The misuse of good deeds

Vaclav's picture

"Sometimes we try to silence the conscience by compensating for our sins with good deeds." Erwin W. Lutzer

Our way: we try to be good or better, we try to give to others more, we try to look more spiritual, we try to pray more, we try to go to church more, we try to deny ourselves things or people in our lives, we try so hard to do all these things with not much of a heart in it. Usually, when we are like this we expect more recognition from others rather than from God.

So how do we get a heart in what God wants us to do? Here's God's way: "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law [by what God wants us to do]; rather, through the law, we become conscious of our sin [because none of us can keep it perfectly]. But now apart from the law [apart from our obedience to God's law] the righteousness of God [revealed in Jesus' obedience unto death, fulfilling all law in our place] has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:20-22a)

The law says if you sin you die. The law of God revealed to each one of us that we're guilty. Everyone has sinned and broken God's law, so we die. But God promised in the Old Testament that he himself would be our righteousness. In the New Testament, we see that God's Son Jesus Christ as a man obeyed God's law perfectly instead of us sinners. And now his righteousness is given to us freely through faith in what Jesus has done for us. What a joy, peace and freedom comes from trusting in Jesus in such a way. And this is God's way of dealing with our guilty consciences.

So, God's law and his verdict say we're bad. But we naturally think, or our solution is, 'I'm not so bad, I'll prove it by my good life.' God's solution to our lack of perfect righteousness is his Son Jesus' perfectly obedient life and death in our place. And all we need to do is to repent and accept him, to believe in Jesus who did it all for me. But when we don't accept God's solution for our guilty consciences, we, in fact, are saying to God, 'no thank you, God, I don't need Jesus' life and death to save me, I'm trying hard, can't you see?' There will be no joy, peace or freedom in our solution to our guilty consciences. Our way leads to emptiness and death. God's way leads to fullness of joy, peace, and righteousness. So, are we walking in God's way, or our own way?