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Have You Been Good?

by Danny Boggs

This month, child after child will have to answer the big question while perched on a red-clad knee at the mall.  The thought will make some of them squirm.  Others will gleefully welcome the opportunity to declare a record of good behavior.  To them, it is the key to everything turning out just right on December 25.

What about you?  Have you been good?  Most people think that living a good life is the key to everything turning out just right when this life is over. 

Cornelius was a good man, a very good man.  You can read about him in Acts 10 and 11.  How good was he?  He was worthy to rise to the rank of centurion in the Roman army.  He was devout.  He had a healthy respect for God.  He led his family toward God.  He was generous.  He prayed continually.  He had a stellar reputation.

Cornelius was visited by an angel, and that angel told him that his prayers had risen as a memorial before God.  And yet, the angel told him that Peter would bring him “a message by which you will be saved” (Acts 11:14).  Saved?!  From what?

No matter how good we are, we are not good enough.  The good things were true, but the bad things about Cornelius were left unspoken.  We all sin, deserve lasting death, and can receive eternal life only as a gift from God through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Peter taught good people and bad people alike to have faith in Christ, to repent of their sins, and to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38, 10:48).  The big question is really, “Have you received the gift?”