January 30, 2018

How Good Is Good Enough? 

Romans 2:12–14

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God's Judgment and the Law

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

How Good Is Good Enough? 

Bio | Joy Kupp

Carrying the name Joy hasn't always been easy. For years, I wore myself out trying to be a shining example of joy. Looking back, I now see that more often than not I was striving to "appear" joyful. Only when God allowed me to come to the end of my performance-based attempts could I experience true joy as a result of the overflowing fruit of the Spirit. My husband, Carlton, and I are joyful in this season of life. By God's grace alone, we've been married 37 years. Our son, Samuel, hangs out at Watermark, too. We are beyond blessed! Joyful.

Central Truth

Salvation cannot be attained by keeping the law. Besides, it's impossible. Yet, all will be judged one day. True righteousness comes through "right standing" before God through trust in Jesus Christ's redeeming work on the cross.

Devotional | Romans 2:12–14

Law keeper. Law breaker. Which is better?

Surely keeping the law is better, right? The last ticket I received for being in an intersection a little too long seemed to prove that.

Yet in our relationship with...

Law keeper. Law breaker. Which is better?

Surely keeping the law is better, right? The last ticket I received for being in an intersection a little too long seemed to prove that.

Yet in our relationship with God, the answer is NEITHER. In these verses, Paul was telling those in Rome that both law breakers and law keepers were in big trouble. In fact, they weren't just in trouble, they were perishing. Dying. Facing judgment. 

At first glance, we could read words like "require" and "righteous" and think that following the rules (keeping the law) might earn us God's favor. Have you attempted to meet those perceived requirements only to reach the point of wondering, "How good is good enough?" 

If so, you are in good company. Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in 1517, surely worked hard to produce good works. However, when he read the Book of Romans, Luther came to the startling realization that he could never be good enough. Are you like Luther, attempting to win God's acceptance based on your actions?  

Or perhaps you are on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you haven't tried to be the best of the best. Maybe you believe you are the worst of the worst. Just as we asked, "How good is good enough," now we ask, "How bad is too bad?" Do you think you are beyond God's reach because you've broken too many of God's commandments? You're not. The hardworking perfection seeker isn't accepted by God based on stellar performance. Neither is the most notorious sinner too far beyond the reach of God's grace. Your sin is not greater than God's grace. Your performance, whether sparkling or tarnished, does not determine your destiny.  

All will be judged no matter what they've done—good or bad. God's standard is truth. The only favoritism God shows is to those who place their trust on Christ's performance on the cross.

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Discussion Questions

1. What do your actions reveal about your heart attitude toward God? 

2. What have you done that you think might just be too much for God's grace to cover? Will you ask Him to pour out His grace on that today?

3. How are you digging deeper into God's truth? See www.watermark.org for many great options.


23 Comments available

Kathy Boop over 3 years ago

Beautifully written Joy, I have missed seeing your pretty face and heart!!

Andi Guevara over 3 years ago

Going through ReGen, recently finishing inventory and Step 5 confessing my sin, God has been so gracious to show me that all my sin is truly covered by the blood of Christ. No matter how “bad” I think my inventory is I’ve been redeemed and rescued.

Claudia Cearley over 3 years ago

Jo, your devotional was right on! May I have your permission to use the last few sentences begining “The hardworking perfection seeker…”? You eloquently yet clearly explained the way to Jesus.

Sue Bohlin over 3 years ago

Hey Joy! Super devo that comes from a heart that truly, deeply believes the truth you write about!

I appreciate these verses because they show that God judges us on the basis of light we’ve received rather than light we haven’t received. Either way, we are without excuse. All of us.

Elizabeth Lariscy over 3 years ago

Joy, God bless you. Thank you for your devotional today. I loved question #2. It challenged me to face something and ask for God’s grace. Doing this and focusing on the central truth makes me feel so joyful and so blessed for my loving relationship with my perfect Savior. Thank you again.

greg jones over 3 years ago

Great devotional today. Great questions. Question #1 That answer can change from day to day. My overall attitude about God is made up of a combination of attitudes. Different actions will reflect different attitudes. That thought made me read the question, is my attitude toward God static or dynamic? Is there a attitude toward God I do not possess and I’m not aware of? Do my actions reveal new things about God to me, or do they just always affirm a unchanging overall attitude about God? I desire right new attitudes and I desire right new actions. Hopefully that’s God’s attitude toward me.

Lisa Olsen over 3 years ago

(part 2) God’s grace. I mistakenly thought that God was like (just a bigger and better version) of the two earthly dads I have who have hurt me tremendously. But I am so thankful to be learning the truth!!! And that truth is GREAT NEWS!!

Lisa Olsen over 3 years ago

Thank you, Joy! I can imagine how much pressure it would be to feel like you have to live up to your name all of the time. Awesome devo! This is GREAT NEWS, right?! As someone who is just now grasping the truth that we are not required…not even able…to gain salvation through works. But oh how I have tried…and when i would fail, as I did often, I would live in fear that God would abandon me. I didn’t understand the Gospel really, because I didn’t understand God

Alma Barber over 3 years ago

AHHHHH…(that’s the sound of relief-when you realize that the pressure is OFF.) Nothing I have ever done, could make God love me less than He does right now. And nothing I could ever do, will cause Him to love me more! What a relief! I don’t have to perform or seek His approval. And I don’t have to live in torment and shame because of my past. The law tells us we are transgressors. But if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). That makes us righteous. We are no longer lawbreakers. We are under the law of love now …through the blood of Jesus. Thank God! We died with Christ so that we can live with Him! ( Romans 6:8) now that’s some good news right there!

Rita Satagaj over 3 years ago

what a great devo you’ve presented to us this morning Joy. Thank you! “Your performance, whether sparkling or tarnished, does not determine your destiny.” I absolutely love this! I am a “recovering” perfectionist. It is not fun to be a perfectionist because you often feel as though you must do things yourself in order for them to get done correctly. I love that I have learned, with God’s grace, that things do not have to be perfect. I am not on this earth to make things look good, I am here to spread the love of God. I am so thankful, as you put it, “the only favoritism God shows is to those who place their trust on Christ’s performance on the cross.” James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Brandi Sosnowski over 3 years ago

Thank you, Joy! I can so relate to your bio. Thanks for the great reminder about Christ’s performance on the cross for me. And that both the good and the bad are in trouble without Him!

Denise Hubbard over 3 years ago

Thank you, Joy, for making these verses crystal clear. “Your sin is not greater than God’s grace” should be on every billboard in every city in the US! So many people are conv

John Hill over 3 years ago

Nice job with the devo Joy! I especially like your summary comments… Your sin is not greater than God’s grace. Your performance…does not determine your destiny.

Arch Tignor over 3 years ago

Oh wretched man that I am! How can I please God with this body of sin? This inner struggle is so real. Works, faith, works, faith? I thank God through Jesus Christ I can let go absolutely and know I’m saved completely!

Michael Scaman over 3 years ago

There’s a melody and countermelody going on here.

First tune - the world with and without the law in their own nature stands condemned before God facing a crisis of judgement. They may try different ways to pull themselves up by their bootstraps but will not pull themselves up to heaven. First tune played strong and firm.

Second tune, an inward gospel transformation in some men working peace and living the spirit of the law. They are not earning salvation but are changed by and working out a new life received. These are ‘the doers of the law’ by the spirit who seek to please God not man. This paves the way for a changed life and changed nature in later chapters. This tune is played more lightly for now but will get stronger.

Trey Collins over 3 years ago

Thanks for the devo Joy! The grace and justice of God is perfect and trustworthy, as is His love for us and sacrifice to see us saved. Praying for us all to respond well to that this morning!

Michael Spain over 3 years ago

Thank you for the beautiful devotional, sweet Joy. You and Carlton are treasures to our Watermark family and I’m so thankful for your faithfulness.

Hope Harris over 3 years ago

@TedMattos, the new edit feature requires you post first and then you can edit into new paragraphs. Rumor has it new features are coming

Ted Mattos over 3 years ago

Still getting used to this new format. I hit return to make a new paragraph. Oops! LOL There is nothing we can do to lose God’s love, and there is nothing we can do to earn His love. It’s perfect.

Ted Mattos over 3 years ago

Thank you for this devotional today, Joy.

Hope Harris over 3 years ago

Joy, great closing thoughts “The only favoritism God shows is to those who place their trust on Christ performance on the cross.” BAM! Our memory verse Romans 5:1; helps me understand that we are only justified by our faith in Christ.

Wuest, adds that “by His (Messiah’s) death, (Jesus) satisfied the just demands of the law which we broke, thus making it possible for a righteous and holy God to bestow mercy upon a believing sinner and do so without violating His justice. Our Lord thus bound together again the believing sinner and God, thus making peace. There is therefore a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing for the sinner who places his faith in the Savior. The law of God has nothing against him, and he can look up into the Father’s face unafraid and unashamed. This is justifying peace.”

Lindsey Driscoll over 3 years ago

Joy, what incredible words you share today! “Your sin is not greater than God’s grace. Your performance, whether sparkling or tarnished, does not determine your destiny.“ That is good news for 2:12 tells us that we deserve to perish and be judged for our sin just like the Jews with the law, and Gentiles without the law. Romans 5:8 BUT GOD demonstrated his love by sending Christ to die, in the midst of our sin.

Hugh Stephenson over 3 years ago

I have bad news and good news.

First the bad news. No one gets out alive.

Now the good news. We know what right actions and belief are because God put them in our physis (nature, v14).

My dictionary has physis as “natural production” or “native disposition”.

As King Solomon says, “God puts eternity in our heart”, (Eccl 3:11). God made me for relationship with Him. I know when I am off track. I know that I need Him above all. I know that devotion to anything other than Him is just a coping mechanism.

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