Who Among Us Is Good Enough?

Today Tim Archer asked an extremely pertinent question in his blog.  I am paraphrasing what Tim asked.  Tim said, “If you had the authority to change something about Scripture what would you change?”  Wow, what a major question! One thing stood out in my mind as I considered what Tim had asked.  If I could ask God to give additional instruction in just one area I would ask Him to instruct us in how we ought to study and view His Word.  Through the years we have developed our own standard of how God’s Word is to be handled.  If you have spent many years in the Churches of Christ you have certainly become familiar with the acronym “CENI”.  I fear this approach to Scripture has made us extremely self-sufficient in our view of salvation.  If only I can understand and apply this understanding correctly God will approve of me.  In our misdirected view salvation becomes a product of proper intellect and application.  I fear  we believe we can be good enough to be saved totally by intellect and effort.  Salvation becomes a neck up proposition resting entirely on the shoulders of man.  God forbid!

In the story portrayed in Mark 10:17-27 the message is of a rich young man who approaches Jesus with the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life”  We are familiar with the story.  It continues in verse 25 by Jesus saying,  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  The disciples said, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus gave the answer.  Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God;  All things are possible with God.”  Our culture has problems connecting with this story.  For the Jews riches were a sign of God’s approval.  In their mind if this man couldn’t be saved no man could be saved.  The camel was one of the largest animals they knew.  Jesus was telling them it would be easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle than for even the best among them to be saved on man’s terms.  Making it plan, Jesus was saying none among them could be good enough.

No thought runs more counter to the reason Jesus came to earth than the thought, you can be good enough to be saved.  Man will not be saved because he is good enough but because God is good enough.  Instead of spending effort searching to gain perfect understanding we ought spend our time attempting to gain faith in the promises and actions of God.

Our obedience to God should not be an obedience done so we can be found acceptable at judgement.  Our obedience to God ought to be a result of deep seated thankfulness for what God through Jesus has done for each of us.  As Christians we are good enough to be saved!  It isn’t because of our correct understanding or our proper obedience.  We are good enough because when we accept the gospel God declares us righteous!  The same grace that declares us righteous keeps us righteous.  The assurance of salvation remains ours so long as we seek relationship with Him.  Salvation has been, is now, and forever will be in the hands of God rather than between the ears and by the efforts of man. Think on these things.


4 Responses to Who Among Us Is Good Enough?

  1. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, Thank you for writing clearly and forcefully about an old approach to understanding scripture that is not found within them. Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The “CENI” reasoning was generated by someone who wanted to justify certain conclusions, and exclude others.

    Your closing words bring to my mind Phil.1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

  2. Thanks Wayne for your insight.

  3. Tim Archer says:

    I’m glad you caught some of the depth I saw in the question. I appreciated your input and your further reflection here.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  4. Tim, thanks for both your writings and your thoughts here.

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