Does my record of good deeds, especially in contrast to others, count with God?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Why is it important to be sure where you will spend eternity? Is the faith that people have in God going to get them into Heaven? Matthew 7 says, “I’m sorry. I never knew you,’ here’s what His message is.” What are two ways that Jesus talked about misplaced faith.
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. YBS1
Keywords: good works, Sin nature, Ephesians 2:1
Ankerberg: Erwin, some people, though, listen to that and they say, “Listen, it’s still a fact that I’m better than my neighbor. Okay? Doesn’t that count for something? I mean, I should be able to get in just on my record.”
Lutzer: First of all, let me say that I’m glad that the person says that he’s better than his neighbor, but unfortunately, we’re not in a position to be able to judge ourselves. By the way, most people revise themselves upwards. But, John, here’s the point. Let’s go back to Ephesians 2:1. We are “dead in trespasses and sins” without Christ. Now, we may have two corpses – maybe this person has been dead for 20 years and this person has only been dead for three days. Does it really matter? If they’re going to live, both of them need the very same miracle.
And today we may be speaking to someone who has sinned greatly. You know, years ago when John Wayne Gacy was put to death in Illinois, he was a man, a pervert actually, who had killed I think something like 18 young boys in Chicago and then hid the bodies under his home. You know what the amazing thing was when you saw him on television? You would expect him to look like some evil person. I mean, I remember seeing him and I was expecting horns or demons coming out of him. I was shocked by how ordinary he looked. The simple fact is that we’re all members of the same race. We may not do what he did, thankfully, but the simple fact is we’re all sinners. And we can’t say to ourselves, “Well, he needed God’s forgiveness but I don’t.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said it very well. He said wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had good people in the world and bad people in the world, and we put all the good people on one side, all the bad people on the other? But he said the line does not go between the good people and the bad people. The line really does not run there. He says that the line between good and evil runs through every single human heart. You and I know, John, how often it can be said that we are shocked at even what a good person can sometimes do.