Cover 2016-07-17

Ron Writes

You’re Not Good Enough!

“At the store today, a young woman in a tight mini-skirt walked by and my husband starred at her. Can you believe it? He committed adultery right in front of me.” One woman said she divorced her husband for adultery because he looked at porn.

These women have abused Jesus’ words. Jesus said, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt. 5:28). Just as in the previous section, anger isn’t murder and here lust isn’t adultery. Lust is never okay. It indicates an adulterous heart. If left unchecked it can lead to actual adultery, just as anger unchecked can lead to murder.

Jesus came to establish a new standard. In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5), Jesus says an incredible thing. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (5:20). In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees believed they were righteous. They never murdered or cheated on their wives. They had a righteousness based on human achievement. Jesus is going to set a new standard.

Jesus confronts their self-righteousness. The fact that you’ve never murdered or committed adultery doesn’t mean that you’re righteous. He begins to illustrate by using two powerful elements; anger and sex to prove His point. Have you ever gotten angry? Have you ever lusted? If you say you’ve never done either, you’d lie about other things too. Jesus was stripping away any claims of righteousness. You are not innocent. If you can read the Sermon on the Mount (or any portion of the NT) and feel self-righteous, you’ve misread something or you’re delusional. How desperately we need a Savior! How desperately we need a new heart (Mt. 15:19)!

Are you good enough to go to heaven? This question haunts a lot of people. A few times non-Christians have told me that they don’t need to go to church because they’re already good enough. I wonder if our emphasis on holy living gives the impression that we are trying to be good enough to be saved. What keeps folks from salvation is not the greatness of their sins, but the pride of heart that has convinced them that they are righteous (i.e. “good enough”). Even when we try to meet the new standard, we have failed.

Thank God for salvation. Thank God for His mercy and His grace. Since we are saved, let us strive to have purer hearts and live lives that are more holy. As we do, let us be patient with one another, kind and forgiving, for we all have failed.