Did Jesus Come to Make Bad Men Good?
Contrary to what many religious people believe, Jesus did not come to make bad men good. He came to make dead men live. That is why Christianity is not religion. It is not self-improvement. It is not about you doing your best to be holy. Christianity is Life. It is God’s Life, imparted to you, working powerfully in you, flowing miraculously through you.
God said to Adam, the day you sin you will die. Adam sinned and death entered. And death spread to all men. So you see, the problem is not merely that men are bad. It is far worst than that! Sinners are dead.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:12ff NKJV)
It should be obvious. Dead men cannot do good. Dead men cannot obey. Dead men cannot be holy. Dead men cannot contribute to their salvation. Think about it, you who make salvation a matter of man’s works. What good work could dead Lazarus have done to help himself stop the process of decay that was at work in his lifeless body? How could the Ten Commandments have helped him?
There is only one way for dead men to come alive; only one way to get movement and growth again. That is for life to enter them. There is only one way for sinners who are already dead in trespasses and sins to be holy. It is for the life of Jesus, eternal life, to enter them.
And this is what salvation is all about. It is receiving His Life–in us, from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, through faith. We live because He is alive in us.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:4-6 NKJV)
Christians are not people trying to live for God; trying to do good. Christians are already alive in the Spirit. They are holy vessels containing the Life of God and spiritual branches manifesting the Life of God. We are fruit-bearers, not religious “do-gooders.” We simply experience and effortlessly manifest the good fruit of His Life more and more as we learn to rest in His finished work.
Child of God, our salvation is truly the work of God. We are saved not by our love for God, but by His love for us. The Father conceived it, the Son achieved it, the Spirit revealed it, we received it. Let’s celebrate it!