Surrender ALL !

There is a widespread belief that good people will go to heaven. Well, that is partly true and partly false.

In this world’s thinking, being a good person who obeys the law and lives a moral life means that you qualify for heaven. You pass the test; you deserve to get into heaven. But I have to say that the New Testament nowhere teaches that a person can get to heaven by reason of their own goodness, or righteousness.

Yes, a Christian is under an obligation to be good; and yes we are all under an obligation to be good. But my goodness does not qualify me for heaven.

It is Jesus goodness, and Jesus sacrifice on the cross which qualifies me for heaven. Not my own. Although a person may live a law abiding,  a moral life,  never appearing to do wrong in our human estimation, God has a different standard: perfection !

And no-one but God himself qualifies on that standard.

Spiritual reality starts with the fact that no human being can of themselves merit heaven, or please God. People are not perfect, and what looks like goodness can mask considerable pride, self interest, or vanity.

A person can be good to all outward appearances because they fear what others may say –  not because they are inherently convinced of goodness.

We are talking about motivation and what is in the human heart. And the person who is truly aware of what goodness requires is all too conscious that they are an imperfect human being.

In awareness of our imperfection we can come to a place of acknowledging our need of Jesus Christ, and our need of his substitutionary death on the cross to assuage God’s merited anger with our imperfection.

God alone is good, and we therefore depend on his goodness, and his sacrifice in our place at the cross, to become good. Goodness is of God, not of us.

It is in my humility before a righteous and holy God that I am aware that he alone is good and that I never can be, apart from his goodness, and his life within me. 

This awareness keeps me in a place of humility; a place of knowing what I am in my own humanity; of knowing that I depend always on his goodness, and his love and power to live as God would have me live, ie loving God and loving others. 

That I can hold onto nothing but God for my righteousness; that nothing can be more important to me than that relationship of dependence on God.

Last time we looked at having total, childlike trust in God; this time we see that nothing else can be more important to us than God’s love and goodness – nothing else can take God’s place, and so become god to us !

This explains the story about a rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 19.

The young man states he has kept the commandments of Moses; amazingly Jesus does not dispute this. What Jesus does dispute is whether his heart is wholly surrendered to God and wholly dependent on God for his goodness and his welfare in life. So, Jesus tells him to go and sell all he has, and then come back and follow Jesus, ie live learning from and living for Jesus.

The young man goes away sad because that was the one thing he could not do: surrender all to God and follow Jesus wholeheartedly and in total dependence. 

God demands that nothing comes between him and us. NOTHING. All must be offered up to God when he asks.

Jesus told this young man to give up his riches, but he would not make that sacrifice.

When HE who has given all to save us from our hell deserving SELF asks us to give something up, then we should. Because nothing should be more important to us than God himself.

But allow me to make this one vital point about sacrifice to God.

It is not for us to decide what we should give God; it is not for us to have ideas about what God may or may not demand from us. It is not to be our initiative or our plan or our idea of how to serve God. It is God’s plan and God’s timing and God’s particular instruction.

Otherwise we continue to be god in our lives, and so reject his right to be our God. Like Cain [Hebrews chapter 11, verse 4 referencing Genesis chapter 4], we have a tendency to think we know better than God what He wants. We don’t.

God alone knows our hearts and God alone can point out where the real issue lies. Just as Jesus does here with the rich young man.

We are simply called to live our lives trusting in God; and in his good time He shows us something in our lives which He wants us to surrender.

Please remember God will only ever do that for our good; for God alone can see the real issue which will cause us problems in our relationship with Him.

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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