By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The will of God is for all to be saved. Sometimes, this means God is trying to help us get out of our own way. He knows that humans are a prideful bunch. We have the uncanny ability to forget all the help that went into our successes the moment the task is completed.
1 Peter 5:6-9 (NIV): Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
You will see throughout Scripture; Jesus warns us about forgetting the work God put into our salvation. Jehovah sent His son to die in our place, and Jesus lived the perfect life, so He could be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus then died on the cross in our place and rose from the dead on the third day. This is the difficulty I find within the idea of being a good person. Are there people who exhibit Godly traits, sure, but are they righteous?
Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV): Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Righteousness can only come by dying to your sins in the watery graver of baptism. It is God who exalts the humble, and it is the humble who are willing to admit they need a Savior. There was only one perfect man, and the rest of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, the only way we can become holy enough to enter the kingdom of heaven is by the washing away of our sins in baptism. It is not until our sins are washed away that we are truly clean enough to be a child of the Most High God.