Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Be Good

I met one last time with a group 4th and 5th graders this past week. We were supposed to be discussing our fears and how to turn them over to God. But one of the boys told me he was afraid he was going to hell. So I asked for volunteers to share with him what you needed to go to Heaven. The overwhelming answer (one out of 9 children) answered: "Be Good!"

Garhhh! Even the little girl who's grown up in the church, been baptized, and has a  grandfather who's a pastor answered incorrectly. We stopped the whole lesson and went back to the same basic that I've probably covered 10 times this year.

No one is good enough but Jesus. You have to be perfect in order to go to Heaven... and that leaves everyone out but Him. That's why He died. Our sins mean a debt of death. But when He died as us on the cross, He took our sins upon Him so that we can receive His free gift of grace (unmerited forgiveness). Then, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus' righteousness upon us. How do we receive his grace? Repent of our sins. And believe in Jesus as God's son and that He died on the cross for your sins and confess that He is Lord.

After that evening I was struck with how easy it is for them to believe that they have to do something to get to heaven. After most of the room responded that they need to be good, I asked them to dig deeper and try to remember what the Bible told us to do to become a Christian. They came up with a plethora of things to do: Worship, Obey the Ten Commandments, Go to Church, Read your Bible, etc. But again, these are good things you do. The world is constantly telling us that we need to earn our way to Heaven. All other religions give you a list of things to do to get into Heaven: Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, the list goes on... but that is what sets Christianity apart. It gets to the core of the matter. We can never attain a way to be sinless on our own... it's a futile endeavor.  But that's what the world tells us we must do and that's why it's so easy for those kids to believe it even though they've heard otherwise numerous times.

Even if you've been a Christian for years, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of being good for all the wrong reasons. We have a list of things we must do because they are right and then we struggle to do them. That's because we're trying to live under Legal Mortification... instead we need to live under Gospel Mortification-- obedience to God out of response to our thankfulness for His grace. When we're doing good because that's what Christians do, then we're trying to do it on our own. (And we're going to fail... and be frustrated that we're failing in self-righteousness!) When we are obedient in response to God's love and grace, we may still fail. But we won't be as frustrated because it will be an opportunity to once again preach the Gospel to ourselves! Thank you, Jesus, for Your grace again and again.

(Just a random photo I've never shared... aren't they cute? I'm looking forward to not leaving them for 8 hours straight every Wed.)

One more Wednesday (tomorrow) until the Wednesday night ministry I've been directing wraps up. It'll be bitter-sweet. I'm looking forward to being a full-time SAHM and focusing my energy on my own kiddos but will miss the kiddos I've had a chance to love on this year. We'll have a pool party if the weather agrees... I do know how desperately everyone here needs rain, but if God would allow for a couple of hours of decent weather so the kids can splash in the pool, it'd sure be swell! Please pray for a few hours of calm weather if you remember. Thanks and love!

1 comment:

mpoffman said...

Good message. Thank you for loving these kids for Jesus and teaching them truth! I'm praying for good weather for your party.