It’s easy to see how our sins separate us from God. What’s harder to see is how our good works can separate us from God too. Did you know that? Did you know that your good works can get in the way of Jesus just as much as—if not more than—your sins? The prophet Isaiah once confessed, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
Our “good” works can be even more dangerous than our sins. The better you think you are, the more you think you’ve earned or deserved, the less you’ll be interested in Jesus and his grace. How often don’t we do good to make God owe us something? To control others? Doing good easily becomes a way to get our way. The Israelites in Isaiah’s day—and the Pharisees in Jesus’ day—were so good in their own eyes that they didn’t need a Savior. They didn’t need God. Sound familiar? Our world is getting so “good” that we don’t think we need God. Our good works get in the way of Jesus!
It’s good to remember that even our best attempts to earn God’s favor are like filthy rags compared to the riches Jesus has already won for us. Don’t trust in your goodness. Trust in Jesus’ grace! Your standing with God doesn’t depend on how bad you are. Your standing with God also doesn’t depend on how good you are. Who you are doesn’t depend on you at all! It depends on Jesus. He takes our rags and covers us with the robe of his righteousness. That’s how you become good. That’s how you become beautiful. Rags to riches—by Jesus’ grace.