Have you ever shared the Gospel with a religious unbeliever and they shot back with something along the lines of, “I don’t need to be saved! I think I’m a relatively good person”? An unbeliever, whether religious or not, just does not see their depraved, sinful state and their desperate need of the Savior.
I’ve been slowly reading through Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.” It’s page after page of blessed teaching on the Lord’s great sermon that many people misunderstand. In the section I read last night, Lloyd-Jones compared the thoughts of the unbeliever with the attitude of a Christian. Here’s just a short excerpt:
“The natural man’s attitude towards morality is generally negative. His concern is that he should not do certain things. He does not want to be dishonest, unjust, or immoral. The Christian’s attitude towards morality is always positive; he hungers and thirsts after a positive righteousness like that of God Himself.
Or again, consider it in terms of sin. The natural man always thinks of sin in terms of actions, things that are done or not done. The Christian is interested in the heart. Did not our Lord emphasize that in this Sermon, when He said, in effect: ‘As long as you are not guilty of physical adultery you think you are all right. But I ask, What about your heart? What about your thoughts?’ That is the view of the Christian man. Not actions only, he goes beyond that to the heart.
What about the attitude of these two men towards themselves? The natural man is prepared to admit that perhaps he is not entirely perfect. He says: ‘You know I am not a complete saint, there are certain defects in my character.’ But you will never find a man who is not a Christian feeling that he is all wrong, that he is vile. He is never ‘poor in spirit,’ he never ‘mourns’ because of his sinfulness. He never sees himself as a hell-deserving sinner. He never says, ‘Were it not for the death of Christ on the cross, I would have no hope of seeing God.’ He will never say with Charles Wesley, ‘Vile and full of sin I am.’ He regards that as an insult, because he claims that he has always tried to live a good life. He therefore resents that and does not go as far as that in his self-condemnation.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones from “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount,” Eerdmans Publishing, 1984, pp. 278-279
Roman Catholics and all religious unbelievers think they’re pretty good people and that they do a decent job of obeying the Ten Commandments. If you ask them, they will tell you.
“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12
Am I good enough to go to heaven?