I'm a good Baptist kid. I was president of my youth group and directed the drama ministry at my campus BSU. I've led small groups, completed any number of Lifeway studies (including Experiencing God & Masterlife), and served in any number of special mission projects. I've served on staff at 7 different churches. I've written Bible study materials and articles on youth ministry for Lifeway.I'm the SBC equivalent of Paul's "I have more" speech in Philippians 3.
And all of that is useless for getting God to love me one iota more. The Bible clearly teaches that:
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
And Paul concludes the aforementioned speech with:
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that whichis through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
Philippians 3:7-9 (NIV)
Powerless, still sinners, ungodly... the story of our lives. But the story doesn't end with the mess we've made - it is completed in the extravagant grace of God. All those good works can't make God love me more - but they are great ways for me to show God how much I love him. And they are not garbage - what Paul says is that he considers them rubbish in light of the righteousness of God.
Chew on that for a little while.