Good For Nothing
“Good for nothing.” That phrase can rightly make you shudder. I’ve heard it used as a crushing personal insult. I’ve seen it in action when a person’s efforts aren’t appreciated. It is deflating and defeating.
Imagine how much worse it would be in a spiritual context. If you stood before God on Judgment Day and heard that all of your efforts were good for nothing, it wouldn’t just hurt your feelings; it would crush your soul. You would spend eternity apart from God’s love, feeling worthless and, well, good for nothing.
Burdened By Works
Yet that is the pain our Mormon friends are facing. Mormons are taught: “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). This is further explained: “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him” (True to the Faith, p.77).
The first tragedy is what this message communicates to Mormons. It leads them to continually question where they stand with God. “Have I really done all that I can do?” “Do I have his grace?” This destructive teaching causes Mormons to feel unworthy and good for nothing.
The second tragedy is what this communicates to God. A works + grace system tells Jesus he didn’t do enough. “Thanks, but I need to do my part first.” It’s insulting Jesus as good for nothing and makes a mockery of his saving work.
Yet perhaps the ultimate tragedy is how horrific those words will ring true! It’s either all him or nothing. If someone tries to share the spotlight with God they will find themselves on the stage all alone. Then the saving work he accomplished for them will have truly been good for nothing.
Transformed By Grace
The early Christians were tempted to rely on themselves. Paul warned them: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).
Our best efforts would never be enough, so he came to accomplish what we couldn’t. We contributed sin; he became the solution. He took our nothingness so that we might have everything. Christians stand under the banner, “It is finished!”
That message of grace transforms us. We don’t have to earn God’s love because we already have it. He doesn’t love us because of who we are but because of who he is. As God lives in us, we’re set free to finally do good for something.
How would you feel if someone was being attacked as good for nothing? My prayer is that you would race to their defense. I would hope you would protect and lift them up.
Will you do that for Mormons? They’re victimized by teachings which continually question their worth. They’re on a path that relies on their own good for nothing works. How is God calling you to help them discover they too are worth everything to him and they have everything in him?