Have you ever noticed why Jesus was telling the tale of the Good Samaritan? A religious lawyer had approached him with a question. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered the question with a question. “What is written in the Law?”
The man made a good answer. Love God. Love your neighbour. Jesus’ response, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live,” should have given confidence to the man. But no! It says that he tried to justify himself.
We do it all the time. I’ve listened to family arguments, arguments in churches, arguments in communities and one of the things I’ve noticed is that people are constantly trying to justify themselves. The problem is it never seems to help.
The Bible has a different answer. It is found in Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ….”
We were never intended to justify ourselves. The thief on the cross understood this. He called to the other thief, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
Jesus’ promise that this thief would be with him in Paradise or eternal life, followed the man’s admitting that he didn’t deserve it. He had to quit trying to justify himself and trust Jesus’ death on the cross.
Are you still trying to justify yourself? I think you’ll find it doesn’t work. Christ is waiting for us to call on Him like that thief. You call. He’ll hear.
Rawlin Falk is an elder in the Lakeview Church in Quesnel.