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Am I Good Enough to Be Saved?

One of the sad truths about Christianity is that it is difficult to convert people to Christ.  This has always been true, and Christians who seek to evangelize experience the same obstacles today in converting people to Christ that the apostles and Christ Himself experienced during the first century.  Sometimes these obstacles can be overcome, but oftentimes they are not.  Nevertheless, the commission of all Christians is to go on preaching the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

One of the obstacles that is often encountered is the attitude of a person who believes that he is not good enough to be saved.  Some may say such a thing as an excuse for not obeying the gospel, but many are sincere in their self-evaluation.  They see themselves as hopeless sinners who are beyond help.  Moreover, they perceive that the life of a Christian is one of sinless perfection that they could never aspire to achieve.  They have seen others fail, and they count those failing Christians as hypocrites.  Therefore, rather than attempting a life of faith in which they think they will fail, they choose to remain as they are.

A person with this belief has completely misunderstood salvation in Christ Jesus.  Salvation in Christ is not a payment received for a life of good works.  Notice Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  There is a stark contrast between wages and the free gift in this verse.  Wages indicate a payment that is due because of a work that has been done.  In this case, sin is the work, and death is the rightful payment.  However, eternal life is not a wage to be paid.  It is a free gift granted by God through Christ Jesus.

The truth is that none of us can ever be good enough to merit our souls’ salvation.  If we pursue righteousness by our own goodness, then we will fail.  Consider the words of the apostle Paul in reference to the failures of the Jews in Romans 9:30-33.  He explained that Israel had not attained righteousness because “they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.”  The problem with that pursuit was that they did not perform the works of their law perfectly.  The Law of Moses was dependent upon the flesh (Rom. 8:3), and the Jews, like all men, were not strong enough in the flesh to be righteous.

Therefore, if anyone attempts to pursue salvation by being good only, he will be frustrated.  If he is honest with himself, he will realize that he stumbles and fails, just as the Jews did, because the flesh is weak.  In Romans 7:15-24, notice how Paul described the struggle and frustration of one who tries to do right on his own but is yet marred in sin.  Eventually, he will throw up his hands and declare, “Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

The answer to all of our spiritual problems is given in Romans 8:1 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Those who remain outside of Christ are condemned for their failure to be righteous, but those who are in Christ receive no condemnation, for they are forgiven of their sins.

So then, the correct question to be asked is not, “Am I good enough to be saved?”  The correct question is, “Is Christ good enough to save me?”  The right answer to the right question is yes, Christ is good enough to save all of us in spite of our countless failures and immeasurable weakness in the flesh.  And the blessed comfort for a Christian who walks in the light is that even when he sins, if he confesses his sin, God is faithful and righteous to forgive him and cleanse him from all unrighteousness (1John 1:7, 9).

Therefore, becoming a Christian is not a commitment to perfection.  A true Christian who sins is not a hypocrite because he never claimed perfection.  In fact, a Christian is a person who has admitted that he is not perfect and that he needs help.  For that reason, he has committed himself in faithful obedience to Jesus Christ that he may receive the free gift of eternal life.  He must do the best that he can, but when he fails, he has a loving Savior to make him right again.

Stacey E. Durham



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