“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17)
When Jesus said this, he was not breaking people out into groups of sick folks versus well folks.
What he was saying is that either people see that they are sick or they do not. Because people that think they are OK do not go to the doctor. Generally speaking.
The problem is, all men are sick; and all men need The Great Physician.
Or, more specifically, all men are sinners; and all men need The Savior.
Christ cannot save a man that will not see his need. A man must be willing to see his need.
A man chooses to face his need or he does not. He chooses to see himself as God sees him; or he chooses to live in a fantasy world.
Choosing to See the Truth
Life is a series of decisions.
As a consequence, a man’s destiny is based upon his decisions.
Every day, we are faced with a spiritual choice of one thing over another. Each choice either opens up or closes down our remaining options. Eventually, we arrive at our last choice — and our series of decisions ends.
But, at the core of all life, is a basic choice. We either agree with God about our sinful condition or we deny that our condition is all that bad.
The religions of the world are designed for those that think their condition is salvageable. By salvageable, I mean able to be improved by self effort.
True biblical Christianity does not teach that. The Bible does not hold out any hope for the guy that thinks he is able to do something to approach God by his self effort.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:” (Romans 3:10)
All of this is to clarify a specific truth for those that are Christians and for those that think they are Christians — but are not.
That truth is that there are no good people in heaven.
Yep. Good people do not go to heaven.
Those that go to heaven are no better than those that don’t. Or, to say it another way, they possess nothing in themselves that makes them better.
Neither have they done anything — nor a series of anythings — that merit their approval from God.
Because true salvation in Christ has to do with faith. It is a resting confidence in God’s holiness and righteousness that saves me. And in a promise He made that I either believe or reject.
No middle ground.
Christ in You
It is faith in the fact that God has applied all the righteousness and purity of Christ to my account when I believe on Him.
And then, faith in the fact that He has come to dwell within me when I first believed. And that He has made me a new creature.
But even as a new creature, I do not possess holiness apart from the Spirit of God. It is HE within me that is good. Not me, myself nor I. It is only the Lord within me that is good.
This is very important for Christians to constantly affirm. To daily repeat to themselves. That you are dead to the law. You have been crucified with Christ. Your old identity is dead. Your new identity is Christ Himself.
My new identity is a not a better me. It is not some better me that draws power from God to do good things. As if I still have some independent identity.
No more than a light bulb has some identity apart from an electric current. Or a candle has an identity apart from the light from a match. Or a car has an identity apart from the gasoline that propels it.
Yes, what is now in me is a Person; but that Person is not me. It is Christ.
These wondrous truths are not true because I am good; but because they have been accomplished by God on my behalf. And also on your behalf. And then applied to us based on our faith in God’s gift.
Not as a result of our good works. But as a Gift to be received with thanksgiving.
Focus on The Lord and Not Ourselves
One of the reasons for saying all this is that while a believer does understand this at the moment he is saved, he has a tendency to forget this as he goes through the down-and-dirty experiences of life. The hard, day-by-day struggle to live in this new life.
When we forget the basis of our approval and acceptance by God, it affects every aspect of our lives. It will lead us into depression, guilt, shame, regret and every dark and terrible spiritual place that Satan would drag us.
Whenever we look at our own accomplishments, our own successes and our own good works for God, we have moved into a place of defeat.
And the same truth applies to our sins, our failures, and all that we have not accomplished.
Because we forget that there is no good within ourselves.
The only good within us is Christ.
As Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 7:18, 24-25).
We must clearly understand that an occupation with our self will kill us. There is nothing there that can benefit us. It’s like going to a landfill and expecting to find a beautiful landscape.
Because we now have something better. That thing is the indwelling Christ.
The world is constantly occupied with being good. The religious people of the world are constantly focused on doing good religious things. The humanitarian with doing good works for mankind. The philosopher with thinking good and lofty thoughts.
All building their stairway to heaven. Built from material they imagine can be pulled out of the goodness they possess from within.
As believers, we have something better to offer the religious and moral lost. We are not in a moral competition with them. We cannot win them by displaying some form of “better goodness”.
While we are commanded to teach the moral truths the Lord has given us, we must always remember that we are no better than those we preach to. Our salvation is all about Christ and not about something better that we have in ourselves.
Let us pray to God that we can get out of the way of ourselves so that the Lord can clearly reveal Himself to this lost world through us.
Because it is Christ that they need.