Carrie Gaul "You see, my friends, sin is not just something that we do. Sin is who we are, apart from Christ. This is who we are. That’s why you and I can never behave ourselves into a right relationship with God. A moralistic lifestyle is not what God desires from you. It is not what pleases a holy and a righteous God.
Most of us here today tremble because we know our bad behavior is
offensive to God, and we don’t want to displease Him. But, ladies,
listen to me. Your good behavior is offensive to God apart from Jesus
Christ. Even our righteous acts are like filthy rags in His eyes apart
from the blood of Christ.
The gospel is not: “Clean up your act, get it together, sell out for
Jesus, and God will forgive you.” That is not the gospel. That’s
But that is far too often the Christianity that we are preaching.
That’s often, far too often, what our children are hearing as we’re
raising them and saying, “Be good. Say ‘please and thank you.’ As you
grow up, get involved at church. Care for those who have needs. Don’t
have sex before you’re married, and you’re good to go.”
Now, most of us don’t mean that that’s what will save us, that that’s
what will make us righteous before a holy and a righteous God, but, my
friends, that is often what our children are hearing. And I will venture
a guess that is what your neighbors are hearing when they think that
you’re sharing the truth of God’s Word.
Moralism is not the gospel! The most well-behaved, law-abiding,
church-attending, choir-singing, modestly-dressed moralistic person that
you know is still dead in their trespasses and sins apart from Jesus
You and I can never achieve righteousness by means of proper
behavior. But righteousness is indeed what we need to be in a
relationship with God. And that, my friends, is the precious truths of
the gospel. That’s why grace is so incredible.
You see, the gospel says that you and I, at the core of who we are,
at the essence of who we are, are more sinful and unrighteous than we
ever dared imagine. Every one of you, me, Paula, Nancy, every one of us,
we’re more sinful and unrighteous than we ever dared imagine, and our
hearts are, above all things, deceitful. But God . . . but God.
Ephesians says: “Being abundantly rich in mercy, because of his great
love . . ." his relentless, lavish, extravagant, furious love with
which He loved us. And here’s the death blow to moralism: Ephesians
chapter 2: "while we were yet dead in our sins" (vv. 4–5).
You see, it gets turned around in our minds, and we begin to think
that God loves us because we’re acting rightly. God loved you while you
were still dead in your sins, enough to send His Son to die in your
place. While we were still dead in our sins, He demonstrated the
immeasurable depth of His love by laying down His life for us.
No one took Jesus’ life, my friend, not Pilate, not Herod, not the
Roman soldiers, not the Jews, not anyone. He willingly, of His own
accord, laid down His life for you and for me, to fulfill the eternal
redemptive purposes of His Father that were established before the
foundation of the earth. Isn’t that amazing?!
You were on the heart of God before you were ever born. Before the
earth was ever called into existence, He knew you, and He wanted to
bring you out of darkness into the glorious light through Jesus. And He
was willing to sacrifice His Son in order to do that."