Do I Really Deserve to Be Here?

  1. What Makes You Think You Belong Here?
  2. Am I Really Forgiven?
  3. Am I Really Contributing Anything?
  4. Do I Really Deserve to Be Here?

Out of all three questions we’ve been discussing these past few weeks, this is the easiest one to answer.


Of course you don’t deserve to be here.

But that’s the point, isn’t it?

We talked about this earlier. No one in the Church is perfect. No one here deserves to be here. The whole reason Jesus Christ had to die for us in the first place was because there was no way for any of us to deserve to be here.

But when we ask, “Do I really deserve to be here?” I think we’ve really got something else on our minds.

“Do I really deserve to be here?” is another way of asking, “What if I’m not supposed to be here?”

“Do I really deserve to be here?” is another way of asking, “What if God made a mistake in picking me? What if I can’t live up to what He expects from me?”

And that’s a very different question.

To believe that God made a mistake in calling you, you have to believe that God is capable of making mistakes.

Simple as that.

Either God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe—or He’s not. Either we can count on Him to always know the right thing to do—or we can’t. Either He messes up every now and then—or He doesn’t.

God doesn’t make mistakes.

The God who formed you in the womb and who knows your heart does not make mistakes.

Your calling was not a mistake.

It cannot be. Not if we believe the Bible. Not if we believe the God who inspired the Bible.

God called you to be here, to run this race, to be part of this holy, spiritual temple because He knows you can do it.

Not because you’re good enough—but because He is good enough.

Washed in the blood of the lamb

In Revelation 7, we see one of the visions God gave the apostle John about Christians in the end times: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them'” (Revelation 7:13-15).

The Christians who will ultimately serve before the throne of God, who will dwell with God—what makes their robes white? What makes them pure before God?

There’s incredible imagery here. These people have robes that need washed. They’re dirty. Stained. With what? With their sins. Their faults. The things that them not worthy of being here. The things that might make them feel like impostors.

They take those soiled, dirty robes, and they clean them in what? In the blood of the Lamb. The blood of Jesus Christ. And when those robes come back out, they are white. Pure.


Brethren—family—we forget this sometimes.

We know that God’s laws haven’t gone anywhere. We know He still has standards for us, commandments for us to follow. And we can see in mainstream Christianity how often the concept of grace is abused to mean that sin isn’t really a thing we have to worry about anymore. And sometimes we can push back against that so hard, we end up in a different ditch—the ditch that says, “I’m only good enough for God if I’m doing everything perfectly. I can only have those white robes if I am flawlessly living up to His standards.”


That’s not how it works.

The blood of the Lamb makes us clean.

Nothing else.

Not our works. Not our righteousness.

God expects us to do our part, He expects us to be doing our best to live according to His commandments, but Christ’s sacrifice is not some kind of do-over button that lets us hit reset and try again to be perfect enough to reach the Kingdom on our own, by ourselves.

The righteousness that justifies us

Paul really drills into this concept. We’re going to wade into some dense theological concepts here—because it’s Paul and that’s what Paul does—but this is really important stuff.

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

There’s a lot going on in just that one sentence, so let’s hit pause for just a second. Paul is saying that, through faith in Jesus Christ, all Christians have access to the righteousness of God.

That’s huge. Keep that in mind as we move forward. We’re coming up on a memory scripture now:

“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

—and sometimes we just stop there, but let’s keep going—

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

(Romans 3:21-26)

Paul does not write short sentences.

But—in a nutshell, here—because we’ve all sinned, because none of us deserve to be here, Jesus Christ became the perfect demonstration of God’s righteousness by becoming the sacrifice for us. When we accept that sacrifice, we are justified with God.

Justification is more than God saying, “Okay, I’ll give you a pass.”

Justification is God saying, “In My eyes, you are righteous before Me.”

Paul continues, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 7:27-28).

He also tells the Philippians that he wants to be found in Christ, “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

Yes, our faith should prompt us to be living the way God says to live. And yes, we must be committed to obedience. But no matter how well we do, no matter how many commandments we obey, no matter how perfectly we do the things God says to do, the Bible is clear:

God does not look at us and see our own righteousness, which is through the law. He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the righteousness He gave to us through His sacrifice.

The blood of the Lamb and faith in God is what gets us into the Kingdom, into the presence of God.

Nothing else.

Do you really deserve to be here?


But God wants you to be here.

Paul, “not worthy to be called an apostle”

So. We’ve looked at three questions that sit at the core of Christian impostor syndrome:

  1. Am I really forgiven?
  2. Am I really contributing anything?
  3. Do I really deserve to be here?

And let’s recap what we’ve learned, but in reverse:

Do you really deserve to be here? No. Absolutely not. But it’s impossible to deserve it, and pointless to try. You don’t have to be perfect to be here—you’re here because God wants you to be here.

Are you really contributing anything? The Bible tells us that God personally places us (and occasionally relocates us) where He wants us within His Church, that He has given us the gifts and talents we need to be useful where we are. Where you are and what you can do is not a mistake.

Are you really forgiven? God says that when we repent, our sins are as good as forgotten—that they stop being part of us, they stop being part of how God looks at us.

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul’s writings during this series. But now, let’s take a moment to look at the man himself.

Before God opened his eyes to the truth, the Bible says that Paul made havoc of the Church (Acts 8:3). That he was breathing threats and murder against it (Acts 9:1). That he was dragging people off to prison (Acts 8:3). That he was determined to persecute this new sect of Judaism to the death (Galatians 1:13).

God had a plan for Paul—but Paul had a lot of opportunities to wonder what God was thinking. A lot of opportunities to feel like an impostor. He told the Corinthians that he was the least of the apostles, that he wasn’t even worthy to be called an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:9).

But let’s look at some of Paul’s final words to Timothy. In what we believe to be Paul’s final letter in the Bible, shortly before his death, Paul tells Timothy:

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

(2 Timothy 4:6-8)

There is confidence in those words.

Paul, who thought of himself as the least apostle, the one not worthy to be called an apostle, had no doubts about what was waiting for him. He didn’t tell Timothy, “If I make it, there’s a crown waiting for me.” He didn’t say, “I sure hope I finished the race, but we’ll see.”

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And the crown that Paul was looking forward to, he said that it was promised to all who have loved God’s appearing.

That is you.

That is me.

Look, any of us can choose to walk away from this way of life. We can choose to harden ourselves against God. We can choose to willfully disobey His instructions and cut ourselves off from Him. But that fear of not belonging, of not being as good as everyone else, of being an impostor and a fraud—that’s not what God wants for us.

Family—you belong here.

Until next time,

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