Most religions emphasize the need for “good works” in one way or another. For some, the things we do are how we earn a place in Heaven. For others, good works demonstrate that a change has taken place in our lives through faith.
The relationship between what we believe and what we do has eternal significance when it comes to our standing before God. Our understanding of how we are made right with God also guides our daily living and affects our peace of mind.
Here is a little story to demonstrate the important difference two letters can make.
Two people were talking about their views on religion one day. After going back and forth for a while, the woman said, “We are both concerned about the same things, but our views are so very different. Your religion has two letters in it, and mine has four.”
“What do you mean?” asked her friend.
“Your religion is all about d-o but mine is d-o-n-e.”
Their brief meeting ended and both went on their way. But the man couldn’t stop thinking about how his friend’s simple assessment was a perfect summary of his experience with religion. For years, he had been trying to “make things right with God” by following rules. Some of these rules came from a holy book, others were handed down by a church, and the rest he picked up from other people.
He lived with constant pressure, trying to figure out which rules were worth following, and which ones he could break from time to time—or ignore altogether. As he got older, his list of rules constantly changed as he met new people who either added more standards or insisted he should lighten up.
Pondering all of this now, he realized how wonderful it would be if his standing before God was based on something d-o-n-e, something finished, something completed! He was tired of the constant uncertainty, and crushed beneath the heavy weight of both his rules and the knowledge that he didn’t really measure up.
After a sleepless night, he reached out to his friend and asked how she could be confident in her “religion of four letters.” She sent him these verses from the Bible:
He read all of these words over and over, asking God to open his understanding. Eventually the light dawned upon his soul, and he realized that all of his religious efforts had been for nothing. The things he tried to d-o never brought peace to his soul because the righteousness he needed could only be received as a gift from God.
While salvation must be received as a gift, the cost for securing our forgiveness was incredibly high. God saw that we would never be able to measure up to His perfect standard, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price our sins deserve. Jesus, the sinless One, laid down His life and endured God’s wrath against sin. Because He has carried the weight of our sin, God can righteously forgive everyone who comes to Him through faith.
When we realize that our efforts to reach God will always fall short, we can finally begin to appreciate Him reaching out to us. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus didn’t die so that our path to Heaven would be easier, He died because otherwise it would be impossible. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
Have you received God’s gift of salvation? Are you ready to trade your ‘d-o’ for His ‘d-o-n-e’? Talk to Him today, and find rest for your soul in the finished work of Jesus!
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).