God is Perfect – Week of June 15, 2020

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Romans 3:28

“My child gave you a tough time today. There’s a special place in heaven for you!” Has a parent ever said this to you? The parent is joking but also wants you to know that you are appreciated. They might even be apologizing for their child’s behavior. It seems harmless, right?

This idea that your actions earn you a place in heaven is not only untrue, but joking about it can be very dangerous. First of all, even the good that we do can still be tainted with sin. For example, perhaps we do an act of service out of love for someone. But we also do the act of service for our own benefit as well, such as to look better among our peers, to earn respect, or for a returned favor. “Selfless acts” can be disguised acts of pride.

God’s Word says that we need to be perfect to go to heaven. God says that we could earn our way to heaven. . .if we were perfect. This means never, ever having a bad thought. Never, ever hating a person or wanting something that belongs to someone else. Never, ever lying. Never hurting another person. Never, ever doubting God. Never sinning. Every thought and action would need to be pure and holy. Impossible, right? Exactly. We cannot earn our way to heaven. We are not perfect. Try as we might, we will never be pure on our own.

We are only free to enjoy the gifts of heaven through faith in Christ Jesus, not because of any good that we do. We are “justified” when God declares us righteous, not by our own works but through the work of Jesus, who died on the cross.

What a relief this is! Even our sin-tainted good deeds are pure in his sight because Jesus took on our sin and guilt. We are justified, or pardoned from God, as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ. May we continue to serve others in thankfulness for this free gift!

We are just like the long-ago people of Corinth! We daily struggle against our sins, and we daily need the power of God’s forgiveness in Christ. God is holy and just. Through his perfection we are given the gift of eternal life in heaven. May we find comfort in these words! Through the Word we are daily reminded that we have been freely given grace, love, fellowship, and eternal life. May we gladly share these gifts that our God gave us with everyone.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving us the free gift of eternal life through Jesus, your Son. Please forgive me for the wrong that I do. Help me to show your love in my words and actions. Amen.

A Question to Consider: A parent jokes, “there is a special place in heaven for you for how you helped my child today”. What can you say to gently remind her that God’s gift of heaven is free and not earned by the “good things” we do?

Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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