“…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17)
The Bible is boldly uncompromising in declaring what it is that pleases God: absolute perfection. Thus, all that God thinks, plans and executes is pleasing to Him, since He is of “truth and without iniquity,” “just and right,” and His works – “perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4). God does all His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10): His work in creating the universe and all that is therein, electing those whom He would save, justifying the elect in Christ, and demanding penalty for every last sin on the Day of Judgment, to name a few.
That God is so High and Lofty, that His name is even “Holy” (Isaiah 57:15), renders any and all attempts of fallen, corrupt, filthy man to please God completely unacceptable, unpleasing in His sight. Indeed, of His absolute standards all men “come short,” for “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). In one sweeping statement, God categorizes mankind as an “unclean thing”; and all man-wrought, man-invented forms of holiness “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Yes, the Bible states that God hates “all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5b).
This indictment is especially alarming for those who name His name (Matthew 7:21), who believe they are His children because they have done a work they believe to be good: “accepting Christ,” belonging to a church, being water baptized, regularly participating in the Lord’s Supper, or any such like. No matter how one views himself, God sees the inward part of man (Hebrews 4:12, 13). When one’s inner man, the soul, is “full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (cf. Matthew 23:23-39) – i.e., unregenerate – is it any wonder that God “delightest not” (Psalm 51:16) in any of the person’s outward form of worship (cf. Amos 5:21-23)?
The solution to the dilemma lies with the Savior Christ Jesus, the Lamb offered “without sin” (Hebrews 4:5), Who declared, “I do always those things that please Him” (John. 8:29). Unsaved man “cannot please God” (Romans 8:8), but if anyone is in the Lord Jesus, having been saved by His work, then he can be assured that he is of those in whom God takes eternal pleasure (I Chr. 29:17; Hebrews 11:5).