Proverbs 12:2

A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.

This proverb seems to make the case that we do earn favor from the Lord, that he will accept us into heaven according to our goodness. Those who are good obtain favor; those who are bad lose out.

That last sentence is actually true. God does not receive the unrighteous into heaven. The problem is that no one is good. “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). And as Jesus said, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). Every person then must somehow be made good for his deeds to be truly good and thus obtain God’s saving favor.

Thanks be to God for sending the one Good Man, who perfectly fulfilled the law and obtained favor from the Lord that he might save his people. He has given to us his righteousness that we might be “good” before God and thus obtain his favor. Give thanks to God today for the Good Son of Man who has made you good before God. All the more determine to live in such a way, not to win, but to show your delight in God’s favor.

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