God Wants Us to Know and Love Him, Not Try to Save Ourselves

By Dudley Hall Published on February 19, 2017

Evidently there is a vast number of people who have occupied this earth who believe that their purpose is to be good. They suspect that whatever god there might be has determined that he likes good people and detests bad people, and that he is planning a final test where the bad guys will be enthusiastically thrown into the fire and the good will get rewarded because of how good they proved to be.

I say that because so many still feel so badly because they do bad things and don’t do enough good things. There have been so many religions created because bad people are trying to be good.

Even in our predominantly secular culture, people are always trying to be better. The best-selling books tell us how to be better at something. Even if it’s not for God’s judgment, we want to do better because we will feel better about ourselves. It’s secularism’s version of heaven.

What if Goodness Isn’t the Goal?

It is a scary question, but what if that isn’t what God wants? What if badness and goodness were not the issue? What if being good were not the goal? It sure would take a lot of pressure off. But, someone will argue that we tried that in the 60’s when we trashed responsibility and thumbed our noses at rules, and boundaries. That didn’t pan out so good. Someone is probably about to mention that much of our society is already rejecting any morality and that we are amid a culture war because of it.

Before we get too far, let me point out that being bad is not the only other choice.

The truth is that God is all about humans knowing him and being loved by him. He created Adam and Eve to know him and partner with him in a great project. Their role on earth was to be the image-bearer of their creator.

We can get back to being his image-bearers on earth as we partner with him in getting the truth of his real purpose delivered to the whole world.

It was after they believed a lie about him and his intentions that they started trying to get back in his good graces by being good the way they assumed he wanted. Since that time, humans have speculated as to what it would take to appease the gods, or they have taken God’s own instructions and turned them into ladders they could climb toward goodness.

Christ’s Goodness

In time, God sent the Son to be the perfect human who lived in love and righteousness. He died as our substitute so that his goodness could be transferred to us. We can’t be better than he, and he has paid for our badness. We are free to know God without guilt, shame or fear.

We can get back to being his image-bearers on earth as we partner with him in getting the truth of his real purpose delivered to the whole world. We can lay aside our dead works that never impressed him anyway. He loves to show off his mercy when we sin. His glory is made manifest when in our weakness he is strong.

Our failures don’t put him off. They are opportunities for him to show any who are watching how much he loves to restore the broken and pick up the fallen.

Oh, we don’t try to be bad, or just do bad things because we can. We are constrained by the love that he has shown. It changes us. We long to honor his name, and we find that we love the same people he does. Some might look at us and say we are good people, but that is not our goal. It is just an observation. We are known and loved by him.

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