Monday, August 26, 2013
This is one of our wedding photos. The man I just promised to stay with the rest of my life, in front of over 300 people, is telling me what I did wrong, when there is no possible way of rectifying the error without making it worse. I left my bouquet with my matron of honor.
So, what does that have to do with sinfulness? None of us want it pointed out that we are in error. We are good people. We have not committed felonies. Many of us have nothing more than minor misdemeanor traffic tickets (or perhaps we’ve been lucky enough not to have been caught even at that!) We give to good causes that help people. We do the things that determine who goes where in God’s kingdom”:
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:38-40 KJV)
We do lots of things the Bible tells us are good things, but we’re told we are full of sin and need to be cleansed. Which is it?
Problem is, we aren’t – can’t be – good enough. We have all sinned against God:
Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. (Deuteronomy 1:41a KJV)
In the Old Testament the sinfulness mentioned related to the Israelites. Paul tells us it covers all mankind:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)
It doesn’t go away by being good. It doesn’t go away by going to church. It doesn’t go away by anything but God’s grace – there is nothing we can do to earn His grace, only accept:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
A sweet, loving lady once asked me if I thought she was bad. No – but, I do think she is lost. I think that because she does not talk about loving or serving Jesus, nor any other deity. Religion has no place in her life. That doesn’t make her bad in any sense of the word, but it does indicate she has chosen to ignore God and His commandments; she has not accepted His gift of grace.
That’s not a judgment on my part. It is an observation based on evidence. It is not a condemnation on my part. It is recognition of someone just like me before I accepted His gift, by faith achieved through His word.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
Back to the picture above. It is hard to go before a group of people and admit we are not perfect. We’re frightened that they might know why. Perhaps they do. So does God, and He’s ready to wipe sin away. Not all the consequences, but all of the guilt as we turn from them. That’s what repent means, not only turning away from sin, but toward the fullness God offers. Why not?