The things that we try to do right, those things that are good and make us feel like “good” people–those are not things that through accumulation will grant us good standing with God. The problem is that in our striving to continue to do what is right we fail. If we don’t even try to do what is right we have already failed. Either way, we fall short of doing what is right ALL of the time. Take this contemporary example. If I believe that it is good to obey the speed limit and I am careful to do that, will I ever go over the speed limit…even by 1 mph? Almost a definite “yes”. And if I try my very best at doing that one thing very well, I will inevitably do something else wrong. I will violate something that makes me a “good” person unintentionally (and possibly out of intentional rebellion). “We all make mistakes” right? We cannot get it ALL right. Even if we got MOST of it right, our good does not outweigh the bad–that is not how God’s economy works.
Take a look at God’s standard here in James 2:11:
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”
God requires complete holiness. Perfection. Romans chapter 3 explains that not a single person is perfect and neither can they be. It is very important that God is perfect and that he requires perfection because we can trust that He will love us perfectly for eternity. Otherwise, we would have some fear of judgment by the all powerful Creator if he was in a bad mood one day in heaven. The dilemma is that we are imperfect and cannot reach perfection. Our saving grace is not that we become “good enough” for God because we already saw that we cannot. That grace which saves us is FAITH. Putting our hope and trust in Jesus Christ fully and utterly is our salvation. We cannot do everything right, but we can give everything to God in faith. THIS EVERYTHING is what is required. But not by being a good person…by being a person of faith. Consequently, our faith will inspire us and prompt us to do good; abundantly good! But those good works do not save us anymore than our bad works condemn us. Our faith in Jesus demonstrated by a life submitted to His will is what makes us good. This submission is the recognition as God as our Lord and is what brings us into His presence.
Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”