by Pastor Heiden Ratner

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6


Imagine a young boy coming to his parents after receiving his report card from school. He hesitates at first, knowing there are certain subjects he didn’t perform well in. Finally, he sheepishly hands the paper to his dad, hoping to get his approval still. As the dad stares down at the percentages and grade letters, he slowly shakes his head in disappointment. He looks at the son and says, “I’m not pleased with this.” After giving the son back the paper, he walks away. (Depressing. I know.)

I believe too often; this is how we view our relationship with God. We see him as the disappointed father who we can seem to never please. It’s our report card filled with C’s and D’s in the subjects of “Bible Reading” and “Prayer,” not to mention the secret sins we don’t want to discuss. We feel the letdown. It’s almost as if there’s a Bible verse ringing in our heads that says, “And without good works, it is impossible to please God.” 

Now, stop right there. Let me pause this depressing parable to interject some good news. Take a moment to revisit the above Scripture (Hebrews 11:6) that anchors this devotional. Did you spot the difference? It doesn’t read, “Without good works, it’s impossible to please God,” instead it says, “without faith.” This reminder teaches that Christianity is not about what we do for God to earn his favor, but rather our faith in what He has already done for us. We don’t attach our faith (confidence and surety) to our good or bad deeds but to His sinless life, sacrificial death, and triumphal resurrection. It’s for this reason Paul writes these stunning words to the Ephesians: 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV) 

If we’re going to boast about anything, let it be that God is pleased with us by our faith in His Son. Not because of our spiritual report card. This good news becomes the great motivator to walk out our faith in every area of our lives.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller


Lord, thank You today that by faith in Jesus I’m enough. Thank You that He lived the sinless life I couldn’t, died for my sins, rose from the grave, and is now cheering me on at Your right hand. I know I can never do enough to earn this love and grace. I don’t have enough to repay it. Thank You that you don’t ask me to, rather to receive it by faith. When my heart drifts from this reality, help me to remember Your good news, and draw back to Your great grace. Today, I walk by faith. In Jesus’ name, amen! 

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