Weekend Extra

Written by Bill Grandi on January 19th, 2019

Supposed to have another big snow event later today. Bummer. But life goes on. I have no control over the weather; only my response to it. In this weekend extra I’d like to write about something familiar.

I’ve been reading Lies Men Believe by Robert Wolgemuth. Lie #3 is “I Can earn God’s favor” spurred my thoughts this morning. If you know your Bible at all, you know there was one group of people Jesus had very little tolerance for. It wasn’t whom many of us would turn away from; it was the religious leaders. Pharisees in particular. Ironic then that Nicodemus (Nic) came to Him to talk. But Jesus minces no words either. “You must be born again.” How’s that for a fine “How do you do?” No beating around the bush. No soft sorry. No mercy. What was required of him was and is required of us all. In spite of status. In spite of “religiosity.” In spite of so-called piety. He slammed home at the Pharisees’ arrogance. Now…I can give Nic the benefit of the doubt that he was different from the others. He sought out Jesus. There was something in him that saw Jesus as someone different. I think it shows by his actions at the cross. But he was also a secret disciple (until that moment). Gotta wonder how he pulled that off-hiding his loyalty for 3 years.

Anyway, Jesus’ words were for him and for us. No man comes sinless and good enough. God is holy; I am not. God is sinless; I am not. Nic needed a rebirth; so do I. My sin nature is no different than his. God is holy; he cannot stand sin; therefore, I’m not good enough to earn his favor. Nic wasn’t. I wasn’t. Neither is anyone else. Theologian? Nope. Pastor? Nope. Lifelong student of the Bible? Nope. Those who believe in complete sanctification? Nope. Nobody. I’ve come to a very staunch conclusion over the years. It is this: my standing before the Father is not determined by how I’m doing, but by what Jesus, the Son, has done.

That settles it. I cannot earn God’s favor. I can only receive His unconditional love. Nic found that out. John 3:16. That verse still stands as a beacon of and to that truth.

“Father, salvation is mine, not by merit, but by your Son’s blood and your unmerited favor. Help me to not forget that and try to impress you or anyone with my religiosity. I simply come to you as a sinner in need of grace.”


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S says:

    I am so Thankfiul God’s favor is not earned…. I know I do not stand up to the standard that must be met. At the end of my life, I am not placed on a scale to measure my good deeds vs my bad. I am not compared to anyone else who has lived or who is living. I am measured against perfection. Thankfully, at the end of this life, Jesus would step on the scale and be weighed instead…

    Good reminder this morning!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You said it so well Ryan. And to know it will be Jesus on that scale and not me is the icing of it all.

  2. Glynn says:

    I read the Book of Joshua yesterday. One could superficially read it as how a man (Joshua) did some difficult, hard, often terrible things, to earn God’s favor. A better way to read it is how a man did some difficult, hard, often terrible things because he was being obedient to what God had told him to do. In other words, Joshua was God-centered, not man-centered.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      What a wonderful truth Glynn. So insightful and such a good lesson to see. I want to be like Joshua (your description of him). 🙂

  3. No, we cannot earn God’s favor, nor should we ever want to try. I’ll lean on Jesus for my all and all, thank you very much! Thanks for this weekend extra, Bill.