Do you know how to impress someone? On the first day of school, you might put on a nice, new outfit and stay on your best behavior to impress your new teacher and classmates. You might try to impress your relatives by showing them your report cards, trophies, and artwork.
Many people in Jesus’ time wanted to know how to impress God. Many people still wonder about this today! Jesus’ answer is very surprising. You can’t impress God! No matter how smart, talented, rich, or interesting you are, you won’t impress God. You can’t even impress God by doing good things and following His rules!
The truth is that no one can follow God’s Law perfectly. We are all poor, miserable sinners. When we do a few good things (or even many good things), it doesn’t matter because we are still sinful. God says that our good works are like filthy rags! They won’t impress God, and they won’t earn us salvation.
Jesus came to earth, followed all of God’s Law perfectly, died on the cross, and rose again to forgive our sins. We can’t earn our salvation on our own, so Jesus earned it for us. Since we know we are forgiven, we are free to follow God’s Law and do good works! The Holy Spirit gives us thankful hearts that are excited to do good works. It won’t make God love us any more, but it’s a great way to thank and praise Him for saving us.