Man doesn’t want to admit how utterly helpless and worthless he is before God because of his pride. It’s this very pride that will send him to hell.
And prideful men will absolutely clench their teeth and go to hell. Do you know why they are not? Because men want to make God their debtor. Men want to be God. They want to put God in a position where He owes them something. And if they can work it out, and they can be good, then God owes it to them.
Oh, how often I see this. "O but I prayed. I prayed." I mean, it is, "I've done this." I have come across people that they are so angry that they have not gotten their way or their thing from God, after all the good they did, after all they've served Him, after all they've prayed to Him, after all they've done, and they've fasted, and they've given. They are like that older brother, are they not? "How come I don't get the fated calf? You've never killed anything for me." They want to put God in a place where He owes them something.
Listen to me. Here is the issue: It's man's pride that lies right in the way of submitting to the righteousness of God. Do you know why it is? Because men are so determined to believe that they are good, that they will go to hell for it. They are so determined to believe they are good, and God owes them something. They are so determined to believe grandpa and grandma were good people and they deserve to be in heaven. They are so determined to believe that they deserve heaven; that they at heart are good people. And you know what the gospel does? Do you know what Christ does? Do you know why they hated Christ? Because He told them the truth. And for anybody to submit to the righteousness of God, they've got to humble themselves, and they've got to come face-to-face with the fact that they are not righteous, they are not good people.
The proud sons of Adam must accept that righteousness alone comes from God. And in order to do that, they have to admit that they don't have any righteousness of their own. They must admit that they are sinners, that they are wicked, that they are evil, that they are not good, they are not nice, they are not admirable, not honorable, not acceptable, not reputable, not valuable, not wonderful. Men only abandon their own righteousness when God breaks them, and they are brought face-to-face with the stark reality that they don't have anything to offer themselves acceptable before God on their own. And prideful men will absolutely clench their teeth and go to hell, holding to their own righteousness. That is the issue.
And I was just saying that, that sat wrong with some. Some of you are sitting there and you are saying, "I'm not that bad. I am not that wretched."
You ask people, "Are you evil?"
"No, I mean, I know I have sinned but I am not evil. You know, people like Adolf Hitler, they are evil."
"Are you wicked?"
"No, you know that's right there in the same category - evil people, wicked people. Those are the people that run around in their gutters and have their orgies."
Don't you understand what Scripture says? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is death. God has never thrown a good man into hell. The wages of sin is death. You say, "Ah, it's just a little lie." It's death.
You are wicked by nature; wicked, worthless, you are undesirable to God. You are simply fodder and fuel for the fire. And until you realize that, until you come face-to-face with that, the righteousness of Christ will mean nothing. It will have no value.
Most people in this world will not submit to this. But if you are wicked, if you want to escape your sin, if you're looking for an answer, if you're looking for hope, if you're looking for rescue, if you're looking for salvation, there it is. How does it get from Christ to me? By faith. You say, "How does that happen?" Because God said it would happen. And what God does is, the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ, He takes all that glorious merit of Christ and He lays it to your account. It's justification. It's the heart of our gospel. And you know what? We Gentiles are freely invited to come in. It's the heart of our gospel.