(Article for publication week of 6-20-2012 AD)
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do’ “ (Luke 17:10).
If a man did everything that God required of him, he would be nothing but an “unprofitable servant.” Dear reader, should you perform every duty required of you by the law of God you would have nothing for which you could boast. You would simply have done your duty. Should you faithfully obey the law of God in every point, it would add nothing to God’s essential glory, nor in any way help Him in accomplishing His great purposes.
This is the reason that so-called “works of supererogation” are so ridiculous. It is impossible for anyone to do more than God requires. No one has ever gone “above and beyond the call of duty” concerning what God requires. The world’s largest cult has invented a mythical “bank of good works”, whereby they claim the so-called “works of supererogation” of “saints” (as defined by themselves), are stored up and can be added to the credit of those in purgatory. Of course all this is without any biblical support. Our text plainly teaches that no one can do more than God requires.
But, in actuality, no one has ever even come close to doing everything God requires. We have already seen in previous articles that all our righteousnesses are “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64”6), that there are “none righteous” (Romans 3:10), and that all have sinned and “come short of the glory of God.” Our best obedience is so tainted by sin, that it cannot be counted as a good work that would be acceptable to God. After we have done our very best, we must repent that it comes short of what God requires. Dear reader, you and I must repent of our sins, but we must also repent of our supposed “righteousness.” As one dear brother of old has put it, “we must repent of our prayers, and pray over our repentance.”
Now, if one who has done all that God requires is but an “unprofitable servant”, where does that leave you and me who have come short of what God requires? Don’t you see it leaves us condemned and unrighteous before a Thrice Holy God? Dear readers, I am trying to convince you that there is no hope of self-salvation. There is no possibility of justifying yourself before God by you own obedience. Our righteousness will not fit us to stand before the Judge of all the earth Who will do right.
But thanks be to God! He has a Servant Who has done all that God requires for the justification of all who believe in Him. That is the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:11 tells us that this Servant shall justify many by His knowledge. Dear reader, look not to your righteousness for salvation. Look not to the righteousness of any other sinner for salvation. Look to the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Righteous Servant.