There was a preacher who explained salvation like this:
It seems that a frog one day fell into a pail of milk, and though he tried every conceivable way to jump out, he always failed. The sides were too high, and because he was floating in the milk he could not get enough leverage for the needed leap. So he did the only thing he could do. He paddled and paddled and paddled some more. And oila!—his paddling had churned a pad of butter from which he was able to launch himself to freedom. The preacher’s message was: “Just keep paddling, keep on working, keep on doing your best, and you will make it.”
Sadly, many people, even preachers really do think that salvation is earned by working hard like that frog. A survey was taken several years ago of 7000 church-going teens from a number of denominations. The results show that…
- 70% thought it was true that God is satisfied if a person lives the best life he can.
- 60% agreed that God accepts you if you sincerely try to be good.
Now remember, these were church-going teens, but they answer the way world wants to believe about God. Either that seeped into the churches they attended, or the churches weren’t clear enough to counteract the world’s teaching. Just to be clear, then, what does the Bible say?
Is God satisfied if you live the best life you can?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
Does God accept you if you sincerely try to be good?
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10–12)
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28)
Well now, that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? But why can’t we be justified by works or good deeds? That’s what we turn to now…