“…to set free those who were doomed to death (Psalm 102:20).”
Dr. Francis and his nurse
I love the new AT&T commercials “when just ok is not ok,” especially the one with Dr. Francis and his new surgery patient. The patient’s wife asks the nurse in his room if she’s ever worked with him and she says, “Oh yeah…he’s okay.” (Just okay?)
Dr. Francis appears in the doorway and unprofessionally yells down the hall, “Guess who just got re-instated!” Once he’s inside the room, he quietly admits, “Well, not officially.” Then he asks the now visibly worried patient if he’s nervous about his surgery. (Yes!)
“Yeah, me too. Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it out.” As he abruptly leaves, the cavalier doctor tosses this over his shoulder, “I’ll see ya’ in there.” (Say what?)
This patient is doomed and we laugh, but if it were real it’d be scary bad. Now suppose God had a commercial jingle, it might be, “when just good is not good enough.” Why? If you’re trusting in your good works to make you acceptable to a holy God, then you’re doomed (and actually insulting Jesus).
Consider Ezekiel chapter 18 and verse 20, which says, “The person who sins will die.” We all justify our guilty conscience from wrong behavior with, “Well, I’m not that bad. I’m really pretty good.” But as Paul says, “All are under sin. There is none who does good, there is not even one (Romans 3:9-12).” Compared to a holy God, we’re doomed.
Ezekiel’s Tomb, 80 miles south of Baghdad
If a perfect red balloon represents God’s holiness, as the standard for being with Him in Heaven, then how many pins are needed to break it? James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” It’s not being good. It’s being totally perfect…holy. That’s why just being good doesn’t cut it. Just one sin breaks God’s Law, and our “nobody’s perfect” excuse is really a guilty plea.
The Red Balloon film (1956)
If you care about your dead soul, read the Book of Romans, and note 11:6, which is the key. “If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works.” Grace means if you throw a brick through my living room window, I come to your house and wash all of your windows. You get what you don’t deserve. That’s grace, and it’s not logical.
That’s what Jesus did. We all killed our souls with sin, and even one is fatal, and so we deserve punishment for breaking God’s Law…death, but instead He died for us. Why?
“Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.”
In Ezekiel 18:23, God reveals His heart, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked, rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” Again in verse 32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (in their sins). Therefore, repent and live.” God loves you, but He can’t ignore your guilt. So Jesus lovingly took your place.
Jesus Christ, when just good is not good enough. That’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-9).