By Ken Blue
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”Isaiah 64:6.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5.
Men and women make two mistakes that are poles apart. However, the end results are the same. These two fatal mistakes are: 1. “I am good enough to get to heaven,” and 2. “I am so wicked I can’t be saved.” I want to ask you to read the above verses and consider what they say.
The first one gets to the very heart of the matter; and the matter is with the heart. God is very clear that our best efforts are like filthy rags. If you want the full impact of this, look up the word “filthy” in Strong’s Concordance.
You cannot be saved by any religious act you perform. This is the difference between Bible Christianity and all other religions. They all say “do” in order to be saved. Some think if they keep the Ten Commandments, they will be saved. First of all, you probably can’t name the Commandments, and if you can, you have not kept them, nor can you. Others think some form of water baptism or confirmation will open heaven for them; it will not.
Occasionally you will hear someone say, “keep the golden rule,” or “judge not.” Again, you have not kept the golden rule, nor has anyone else. Secondly, what people mean by “judge not” is, don’t judge me. Well, my friend, we are not judging you, there is One who will do that, and He will be just and make no mistakes. Our sins are not “mistakes” they are choices that we have made and are accountable for.
You would never think of showing up at a formal banquet dressed in filthy rages. Don’t assume God will let you in His heaven, when He says your own righteousness is filthy rags. It won’t work. Since your own attire is filthy, you must be clothed and made clean by someone else.
That brings us to the second matter where some assume they are such great sinners God cannot save them. Well, I have great news for you! Christ died for sinners. If you really believe down in your heart that there is no hope for you, unless it comes from outside yourself, you are on the road to salvation. You see, since you cannot possibly save yourself, God Himself does it for you. Look at the text again. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5.
Notice that it is to him that worketh not.” That means you stop all effort and activity to justify yourself. Therefore, there are no works you can do that will save you. That includes all Baptist, Catholics, Buddhist, Moslem, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventist, New Ager, and every one in between.
Notice also, that it is God who justifies those who believe or trust the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as their payment for sin, that are justified. Since God was incarnate in Christ so He could die for your sins and be resurrected, He is the only One qualified to justify those who accept by faith, His payment. Thus, He is just; sins are paid for, and He is the justifier of all who believe.
So, you see, all your works for salvation are rejected because they are like filthy rags. However, if you see yourself in need of God’s mercy, He can be justifying you freely. There’s nothing you can do, it’s been done!
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.
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