Do My Works Mean Anything for My Salvation?

God’s holiness is like strong radiation. His holiness constantly radiates out from him. By its very nature, it destroys anything imperfect with which it comes into contact.

God’s holiness is like strong radiation. His holiness constantly radiates out from him. By its very nature, it destroys anything imperfect with which it comes into contact.

This is why we can’t have the slightest imperfection to enter God’s presence. Otherwise, we will be destroyed. But how is this possible? By being clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Or, in keeping with the illustration, by wearing the radiation suit made by and given by Jesus. Isaiah described it, saying, “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Suppose, however, Jesus gave me his radiation suit, but I had been working hard to make my own. I realized Jesus’ suit was superior, so I put it on. But I have worked so hard on my own suit – keeping the commandments – that I decide to use just one of its gloves. So, I substituted the glove I made for the one Jesus supplied. I walk into God’s presence only to be destroyed by his holiness. My glove couldn’t protect me from the radiation of his holiness because it wasn’t perfect – it was flawed.

Consider the condemnation James describes. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

The point is that no matter how little we rely on ourselves – maybe I just replace one finger on one glove – any little bit of reliance on self becomes a fatal flaw. Even the tiniest flaw in a radiation suit spells disaster.

Neither does it matter what my motivation is for slightly relying on myself. It could be prideful reluctance to give up what I worked so hard doing – it could be the thought that this is what God wants. It doesn’t matter – if we rely in any part upon what we have to do to stand in God’s presence, we have a flawed radiation suit – and we will be destroyed.

Since we sin so much, our obedience isn’t perfect. Therefore, the only thing our imperfect obedience does is make our suit flawed. And a flawed suit is a formula for disaster. Whatever you do, don’t try to add to Jesus’ perfection!

To learn more about how to wear Jesus’ “radiation suit,” read The Only Way to live with God Forever.

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