“Jesus is not enough.”
That’s what we’re saying when we buy into the lie that salvation is not “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.” (cf. Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 10:9; John 3:16; Galatians 3:1-14)
Working our way to heaven… what a miserable life.
Never knowing if we’re “good enough”, if we’ve “done enough.” Always having our “goodness” measured my man-made legalism, rules, and traditions. Always living under the crippling weight of “checking off the boxes.” Then, after the day is done… starting over the next day.
This “salvation by works” school-of-thought is contradicted throughout scripture. Paul, in a rebuke of legalism to the Christians in Galatia, wrote,
“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the [Old Testament] law (human effort, keeping rules). And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” – 2:16
And to his friend, Titus:
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” – 3:4-5
The early Christians struggled with “Jesus is Enough” as well. It seemed too easy; it seemed to “soften” God’s requirements for salvation.
But, there was nothing “soft” about the Cross. Nothing “easy.” Jesus suffered. He absorbed the wrath of God over sin – our sin. (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21)
To claim our mere human effort can make us right with God is an affront to the Cross.
This is what Paul means when he wrote:
“If keeping the [Old Testament] law could make us right with God, there was no need for Christ to die.” – Galatians 2:21
Translation: If a single act of human effort can make us right with God, Christ suffered and died for nothing.
Grace is scandalous.
Grace turns human logic upside down.
“In one of his last acts before death, Jesus forgave a thief dangling on a cross, knowing full well the thief had converted out of plain fear. That thief would never study the Bible, never attend synagogue or church, and never make amends to all those he had wronged. He simply said “Jesus, remember me,” and Jesus promised, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” It was another shocking reminder that grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us.” – Philip Yancey; What’s So Amazing About Grace?
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing….” – John 6:63
Jesus is enough, nw