In The End, It Doesn’t Even Matter
I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.
I had to fall, to lose it all, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter.
This famous refrain from the popular 2000 hit In the End by Linkin Park has a profound truth to it. Whether the writers intended it or not, I do not know.
It is very common for people to re-evaluate their lives at milestones and seek to improve their choices, lifestyle, or situations. This is why people make New Year’s resolutions, start Bible reading plans, and do some pretty life-changing things after they reach a certain age or a certain point in life.
However, resolutions, vows, promises, disciplines or any such thing cannot save us. Simply trying hard, or resolving to do better cannot, and will not save. The Bible is clear on this point. Consider these verses:
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isa 64:6).
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:4-5).
[B]ut share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Tim 1:8-9).
I’m sure if you’ve been around Christian circles, you’ve undoubtedly heard these verses before.
Or maybe you never have. Maybe if you’re reading this, you have tried really hard. You’ve been a generally good person, you’re not unkind to people, you try not to wrong others and you try your best to be the best person you can be. While those are amazing things and everyone should aspire to not wrong others, we must understand that we are held to a standard that is greater than just being good. We are required to be perfect. And no one on earth can make the claim that they are perfect.
The God who created this universe and us, will one day ask for us to give an account for our lives (Rom 14:12). And there will be one of two responses. We will either trust in our own good deeds or rest on the deeds of one who was perfect. One who lived a perfectly righteous life, who died for every sin that we ever have and ever will commit and one who endured the punishment for it, and the one who rose from the dead, conquering sin and death.
He is Jesus!
The message of the gospel is simple and it is great news: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
What do we do? How can we rest on this perfect righteousness? John Piper describes it this way: “You don’t become a Christian by keeping the rules. You become a Christian by despairing of your own righteousness, and throwing yourself like a helpless person on Christ for his righteousness.” We throw ourselves at the mercy of God confessing that we have not lived as we ought to and we cannot save ourselves from the record of sin that stands against us.
Where will you stand? Contrast In the End with this:
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Come to the cross where none of your works, good or bad can save you, but where we find an eternal hope where the perfect work of Jesus saves and produces in us good works through his righteousness for the glory of God!