A student at Duke University said, “If God grades on the curve, I’ll make it.” Most people will accept the philosophy that all we need to do is our best, and then everything will be all right, or at least we will be able to just get by. This attitude shows an incredible optimism about man’s righteousness and an appalling ignorance of God’s infinite holiness. God does not grade on the curve. He has an absolute standard, Jesus Christ. Light destroys darkness. The character of God so blazes in its purity that it consumes all evil. In God’s presence, we would be consumed because of the corruption in our lives. The perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ is the only basis on which we can come into fellowship with the living God. Morality is not the answer. From the bum on skid row, to the Joe College type, to the tremendously moral person, all human effort is futile. No one could swim the entire distance to Hawaii. All would drown. No swimming instructions would help. We need someone to take us to Hawaii. This is where Christ comes in.
If you can live a life that is absolutely perfect, you can make it to heaven on your own steam. But no one has ever succeeded at that, nor will anyone ever succeed. All the other religions of the world are essentially sets of swimming instructions, suggested codes of ethics for a wonderful pattern of life. But man’s basic problem is not failing to know how to live; it is lacking the power to live as one ought. The good news is that Jesus Christ, who invaded human history, does for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. Through Him we may be reconciled to God, we are given His righteousness, and we are enabled to have fellowship with Him in His very presence.