Romans 3-4, Psalm 134
William Borden was born into extreme wealth. Yet his desire after high school was to be a missionary one day. In his personal journal while in Yale he wrote, "say 'no' to self, and 'yes' to Jesus every time." He graduated Yale then went to do graduate work in Princeton Seminary, turning down many high paying job offers. He set his eyes on the Kansu people in China, who were Muslim. So at the age of 25 he sailed to Egypt to study Arabic to enable his missionary work. While there he contracted meningitis and died, never making it to China. Jim Eliot the young missionary who felt called to teach the Auca Indians in Ecuador, died at the age of 28, as he along with his 4 companions attempted to reach this group for the sake of the Gospel. So many choose to reject God saying, "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"
As Paul continues stating his case that before God, we all stand guilty, none of us being able to come before Him in our own goodness, he says in Romans 3:9-12, "...For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one"." Jesus in answering the rich, young, ruler in Matthew 19:17 says, "...Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God...". Paul goes on further to state in Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,".
So, what do those "good" men mentioned in the stories above who met there untimely death have to say? William Borden in his Bible wrote, "No reserves, No retreats, No regrets". Jim Eliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." From a worldly standpoint these were good men who died bad deaths. The problem with society is that we continually rate God according to our human standards. A good thing to a human is living a long, healthy life, having a relatively easy death, getting to see your grandchildren grow, getting that job promotion or that vacation, or running that marathon. A good thing to God is whether we get to spend eternity with Him. Francis Chan described life on earth as the red handle on a jump rope with eternity as the rope. We focus too much on the rat race, frustratingly running on a hamster wheel, while our eyes should be focused on Him. As Paul states so clearly without Him, none of us are good enough. Our entrance into heaven is solely based on what He did, and not what we do. God makes it clear how we can be "good", in 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: