Nothing… And that is harder than you think.
We are all trying to justify ourselves, make ourselves worthy of some standard. We are constantly trying to excuse our faults. Whether that is the ‘little white lie’ we told to protect someone else (though really it was because we didn’t want to face the fallout of the truth), or the bitterness that lives inside us is to be expected because of the terrible thing ‘she did to us’. Have you ever said, ‘I’m only human’?
And we are always promoting our achievements: see my grades, my clothes, my good moral behaviour.
Sometimes in the bustle of our excusing and promoting we forget what, or who, we are trying to become worthy for.
The bible tells us we were made in God’s image. We were made for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). We were made to reflect God to the extent that someone would look at us and think of God. Understandably, we don’t have a category for God, so we end up comparing ourselves to other humans, and we can usually find someone who is ‘less worthy’ than us to make us feel better.
But let’s look at God for a minute. Here is just a taste of a few of His attributes.
God is the creator. He spoke everything into existence. There was no light until He invented it. He formed the universe with the planets, He squashed quarks into protons and neutrons. Every sunset and mountain range appeared in God’s mind before creation came into line.
God is powerful. He told waves where to stop (Job 38:11). He paused and reversed the earth spinning on its axis (Joshua 10, 2 Kings 20). He holds our delicate ecosystem together by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:3).
God is love. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Like a father of a newborn, He rejoice over us with singing (Zech 3:17). Nothing and no one could snatch us from Him (Romans 8:35-39, John 10:28). His love didn’t remain theoretical or far away; ‘it’ became a ‘Him’. And came to earth so it could be seen, touched, and killed for us (John 3:16).
What could make me worthy to be a container of such indescribable value?
It is insulting to think my excuses or promotions could make me worthy of Him.
Therefore, it is critical to come to the painful and liberating conclusion that there is nothing I can do to make me worthy. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In fact, our very good deeds, the things we would be most proud of, God considers to be dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6).
There is nothing, nothing, nothing I can contribute.
We are called to repent from (turn and walk in the opposite direction, away from), not only our bad deeds but, also our ‘good deeds’. Anything which we think we have done to qualify us to bear His image.
I can’t do it. I can’t get there. I can’t qualify or become worthy. I can’t get to Him.
He knew that. And out of His love, He came to me. He lived the life I should have lived and died the death I should have died so that He could be judge and justifier. So that I could be restored to His image bearer. So, I could be saved.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
The question of salvation is really the question of whose righteousness will you trust in.
When God’s wrath comes down on sin will you stand under your own righteousness or His?
I can’t save myself. I don’t want to be deluded to think I can ever contribute a thing. But He paid the ultimate price to save me.