Tim Keller says, “A good way to avoid Jesus is to avoid sin.” If we are good enough, who needs a Savior? If we are good enough, who needs all that messiness of surrender, and heart-wrenching confession and repentance?
No sin, no need for a Savior.
But who are we kidding? We know better, deep down inside.
The Rich Young Ruler knew better, too. So he approached Jesus, asking what good things he must do to get eternal life. What he was really asking is what else good must he do, because he was doing a lot of good already. When Jesus listed several of the Top 10, he responded, “I already do all those!”
But for some reason he approached Jesus for help, in spite of his really good goodness. Did he realize, deep down, that acting good is not good enough? It certainly seems so.
Jesus may as well have been saying, “It is hard for a man or woman rich…in good deeds…to enter the Kingdom.” Why would they need to surrender and be forgiven? They are already pretty darn good. Not perfect, mind you, but oh come on, way better than most.
And since God grades on the curve, I’m okay and you’re okay.
Or at least good enough.
We know there is no good that is good enough. But we try anyway. We are hooked on performance. When we try to act good in order to perform well, we are actually living out of fear, and our performance will grade out at a C-minus at best.
Did you good performers get that? A C-minus at best.
But when you are a born again child of the Father, pleasing him replaces performance.
Surrender is so much simpler than performance. If you surrender “my claim to my right to myself,” (Oswald Chambers) your good deeds will flow naturally from love, not fear. And that is the A+ life to the full.