There is no finality to the Christian LIfe this side of eternity. Leonard Ravenhill

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Intentions Aren't Good Enough

“The greatest enemy of the life with God is not sin but the good that is not good enough.”
Oswald Chambers

“It is only Jesus Christ Himself who is capable of living the Christian life.” Ian Thomas

The Christian life is impossible! We can’t live it. We can’t do it. We can try, but we will never make it. We can know the right stuff but never live it. The Christian life is impossible!

But it’s a good thing that we are the servants of a God who can always accomplish the impossible. Jesus summed it up well, when the disciples who were bewildered and confused had asked Him, “Who can be saved?” Jesus answered them, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26)

We can’t make ourselves good. We can’t build ladders to Heaven, we’d never make it. God knew of this dilemma and He did not leave us alone. He sent His Son to save us. There was no other way only a perfect sacrifice would do. Jesus wasn’t overpayment He was the only possible payment. Outside of Christ we cannot get to God. Doing good things, or trying our best to be good people will never bring us to Heaven’s gates. Paul explains this in Galatians 2:21, “If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” If we could be made righteous though obedience to the Ten Commandments, then Christ didn’t need to die. But anyways, none of us regardless of how good we think we are could ever attain Heaven on our own merit. Because the truth is, we all fall short of God’s standard. That’s why we need Jesus.

But I think we also need to consider our life on the other side of the cross. Just as it is impossible for us to save ourselves, it is equally impossible to change ourselves after conversion. We must look to Christ for genuine revolution within our heart. I love the words of Bunyan’s Greatheart, “It is my duty to distrust mine own ability that I may have reliance on Him that is stronger than all.”

In Galatians 5:16 Paul says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” You see, Biblically good intentions are never good enough. As a matter of fact good intentions most often turn out bad, because they reek of our flesh. We want to change ourselves but this is not Christ’s way. Our way says, “I won’t do this or that and therefore I am good.” But Christ says, “Only God is good.” Christ also tells us in John 15 that if we are not abiding in Him and He is indwelling us we can’t bear fruit.

Ian Thomas in his book The Saving Life of Christ explains our misinterpretation of Galatians 5:16. He says that we reverse the statement,

“The devil loves to invert the truth and turn it into a lie, and probably what he has been saying to you is this: ‘Try not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and then you will walk in the Spirit’, as though the latter were a reward for the former. He knows that in this way he will keep you preoccupied with yourself, instead of being preoccupied with Christ…

“You have been trying not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh in order to walk in the Spirit - fighting a battle already lost. What God has said to you is this, ‘Walk in the Spirit’, in an attitude of total dependence upon Him, exposing everything to Him, ‘and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh’ - for you will then be enjoying through Him the victory that Christ has already won. To walk in the Spirit is not a reward - it is the means! It is to enjoy the Saving Life of Christ!”

Remember this - good intentions are never good enough!