My Thoughts. . .
Monday, 02-15-2021

Am I good enough to expect the Pearly gates to swing wide open for me? An honest answer? Hear me because I’m shouting it as loud as possible and it is “No!” On my best day, I am lagging so far behind on being perfect that I often want to step outside myself to see if I’m moving. I’m not alone. I have plenty of company. It is frustrating. Although Paul has been dead for about one thousand and fifty-one year, he had the same problem.

“I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. . . . I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:15-19).

That is my story! I want to be perfect by crossing every “t” and dotting every “i.” Wil E. Coyote would be more successful in catching the wily Road Runner than I would be in my attempts to be perfect. I am just like Paul. But, what he says above isn’t comforting either because that’s my story too!

Paul recognized his failure and so do I. Paul gives the solution to our problem, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2, Emphasis mine).

Do you know the difference between Paul and many of us? He put his trust in the one he belonged to. There is a “false trust” which we may saddle ourselves with. That kind of trust is inflated with doubts and fears. That measurement always short-sheets. What is “short-sheeting”? Your doubts and fears trust in the limited causing you to miss out on the eternal blessings. By our own actions we cheat ourselves which keeps us from enjoying what God freely offers.

Am I good enough to walk through the Pearly Gates in my own strength? The answer remains the same. NO. Is that not a contradiction? No. My trust is in Jesus and his cleansing blood, rather than in my ability to save self without divine intervention. Does that mean I can sit in a proverbial rocking chair and twiddle my thumbs? Is your faith alive or dead? How much must my faith move in order for God to be obligated to save me? Is my faith trusting in my numerical works or in his cleaning power? I am not perfect in obedience, nor in faith. That is the reason I put my trust in Him to save, rather than depending upon my goodness (Psalm 14:3; 53:3).

Paul dealt with similar questions. He kept the Law of Moses, but not perfectly. He was a worker for Christ, but not to obligate God. At the end of his life he wrote, “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Do you belong to Christ? If you belong, you are free!