Summary: Too often we want to base our salvation on works when we should never lose sight of God’s grace.
WHEN BEING GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
As a teacher, what is one of the things you want from your students? You want them “to be good.” As a parent, what do you want out of your children? You want them “to be good.” Concerning behavior, being good is something that most of us understand. Surely, even as adults in our community, we want other adults to “be good.” But when it comes to God, being good is not good enough.
If we take this another step into “being good” concerning performance, we want to be good at many things. Always someone will excel at “being good” in some area of performance. Each year, there are the “golden glove” awards to great baseball players. In college football, there is the Heisman trophy. In NASCAR, there is the Winston Cup. In professional football, we have the Superbowl and then there is a “most valuable player” chosen. In the Olympics, we have the different medals. Men and women train their entire lives to receive these awards. Surely, we can say they are good. But when it comes to God, being good is not good enough.
Whether being good refers to behavior, performance, special value, or any other characteristic, when it comes to God, being good is not good enough. God is not influenced by a person’s ability or position in this world.
I. DOING GOOD
A. Feeding and clothing the poor is certainly something we should do, and so it is good. Giving
our time and our talent to others such as tutoring struggling students, or being a big brother or big sister to children who need role models is something that we should do, and so it is good.
B. Paul Was Doing Good
Philippians 3:4 “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
If religious works and heritage could qualify one to be spiritual, then Paul would be way up there. He begins with his pure heritage as a Jew. Then he uses three statements to show without a doubt his pure Jewish blood: (Wayne Barber)
1. Pure stock of “the nation of Israel.” This was the badge of honor to a true Israelite. This was
the name of the covenant people of God.
2. Precious stock “the tribe of Benjamin.” Benjamin was the son of Abraham and Rachel. He
was the only child born to Jacob in the Promised Land. Benjamin was the smallest tribe
but was very precious. The Temple stood in the land that Benjamin and Judah inhabited.
3. Proud stock: “a Hebrew of Hebrews.” It meant that both of his parents were Hebrew. It also
meant that he was brought up in the strictest of Jewish tradition.
God wants you to be good, but being good is not good enough.
II. WORKING YOUR WAY TO HEAVEN
A. Good Works
Luke 18:9 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
B. Self-inflicted Suffering or Martyrdom
1. Cutting or beating yourself
2. Being nailed to a cross
Romans 4:4 “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”
If it is a debt, you must work to pay it off. If you are working to pay off your sin debt, it
will not be possible to pay it off in this life-time.
A. We have a tendency to boast.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone about something you have recently done