2/8/15 Sergio about 40
The biggest temptation for church and non-churched people alike is to trust in our own goodness and good deeds rather than trusting in Jesus for salvation. So does that mean our good deeds aren’t important? A man named Sergio struggled with that as I reached out to him in the friendly confines of a Menards store. Sergio said he believes people “need to be right with God” in order to go to heaven, so I said “That’s just what the Bible says! It’s called righteousness – a right relationship with God – and most people think that they can somehow do enough good deeds in order to be righteous.” Sergio responded “No way, you can’t pay your way into heaven, you have to earn it” I could see Sergio was a little confused – he knew superficial religious deeds can’t be used to “pay” for heaven, and some earlier statements he made led me to believe he realized our good deeds are an important part of repentance, but somehow he believe it must be “earned” – as if that is different than “paying for it”. This was a great time to tell Sergio that salvation wasn’t free – it did have to be “earned” – but that Jesus is the one who paid for it on our behalf. This is a free gift (is there a such thing as a gift that is not free?) and it need only be received. So what about our good deeds, are they not important? I try to help people like Sergio see that the order of things is what is important – our good deeds can’t save us, but they are a sign that we have been saved. The best way to respond to the love of Jesus for us on the cross is with good deeds, because Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 15) We love because he first loved us.