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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Being Nice Isn't Good Enough"

May 27, 2015

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For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness." 1 Corinthians 3:19

Did you ever run into a person who said, "I'm not worried about Judgment Day. I try to be a good person. That's really all the Lord can expect of me"?

If so, I hope you give them a copy of this devotion about Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca.

Alfonseca also tries to be a very good man. As a very good man, he went to TowneBank in Virginia Beach. Videotaping his transaction, as a good man, he handed the teller a note -- a note which ended with a smiley face. As a very good man, when he was finished, he cordially thanked the teller and posted his video on Instagram. As a very good man, he thought the day had gone extremely well.

The police disagreed. The police disagreed so much they actually arrested and jailed Alfonseca, who was in possession of a gym bag full of money.

Accused with bank robbery, Alfonseca objected. He said, "I went and I gave a note and I asked actually politely. A robbery is demanding, going and demanding something and taking the money or whatever like that. I didn't do that."

That's true. His note read, "I need 150,000 bands (that is, dollars) right NOW!! Please."

Alfonseca continued talking to the teller: "Police take three to four minutes to get here. I would appreciate it if you ring the alarm a minute after I am gone ...." As final proof of his innocence, he protests, "If it was a robbery, I don't think I would videotape it, post the picture of the letter, and do that all to come to jail."

You see, Alfonseca is a very, good man, who had done his best to be as nice and polite as possible.

Now let me ask, if you were a judge at Alfonseca's trial, if you saw his nice note and saw his pleasant demeanor and his video of the incident, would you let him off?

Unless I miss my guess, you would say, "Dominyk, you are a very nice bank robber, but you are still a bank robber, and niceness doesn't make a lot of difference. You are going to be sentenced to jail because you have -- very nicely -- broken the law."

It is no different with the Lord. A sinner who tries very hard to lead a good life is still a sinner and as a sinner, he will be punished. Make that as sinners you and I, along with the rest of humanity, will be punished.

This explains why we need Jesus, God's Son. His perfect Son became our perfect Savior. For us Jesus fulfilled the Law, and for us He resisted temptations. With His resurrection He defeated death and made it so all who believe on Him will be saved. His perfection was given to us.

This means when Judgment Day comes for us, the Lord is not going to pronounce a verdict upon a sinner who tried to be good, He's going to welcome into heaven a forgiven soul.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks my salvation is based upon Jesus' perfection and not my pitiful attempts at being good. May everyone see the wonders of His sacrifice. In His Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 20-22    John 10:1-21

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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