On a scale of 1 to 10, how acceptable do you think you are to God? Why did you select that number?
We live in a highly competitive, reward-driven society where doing something good results in getting something good. As babies, we are celebrated for crawling, walking, and talking. As kids, we’re rewarded for earning good grades and behaving properly. And in adulthood, that next big break is just one performance evaluation away.
Our performance determines our success and acceptance in so many areas of life that it’s easy to transfer that mentality to our faith as well:
If I just do more, God will love me more.
If I work harder, He’ll accept me.
Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who, like many people today, were trying to earn God’s acceptance. They grew up under Old Testament law, which required animal sacrifices to cover their sins. Even after hearing that Jesus’ sacrifice had covered their sins past and present, these Christians were back in the temple trying to work off their sins the old way.
It’s a myth that being good enough long enough will one day get us to heaven. Like the priests under the law, our good deeds will never be good enough to remove our sins.
Forgiveness is a gift, and a gift isn’t earned. Our acceptance to God is based on Christ’s performance on the cross. Jesus “sat down,” not because He was tired, but because His sacrifice was complete (Hebrews 12:12). Our only job is to trust in Jesus’ work and follow Him step by step (Ephesians 2:8-10).
- How does knowing God’s forgiveness is not something you earned change your attitude toward Him?
- If God forgives us freely, how should we forgive others? Is there anyone you need to forgive today?
- Have you ever asked Jesus into your life and received His forgiveness? If not, learn more about salvation here.