My best obedience to Christ is filled with weakness and imperfection. So then, the Cross is designed to rescue me from my sin and to perfect my obedience.
On my best day…on that day and in that moment when my heart is most tuned to the grace of Jesus, on that day when I bask in the love of Christ and my soul is most inclined to obey Him, on that day when I am filled with affection for the Lord and all my desire is to serve and even die for him; on my very best day, my obedience to Christ is mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that, without the work of Christ, God could not endure to even look at it. Wow! That’s a sobering thought.
I believe that most Christians understand that our worst sin is worthy of hell. We have all done things or thought things that are evil and bad and despicable to God. The Spirit of Christ has shown us that these things are worthy of God’s wrath and we have called out to Christ to save us and cleanse us from these sins. Yet, do we also understand that our best obedience is worthy of God’s wrath? Examine yourself. Scripture makes it clear that underneath the surface, my best obedience is filled with idols of approval, anger, control, self-righteousness, power, comfort, self-protection, and self-glory. On the surface – to my eyes and to the eyes of others – I may look great. My performance is applauded. Yet, God sees. God sees every motive. He knows every impulse. He knows my inmost thoughts. He knows all the hidden idols that lurk within my soul. He knows me better than I know me. And so, even my best obedience; even my best day as a Christian, is shot through with every kind of weakness, imperfection, and idolatry. Left by itself, my best obedience is wholly displeasing to God.
Yet, we who are in Christ can rest secure. Hallelujah! Jesus died for our worst sins and he died for our best obedience.
Westminster Confession XVI: “Of Good Works”
V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.
VI. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God’s sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.