Why We Cannot Be Good Enough


And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” — Acts 10:21-22

Many believe that being morally good is good enough. They believe there is some level of morality, determined by society, that can be achieved by a man, thus defining them as "good." In fact, I would have accepted this idea as a biblical idea in my youth and young adult years. But if you ruminate on the assumptions behind this concept for even a few minutes, you will conclude this is really a broken construct. To assume there is some ideal measure of morality, that can be determined by humanity and then achieved by a man is a very arrogant idea. And it's this arrogance that gives way to everything immoral about this world. Actually, if you work out this premise, there could be no more unfair proposition on planet earth. And by the way, this is not a biblical idea at all.

And in this text, we discover a man who was well aware he was good but not good enough. In fact, this man did a lot of good things. He was a God-fearing man. He was generous with his proceeds. He lived an upright and moral life. Even Jews spoke well of him, which was a rarity. But none of these good deeds or his good reputation made him good enough. This is morality defined within humanity and by humanity, and it's exhausting and will eventually fail. It will leave us wanting more.

And this leads us to a conclusion and a solution. You see, it is only when we discover that we can never be morally good enough by human means that we pursue a better means of morality. We must conclude that moral goodness must be provided by someone who is actually morally good. And that perfectly moral person is Jesus. And through means of his divine moral perfection, we the immoral creature can be recipients of his divine morality through the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Through belief in Jesus's life, death, and resurrection, we receive the means to be righteous in God's sight. And this is what Cornelius lacked. He lacked the divine moral goodness only provided by faith in the risen Savior that his good deeds could never provide. Because you see only Jesus's moral goodness is good enough. Even our best moral day is still exceedingly short of being good enough.

So here's the good news for all men. You can be perfectly moral (righteous) in God's eyes by declaring your total immorality to him. By declaring your immoral past, pursuits, and passions and placing your full faith and trust in Jesus — your unrighteousness can be cleansed by Jesus, and you will receive the right to be called a son of God. And honestly, that makes sense, and it sounds pretty awesome.

ASK THIS: What immoral action or moral goodness are you hanging onto?

DO THIS: Give it all to Jesus.

PRAY THIS: God, I surrender all my good and bad deeds to you today. I receive your perfect grace, mercy, and forgiveness that makes me right and righteous in your sight.

PLAY THIS: All To Jesus I Surrender — Simple Worship.


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11 thoughts on “Why We Cannot Be Good Enough

  1. Eddie Ackerman says:

    I can hang on to the fact that I am morally good or kind as being good enough some days, but I need to lean on Jesus and not rely on myself because I am sinful and will continue to sin and fall short of God’s glory on my own, EVERY TIME.

  2. Keith Panicko says:

    Ya know what else I see here ? Obedience. If Cornelius wasn’t obedient and if Peter wasn’t either where would us as gentiles be ? Could you imagine if Peter brushed off the men Cornelius sent ? Same with us. We might not feel like reading our devos daily. Or following what we know is right. if we are obedient following our moral duty we can get through all the stuff we as men go through on a daily basis. I’ve always been touched by this story in the Bible. We never know what or who Jesus can fix or touch by us being faithful to Him and His word. 💪💪

  3. David J says:

    I struggle everyday but I proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. Thank you for your blessings, grace l, and mercy

  4. Rex says:

    I am a sensitive person – and it comes up every day Lord I give it again to you today-I take your righteousness again thank you

  5. Cory B says:

    I have my moments of judging, lusting, isolation and lacking patience.
    It is way better than it was, but I still have shame when I do and it can be difficult to give it all to Him when I’m so used to trying or thinking I’m fixing the problem on my own. His will, not mine.

  6. Phil Green says:

    Great Word Vince. I have something that I’ve been hanging onto for way too long. I appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Sheldon says:

    I try not to hang onto anything , aware of the fact my righteousness is in Christ alone and the life which I live now I live by the faith of the son of God who love me and gave his life for me.

  8. Trent Cory Rakes says:

    This I know. It is the acceptance and the action of leaving it at the foot of the cross after giving it over that I have trouble with. Lord may I love myself enough to allow Your love to fill me! And then be confident and bold enough to share it with all I happen by.

    • Thom Hyslop says:

      Trent, I, too, often have difficulty leaving my sins at the cross. I am so thankful that Jesus never put a cap on the number of times we can come to Him and ask for forgiveness. The cross is always there. we need to keep returning until we can leave our whole being there and not take it back.

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