From our definition above we see that being worth simply means being deserving. When we get an A on a paper in school, our work proves that we were deserving or worthy of that grade. In the same manner, if we fail a test, we can be worthy of a poor grade, as well. With day to day life experiences, most of us long to be found worthy - we want people to see that we deserve praise, kindness or even just plain old respect. So we work hard, maybe even extra hard, to get that attention and credit that we long for.
When it comes to salvation, the gospel is kind of a blow to our ego, wouldn't you say? The gospel tells us that our efforts are in vain - that no matter how hard or how long we work at proving to God that we deserve His acceptance and love, we are unworthy. This is not a judgment call; it's reality. God is holy; we are unworthy and undeserving. We cannot earn His attention or respect, our efforts are not good enough and they merit no recognition. Frustrating, right? But at the heart of good works for salvation is the exact reason we are not worthy - because our efforts in salvation are completely selfish. We're working hard to look good. We're working hard to prove that we have value. It's all about us.
The good news is that Jesus is totally worthy. Everything about Him oozes worth. He is humble, responsible, respectful, truthful, honest, patient, sacrificial and loving. He honored His Father with a sinless life and willingly went to the cross to cover the debt of people who are completely unworthy. Because He is worthy, because He is deserving, He has been rewarded by the Father with children - image bearers whose eternity laid in the balance of His decision to die. And now, He works to draw His children to Himself, loving them patiently, molding them masterfully, calling them to good works because His worthiness covers their sin.
I have even more good news: in the context of a restored relationship with God, you absolutely have the ability to be worthy. In fact, you're commanded to be. In Ephesian 4 it says, "...walk in a manner worthy of your calling..." The time to put the effort in is now. You have a high, high calling:
- You are an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)
- You are a child of the King (I John 3:1)
- You are to walk in good works that God has prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10)
- You are to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8)
- We are to love... (John 15:17)
- ...even our enemies (Luke 6:27)
- We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
- We are to become like Christ everyday in all we do (Romans 8:29)