November 20, 2012

"I'm Good!"

Acts 16:16-34

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
—Acts 16:30


“I’m good.” We use this expression a lot these days.

I trip over a curb. Someone asks if I need help. “No, thanks,” I reply, limping away; “I’m good.” I may be a little bruised, but I’m OK enough to walk and keep going.

The jailer in today’s story was in a real dilemma. An earth-quake had set his prisoners free, and he knew that it would be his life or theirs. (In those days, jailers were usually killed if their prisoners escaped.) This was certainly not an “I’m good” moment. So he asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?”

Was this a theology question—now? In this crisis, was the jailer calling a “time-out” to talk about faith? Though he was probably more concerned about avoiding a death sentence, the jailer heard from Paul and Silas about the Lord Jesus—and he believed.

Something happens when you discover that you can’t make your life “good.” Whether in a jailer’s crisis or in slow motion over time, it eventually brings a total surrender to the One who really can make things good.

There will come a day when every stumble I’ve ever made will be available for public display. I wonder how long that list will be. But just when everyone looks, Someone else will hold up nail-scarred hands on my behalf—and he’ll say, “It’s OK; he’s good.”

Lord, we’re not good. But you are. Your nail-scarred hands and death on the cross finished the work needed for our salvation. Thank you! Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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