“Jerry was a good man,” the pastor said at Jerald Stevens’ memorial service. “He loved his family. He was faithful to his wife. He served his country in the armed services. He was an excellent dad and grandfather. He was a great friend.”
But then the pastor went on to tell the friends and family gathered that Jerry’s good life and good deeds were not enough to assure him a place in heaven. And that Jerry himself would have been the first to tell them that!
Jerry believed these words from the Bible: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (6:23). Jerry’s final and eternal destination in life’s journey was not determined by whether he lived a really good life but entirely by Jesus dying in his place to pay sin’s penalty. He believed that each of us must personally accept the free gift of God, which is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23).
Jerry was a good man, but he could never be “good enough.” And neither can we. It is only by grace that we can be saved through faith. And that has absolutely nothing to do with our human efforts. “It is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).
No work of mine can add to what He’s done;
I bow to worship at the Master’s feet,
And honor God the Father’s only Son. —Hess