I was listening to Paul Washer today when I was reminded that Christianity isn’t about morality or being a good person. This is oftentimes the message that unbelievers hear. A common belief is that God is loving; therefore, He will overlook my sins because overall I’m a pretty good person. After all, I’ve never killed anyone. I even help old ladies across the street. But the truth is that I’m not good. It doesn’t matter what I do. It is impossible for my good works to overcome my bad ones.
In reality, I have no good in me apart from Jesus. Yet people despise the godman and attempt to earn their own salvation. When we get caught up in religion, we are no more saved than the unregenerate.
Paul Washer had an analogy that clarified this. Suppose a preacher went to visit a member of his congregation at his house because he has not been attending lately. The man says, “Preacher, you’re right. I need to get back in church because it is good for me.” The preacher confronts him on his drinking. The man retorts, “You’re right preacher. I’ve been getting drunk a lot lately. I like boozing but I need to quit because that’s what’s best for me.” Now the preacher confronts the man about his infidelity. The man says, “I know it’s not what’s best for me. I need to quit carousing.”
The following Sunday, the man comes to church and fellow church members are amazed that the preacher was able to lead a sheep back into the fold. The truth is that this man never was a sheep. He’s just a goat attending church.
We shouldn’t be doing what we hate doing because it is good for us. It’s not like force feeding yourself kale because it is heart healthy. If we are secure in Christ, what we love should be a reflection of that. If we love our sin we aren’t saved.
This reminds me of a former friend. After sharing the gospel many times, he claimed that he has “accepted” Christ. After only a few weeks, he shed his identity with Christ as easily as he allegedly identified with him. He actually says he was born again (but no longer). One cannot be saved only to become unsaved. Either you are born again or you are not.
There are people just like him in the church. They are caught up with religion or self righteousness. They don’t understand that keeping law will not save them. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t obey God, but we don’t follow God’s laws to be saved. We strive to keep the law because we are saved.