While I was sitting eating Pei Wei honey-seared chicken and rice in the international concourse of the Atlanta airport, I noticed a young man with a strange t-shirt on. I’m sure it stood for something like a school or a club that he was in, but the slogan associated with his club is what caught my attention:
“God only takes the best.”
The first time I read it, I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. I’m still not entirely sure what it’s trying to say, especially since I suspect it has to do with a sports club. So I admit I’m reading into it quite a bit. But one sure-fire way to understand a statement is to reverse it and see if it’s still true.
If God only takes the best, than that means He turns away those who aren’t the best. That means He rejects the unworthy. Is that true? Not according to the Bible, it isn’t.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
The Bible says over and over and over again that you don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be righteous. God loves you even though you can’t be any of those things. And you can’t be.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but nobody is perfect. Nobody is good. Nobody is righteous. We can’t even be good enough for the world’s standards most of the time, let alone God’s. Yet somehow we still have this idea (and people still make t-shirts apparently) stating that you have to reach some level of perfection before God will accept you.
We didn’t have to be perfect in order for God to save us. No, Romans tells us that while we were imperfect, Christ came to save us. While we were sinners, Christ died for us. While we were enemies with God, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the chance to be God’s friends.
That’s a gift, pure and simple, and you can’t do anything to earn a gift.
God’s grace is a gift. It’s free for us. And anyone who tries to add to that gift isn’t telling the truth. Anyone who says God’s grace is something you have to earn isn’t telling you what the Bible actually says.
You don’t have to get your life in order before you come to Him. You don’t have to clean up your act. Just come to Him now. You’re all He wants. Yes, God deserves the best, but you don’t have to be the best for Him to take you. God wants you just the way you are.