the sudden, 10,000 eggs does not sound like so many.  And my point is not to brag about our number or diminish their number.  I’m sure we could find a church somewhere who has made 50,000 eggs, making our 27,000 sound insignificant.  It is the perfect illustration about comparisons.

I used to think I was a good person and was good enough for heaven.  I attended church a fair amount of time, I taught Sunday School, I was a reputable member of the community, and I hadn’t (and still haven’t) murdered anyone.  I saw this as a pretty good life, or at the very least, not a life deserving of hell.  However, the “good enough for heaven” philosophy only works when you compare yourself to those who behave more poorly than you do.  It breaks down when you compare yourself to people who seem to live a better life and sacrifice more that you do.

It is akin to the church who makes 10,000 eggs comparing themselves to the church who makes 500.  They can feel pretty good about themselves.  But when you compare 10,000 eggs to 27,000 eggs, you realize there are others who can put to shame what you have accomplished.  The question then becomes where is the cutoff for good enough?  Is it 100 eggs? 1,000 eggs?  10,000?  25,000?  100,000?  And who decides?

The reality is that to be good enough, God has set the rules and He compares you to Jesus.  And the bad news for us is that Jesus was perfect.  Therefore, unless you are perfect, you are not good enough for heaven.  The Bible tells us that anything less than perfect makes us deserving of hell.  Any other comparisons are moot because the truth is we can all find people living worse than us to compare ourselves to.

But God is merciful and does not leave us in this hopeless and hell-bound state.  He has made a way of escape, allowing us to receive credit for Jesus’ perfect life, thereby offering us eternal life with Him in heaven.  There’s nothing you can do to earn it.  It’s a free gift, offered to those willing to humble themselves and confess.

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:13 – “…for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:9 – “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

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*I realize nearly all of you reading this already know this.  This might be a good blog to share on Facebook.  Or even to print out and give to someone.

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