A “Go” or No Go” is a military term for those who have meet a set standard and are either fully qualified to perform their duties, or ready to progress to the next phase of the training process. Who determines whether or not one is a “Go” or No Go” is usually a subject matter expert who evaluates the prospect by a set standard. I had the opportunity this past weekend to evaluate Army soldier’s personnel records to see if they were qualified to deploy. The solider was required to submit a packet that supplied numerous papers with their information detailing their personal history. If they were missing any important information, forms, or any undocumented training they were then signed of as a “no go” and were required to locate the papers or get trained before they could progress.
Because of Christ the Christian lives a life completely opposite of this. We have all things in Christ. As our church grows and God adds to our numbers, many come bringing their “records” of achievement. Some come with years of church attendance, theological training, or service. But for the Christian who may be counting on these for God’s favor…it is a “no go.” This is self righteousness. In which according to scripture, we have no righteousness outside of Christ (Rom 3:10). If anyone had any bragging rights it was the apostle Paul. When he evaluated his credentials he declared,
“If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,  blameless.”
But when he divinely evaluated his righteousness against Christ’s by grace, he rightly declared,
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Before we can see and experience God’s grace for ourselves, we must first, empty our “accomplishment folders” and rely only on the person and work of Christ alone.
I was asked in one of my college classes to pick an Old Testament hero and make an attempt to identify with them in their life, ministry, or calling. This was somewhat difficult because when I read the Old Testament, I don’t look for myself, but for God, and how God is the same as He was then as He is today. But, because of this assignment and God’s grace we also see another unchanging attribute. That of mankind itself. So, yes I to a certain point can identify with all men. But one must see through the new spiritual bifocals of salvation. I believe that should be the way one should “see” it. It might surprise one to think that the bible itself even though written in a language that we can understand and available to all people, is only beneficial for those who have the mind of God Himself by His indwelling Spirit (1 Corth 2: 6-15). Who, allows us to see Him in a salvific and sanctifying way. Without His assistance we cannot come to know Him in a way that brings about the mind to conform and believe who He is. The unbeliever makes His god into his own image. Exchanging God’s rightful glory, into another image that scripture has not told us (Romans 1: 18-23). This is in essence what we see in the continued rejection of unbelievers. They do not believe or obey, the scripture. With that context, if I had to identify myself with anyone, I would choose Abram (whose name would be eventually changed to Abraham). Like Abram before the calling of God, was a product and descendant of Adam. Not just in the physical since, but in a fallen condition. Like Abram, I was a pagan living in a world that God created; seeing and enjoying His creation (which screams God’s glory and reminds all that God is real) yet not glorifying God. Abram was living in a temporary land and a worshiper of pagans like the rest of his family.
It was during this time that Abram was called. Abram wasn’t seeking God. God was seeking Abram. Some one who would be a Father to a covenant people who through God would show the world who He was. Abram would eventually leave everything behind and be completely dependent on God. Abram’s testimony of God grace is not so far different from mine. I too, was living in a certain place when God called my to believe him by faith. His call similar to mine, “Matt leave this world and live for me. Depend one me, trust in me…completely.” This call came to me not in a voice in the desert, but in a church building. The call was the gospel call to repent and believe. Believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Who by His life, death, and resurrection, earned my righteousness and died a penal subsitutionary death for my sin. All by His grace through faith. I wasn’t looking to be reconciled to God, God was reconciling me to Himself through His son and by the call from His Holy Spirit, through the message of the gospel. Abram was given a new name Abraham and justified (Gen 15:6) because of faith. I was given a new nature and a new relationship with God. Now called his friend, His child because of Jesus Christ. God has always saved a people through His son. Abraham was justified through faith in the coming Messiah, I am justified because of the Messiah’s past work. Abraham lives and communes with God face to face, this is where we both will be much closer to the same. When I die and stand before Christ, to enjoy God face to face. This I see, with the glasses provided by regeneration. The same pair that Abram wore in a desert so long ago.