That I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
There are some works of God that are His responsibility, not ours. The first and perhaps most significant work God does in our lives is regeneration. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit by which He makes those who are spiritually dead spiritually alive so they can trust in Christ. Nobody who is spiritually dead wakes up one day and says, “You know what? Today I think I would like to become spiritually alive.” You and I can do nothing to regenerate ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to believe in Christ.
In John 3, Jesus was talking about the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (v. 5). If you want to be part of God’s kingdom, being born physically is not enough–you need to be born of the Spirit. Jesus continued, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (v. 8). We have no control over when or upon whom the Holy Spirit is going to fall–that is an act of God.
A second work that is completely of God is justification. Justification is the act by which God declares us not guilty on the basis of our faith in Christ. The moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, God sees you as completely sinless based on what Christ has done for you. Romans 5:1 says, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let me illustrate it for you. Let’s say I take my wife to an exclusive restaurant. When we arrive, we see a little plaque on the maître d’s stand: Jackets Required. I say, “I did not realize I needed to have a jacket.” The maître d’ says, “I am sorry–you cannot come in unless you have a jacket. But we have made a provision: we keep a jacket for people who come in with the wrong clothes. If you would like, you can borrow it and enter the restaurant.” Out of pride, I can say, “I don’t want your jacket. If you do not want me the way I am, you can do without my business.” Or I can humble myself and accept the jacket so my wife and I can enjoy a delicious meal.
It is the same way in our relationship with God. None of us has the right spiritual clothes to get into heaven. Isaiah 64:6 says our good works are like filthy rags in God’s sight. But God has made a provision for us: He will wrap us in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and we are welcome to enter heaven and enjoy a relationship with Him forever. You and I cannot do anything to be justified; it is something God does for us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If It’s Going To Be, Is It Up To Me?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.