Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing of this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? (Proverbs 24:11-12 NIV)
I often think of the unborn when I read these verses – and our responsibility as Christians to rescue those being led away to death.
Lately, I’ve been watching The Good Place, a situational comedy about four people who arrive in the afterlife thinking they’ve been sent to the good place – paradise or heaven. One of the four realizes they do not belong because of the life they led. In an effort to earn a place here, she determines to work at redeeming herself by becoming good… I won’t go further, because I simply want to prove a point – all religions, save Christianity, rely on the same premise to achieve salvation. We must earn our way, by doing good works.
According to the Bible, God is holy and requires his people to be holy. (Leviticus 11:44) He is also just and judges us according to our deeds. The problem is, however hard we try, we fail to live up to his standard of holiness and deserve his wrath. (Romans 3:10)
Romans 3:23 says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23 states, the wages of sin is death.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us after our death, we will be judged.
He who weighs our hearts, perceives our selfish motives. The Lord who guards our lives, knows our justifications. He will repay us according to what we have done.
I don’t know about you, but although I love the thought of ‘bad’ people getting the justice they deserve. When it comes to me…the retribution of God for the lies I’ve told, the disrespect I’ve shown my parents, the murderous thoughts I’ve had, etc. truly make me fear the Lord and the consequences of my sin.
But God is full of mercy and loving-kindness.
Romans 5:8 says, God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us.
I Peter 3:18 states, Christ died for our sins, once and for all, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us back to God, having been put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
God sent the Rescuer for us, because we are staggering toward the slaughter. We are the ones being led away to death.
Our salvation is not based on our deeds, good or bad, but on the basis of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection – on our behalf.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, it’s by grace we’ve been saved, through faith—and not from ourselves, it’s the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
So, why do good? From a heart of gratitude and devotion I want to please the One who loves me, fills me to overflowing with his loving Spirit, has given me confidence that I will spend eternity in the truly Good Place!
I John 5:13 confirms my faith,
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (NIV)