How Good Is Good Enough?

Art Moffat Pastor

How Good Is Good Enough?

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—Galatians 3:10-13

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1

Israel has escaped from Egypt. They need laws.  What punishments were needed for breaking the law.  What were the consequences for the people’s illegal actions.  They needed judges who would govern.  Moses was their first mediator, then came other priests to help him.

When I taught American Social Studies, I had the students get into groups of 3 or 4 to lay out a town.  They had to figure out how to get water for the citizens, how to defend the land and the people, and to define the laws and the government of the town. They had to figure out the details involved in keeping the citizens and the property safe, secure, nourished. It was a complicated assignment. I walked around the room listening to plans, arguments, ideas.  I offered guidance and asked questions.

So the Lord gave laws to Israel, this new nation. The Lord was their leader.  Moses led as God commanded.  The priests were spiritual leaders to help the people to understand the Lord’s expectations and to show them how to get closer to God and how to be forgiven of their sins. 

First God gave the 10 commandments at Mt. Sinai.  Later the book of Leviticus gave more specific laws.

But there was a problem.  The problem was — no-one  seemed to be able to carry out these laws God gave.  And to break the law was sin. It wasn’t that God was being too strict with these laws.  It was that people were so weak.  They were too much of the world. Too much into the the world— like people today — or any of us.

We don’t want to sin.  I’m talking about us  as believer here.  Yet we do.  Like Paul says, “I do what I shouldn’t do, and I don’t do what I should do.”

I’ll give some examples.  But I won’t use myself!

Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden.  God gave them one law.  Just one.  They broke that one law — one time.  God cast them out of that perfect garden.

That is how God sees sin.  He is Holy and cannot look upon sin.  Only one law, and only one time for Adam and Eve to break that law.  They could not, NOT sin!

Let’s look at a few of the 10 Commandments. “Have no other god’s before Me”, which means, have nothing as a priority more than Almighty God. Don’t give emphasis to anyone or anything above God.  That means your children, being liked, your job, a sport, money — ANYTHING!

A majority of Americans fall into this.  Whatever it is that you value and you value it more than God — that is a sin.

Let’s look at the fourth commandment. “Honor the Sabbath Day”.  If you break that law of God it is a sin.  Well, how much do I honor the Sabbath Day?  The Israelites  were to do no work on the Sabbath.  So what does that mean for us?  Can you wash clothes on The Sabbath? Does using a washing machine make it not “work”?  A woman I know works for a Jewish lady.  She often has contact with Hasidic Jews.  This woman told me that Hasidic Jews cannot even turn on a light switch on the Sabbath. What does that mean for us?  Can we open a refrigerator? Can I play tennis?

The fifth commandment t says, “Honor your father and mother.”  To what degree? If you are told to get home by 11:00 and you get home at 11:10, is it a sin?  We’ve all broken some of our parents’ rules.  Our parents’ law is God’s law.

In the history of the Old Testament, ONE person has made it as an adult without sin.  Genesis 5 tells us that “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.”  Meaning that God just took Enoch right up into heaven.

So outside of Enoch it sounds impossible to be good enough and if you can’t be good enough you cannot enter the gates of heaven.  Because you are, we all are, tainted with sin, like Adam and Eve.  Sin that we cannot shake off like a dust ball. These sins corrupt us.  Tainted with the same stain that stained Adam and Eve and got them tossed from the Garden of Eden.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator.

Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:19 &24

See, God’s laws kept us from falling further into sin’s allurements.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.          Galatians 3:13-14

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. Zechariah 13:1

What is this fountain?  The fountain that would cleanse sin began flowing when a soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’ side as He hung on the cross at Calvary.  That fountain frees us from the curse of the law.  Because Jesus knew that we could not be good enough.  So He took our sin.  He covered it with His shed blood and thereby cleansed us, and purified us.  Jesus knew we could never be good enough He wants all people to be saved from eternal death.  And He purifies those who accept Him as Lord and Savior.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Peter 3:9

In the Old Testament it was the blood of bulls and lambs that was sacrificed on the alter on the Day of Atonement to cleans the Israelites of all their sin.  Today it is Christ’s shed blood that cleanses our sin. We are to ask God, believing in Christ’s sacrifice for us, to forgive our sins — on a daily basis.  

Christ does not want us corrupted by sin.  He knows that heaven can not be corrupted by sin.  So Jesus took our punishment for our sin. We only have to repent and to ask Him forgiveness for our particular sin and we are free — cleansed, delivered, no longer can sin hang over us — curse us.

I praise God for that.  And, I think Jesus for going to the cross for me and for you.

Jesus is Lord!

Amen.