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Jamie Johnson
August 2, 2010

I am no good

First, the bad news.

I am no good. Neither are you. None of us are in and of ourselves. The band Poor Old Lu even sang a song entitled "I Am No Good" on their 1994 album Sin. It's true, really. None of us are any good despite the misgivings of our culture that we all are good and that every kid will somehow be an astronaut.

Some use the Ten Commandments as a benchmark. The Good Test is one that we will all fail. Even if someone goes through the good test and declares that s/he has not broken any of the Ten Commandments, there is one that becomes broken -- you know, the one about lying? The truth is that all of us have failed.

In Jeremiah 2:35: the Scripture says the following:

"you say, 'I am innocent;
he is not angry with me.'
But I will pass judgment on you
because you say, 'I have not sinned.'"

Okay, so one might say, "I haven't murdered or committed adultery." Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28:

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.…You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

So, have you been unrighteously angry with anyone or looked lustfully at anyone? If so, then you are guilty of murder and adultery. If you think this is stretching, consider James 2:10: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." We are all lawbreakers.

Still not convinced? Consider these scripture references:

Genesis 6:5 states, "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."

That was before Noah's Flood you might say. Well, let's look after the Flood:

Both 1 Kings 8:46 and 2 Chronicles 6:36 say, "for there is no one who does not sin."

The fool says in his heart,
     "There is no God."
     They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
     there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
     on the sons of men
     to see if there are any who understand,
     any who seek God.

Everyone has turned away,
     they have together become corrupt;
     there is no one who does good,
     not even one.

          ~Psalm 53:1-3

Psalm 143:2 further states,

"Do not bring your servant into judgment,
     for no one living is righteous before you."

Jeremiah 6:13 says the following:

" From the least to the greatest,
     all are greedy for gain;
     prophets and priests alike,
     all practice deceit."

Jeremiah 17:9 further says,

" The heart is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?"

What about good works? We even fail there! Granted, James 2:14-17 explains that faith in Christ must be accompanied by good works if it is a vital faith. However, we fail. And our works won't get us into Heaven. One time, someone actually suggested the ludicrous notion that Jesus meant living the way He did in John 14:6 as opposed to His being the only way to God. Not only is this a blatant denial of that verse and other verses supporting it, but it also denies the Cross and Resurrection in that it cannot explain why Jesus would predict and go to Cross if there was another way. Further, in regards to living the way Jesus did, while we are called to do so, we cannot live like Jesus did unless His Spirit is in us...and even then we fail. Our righteous works are even filthy. Isaiah 64:6 says the following:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
     and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
     we all shrivel up like a leaf,
     and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us it is impossible to please God without faith and Romans 14:23b blatantly mentions this with "and everything that does not come from faith is sin."

Let the Bible (not me) reiterate:

Romans 3:10-12 echoes Psalms 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, and Ecclesiastes 7:20:

As it is written:
     "There is no one righteous, not even one;
          there is no one who understands,
               no one who seeks God.
     All have turned away,
          they have together become worthless;
     there is no one who does good,
          not even one."

Romans 3:23 says it again directly, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Still, some refuse to take "the writings of Paul" forgetting that all Scripture is God-breathed. Yet, for the benefit of these, consider these words from Jesus in Matthew 15:18-19: "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." That quote also brings to mind the utter failure of all of us with regards to the Ten Commandments.

Even still, some may say they have a "clean record" or that they are a Boy Scout or a kind-hearted grandma, not a serial killer. Well, imagine that a Boy Scout, a kind-hearted grandmother and a serial killer are in a canoe in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now, imagine the canoe has a gaping hole in it that cannot be plugged. One could say, "They are not all equally as bad, but they are equally as bad off." They have no hope in and of themselves. We are the people in the canoe.

Up to this point, there hasn't been much good news, has there?

But there is good news. You see, the people in the canoe need a Rescuer. They need a Savior. We need a Rescuer. We need a Savior. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is God (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1, John 8:57-59, John 10:30, John 14:1-10, Romans 9:5, Revelation 1:8 along with Revelation 22:13, 16; and many others). And therefore, His work is perfect. You can trust His perfectly righteous works, His death on your behalf, His Resurrection. You can trust His love. You can trust that faith in Him means that your sin is nailed to the Cross - your resumé for His. Did you read that - "your resumé for His"? Not only does He take your sin, but He gives you His righteousness (see Galatians 2:20). That is the good news - the Gospel - euaggelion (ευαγγελιον)!

I cannot argue anyone into Heaven just as I cannot see anyone's heart, but I can proclaim the good news with the hope that others will come to faith in Jesus Christ -- not that they are perfect or sinless -- but that they may stand on His promises realizing that "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

In and of myself, I am no good, but in Christ, I am no longer condemned because of His perfect work and saving grace. Can you say likewise? Do you know Him?


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