Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written: ”There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.'”
Unfortunately, the idea that people are generally good, is faulty. Even if people are actively trying to help those in need, they are still, by nature, disobedient to God at their very core and continually seek their own way rather than His. We can do many good things for ourselves and others, but not be doing God’s will.
Jesus’ claim to fame was that He always did exactly what God the Father wanted Him to do (Jn. 8:28-29). He never acted out of his own will (Jn. 5:30). But whatever He did was done perfectly. Jesus was “good” because of His obedience to the will of God which was preceded by His faith in God. Our goodness is not measured by the accumulation of good things done for others–at least God does not measure goodness in this way. Jesus’ own goodness was not measured in this way. He obeyed the voice of God, but that does not always mean doing the tasks of “goodness” that we consider good. Sometimes what is good may actually be very hurtful to us, or even to others (as they perceive it).
We are able to be considered good only because Jesus was considered good. Without Jesus we would be left holding our sin, even if we did believe in God. But because Jesus becomes our substitution, we are able to both be bought back to God and live in faith, which gets us to heaven. When we are hidden IN Christ, God only sees Christ. Which is a good thing that He does not see us! If He saw us, He would see our evil nature. But not everyone is hidden in Christ. Those who try to be good enough by being kind and loving will never attain the level of righteousness of Christ–which is the standard for entering heaven.
Therefore, if Mother Teresa was not hidden in Christ, she did not make it to heaven. If Hitler was not hidden in Christ, He did not make it to heaven. Everyone is judged on one standard–faith in Jesus Christ. Since Mother Teresa Jesus as her Lord, then one can assume she is hidden in Him. But the concept is that even if someone spent their every waking moment doing great things for humanity, but were not living by faith in Christ–they will not be good enough to get into heaven. Their hidden thoughts of rebellion will be exposed, although their outward works may be very good. The Bible talks a lot about wicked people going to hell and righteous people going to heaven. You can’t be righteous without being hidden in Christ and you can’t be hidden in Christ without believing He is God Almighty–the One and only–with a conviction that produces a submission to His will. Your faith is proven to be real when you demonstrate faith in Him by rejecting the compulsion to follow your own will. This therefore produces works of repentance!!
If we belong to Him we are slaves to Him and any good deed we do is expected, not extra. The demand is that we obey and follow Him. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14-15) That is a unique type of friendship. It is not like our friends in our human lives. With God, He is our master and we are His slave, but He allows the slave to be His friend. How kind of Him! But we dare think of him as just another “bro” that is on the same level as us. This is God Almighty who has created everything in existence and breathed life into humanity. He is not our equal–we are His subjects. But He is gracious enough to treat us with such love and compassion. Not as we would treat slaves and those beneath us. But instead, He would die for us.
Consider this excerpt from one writer:
- For the redeemed, obedience is not an option. Christ’s commandments are not suggestions. Our actions, attitudes and desires must be submitted to Christ’s Lordship. We obey because we are His blood-bought servants. This perspective is foundational for obedience and our walk with Christ, but it is not the whole picture. We have to know who we are before we can know what to do or why we do it. That’s why the first foundation of obedience is our identity as a [slave] of Christ. Remembering who you are in Christ is essential to growth in obedience. Do you realize that you are a slave of Christ? (Hauffe and Hack, Slaves of Christ, 2016).
Remember, start with submitting to Jesus’ Lordship in your life which is giving him authority over your will. This means that He may demand that you stop watching sports, or going running, or doing a certain ministry, or being friends with a certain individual, or working a certain job. But it also means that he may not. The key is that as His slave, we are driven everyday by the exciting opportunity to do what God wants us to do.
Free will? Sure, if you want to be disobedient! 🙂