King's Business - 1967-03

is not Good Enough The Good that

By Dr. V a n c e H a v n e r

F o r I s a y u n t o y o u , that ex­ cept your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). A church composed entirely of Pharisees would be an interest­ ing aggregation these days. They would all go to church, pray in public, read the Bible, give a tenth, — and they would all go to hell. To get to heaven requires another kind of righteousness, not more of the same kind but a different kind. The tragedy o f mankind today is not its badness but its good­ ness. There is so much of the good that is not good enough. It is not our sins but our righteous­ nesses which God describes as “ filthy rags” , rags because they do not cover us and filthy because they only defile us. Karl Marx said that religion was the opiate of the people. In an entirely dif­ ferent sense than he meant, re­ ligion is an opiate. The Pharisees had religion and were blind to the truth. For one thing, THE WORLD IS TOO GOOD TO BE SAVED. After two thousand years of preaching, the idea persists that

we can be good enough to get to heaven. We refuse to believe God’s plain word that there is none righteous, that all have sinned and that our salvation is not by works of righteousness. The world does not like to be told that it has no saving goodness of its own. It talks of “ the innate goodness of the human heart” which God says is deceitful and desperately wicked. We can never be good enough. Only one was good enough and He was made sin for us that we might be good enough only in Him. Clad in His righteousness alone can we ever be faultless to stand before the Throne. Such goodness is unattainable but, thank God, it is not unob­ tainable! The righteousness that is good enough is “ of God by faith.” I used to hear a preacher tell how, as a boy, he longed to weigh a hundred pounds. One day he stepped on the scales and he had gone 'way over the mark. He started to shout for joy when he happened to look around and dis­ covered his big brother back of him with his foot on the scales! Our Lord did not just put His foot on the scales and make up our lack. He put Himself in our

place and met the high standard of God’s holy requirements. We are complete only in Him. Not in ourselves, not in others, not in learning, wealth, fame, pleasure, only in Him. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and right­ eousness.” John Wesley had a godly mother, an Oxford educa­ tion; he prayed and fasted and did good works and lived a sep­ arated life and had a missionary zeal and love for souls. But he still had to learn that the just shall live by faith only as they rest in the finished work and per­ fect righteousness of Another. John Bunyan, tortured by his ef­ forts to be good enough, got re­ lief when there came to his heart the truth that his righteousness was in heaven. “ Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no languor know, These for sin could not atone, Thou must save and Thou alone; In my hand no price I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling.” The dying thief had done no good works before his crucifixion and could do none afterwards. He could not do good with his hands for they were nailed to a cross. He could run no errands



Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker