What do people mean when they say, “their best”?
“I did my best to make it on time.”
“I did my best to get good grades.”
“I do my best to be a good person.”
Normally, this functions as hyperbole or socially acceptable exaggeration. It is often feel-good language for moral failure. When pressed, people usually admit that they could have done better. But if one could have done better, then they didn’t do their actual best. “Best” often functions as a catchphrase for, “I could have done better, but I, uh, at least tried.”
This kind of ambiguity or “semantic range” or exaggeration or hyperbole has no place in a clear discussion on grace, faith, works, and forgiveness. It is arrogant to stand before a holy God and tell him, “I did my best.” No, you didn’t, you cosmic criminal. Stop lying to yourself, and stop lying to God.
If doing our real best is the precondition for forgiveness or eternal life, then we’re all doomed.
The only one who morally did his real best was Jesus.
Stop trusting the false god who justifies those who do their “best” and start trusting the God who justifies the ungodly by faith (Romans 4:4-8).