For March 1, 2020
All of humanity is plagued by a sinful internal condition or Nature that influences how we think, speak, and act, such that even toddlers can defy their parents, teenagers can carry out brutal murders, and adults can perform unconscionable acts, leaving us to wonder how anyone could commit such atrocities.
Someone trying to live a “good life” might ask, “How can I be a sinner?” “I’m not like him or her or those other ‘bad’ people!” The answer to this question is simple: “When was the last time you lied?” “When was the last time you took something that did not belong to you?” “Have you gossiped about another person recently?” “Have your words or actions caused someone to lose a promotion or lose their job (so you could be hired instead)?
“Have you forgiven that person who wronged you?” “When have you expressed inappropriate, sexual feelings towards another person?” “How has your hate or ill-will ruined your relationship with another person? “How has envy or jealousy tarnished your relationships with others?” “Does your altruism tend to be self-centered—what’s best for me?”
Your sin(s) may or may not be listed here, but that does not excuse the fact that we are sinners not because of the sins we commit. We commit sin because of the Nature we’ve inherited from Adam and Eve, our ancestors that is always at work inside us.
We’ve lost fellowship with our holy God because He never fell from perfection; we did, and our Nature is highly offensive to Him.
I have worked with people who’ve completed their prison sentences, and I have often noticed a strong public resistance toward them upon their return to society. Perhaps our resistance is based upon our fear they will vandalize our property, steal from us, assault a friend or family member, or commit some other heinous act.
We are very particular about the people with whom we choose to associate. However for the same reasons, can we not expect our holy God to be choosy about those whom He associates? It should not surprise us that God has a “no riffraff” policy that remains in force today.
God gave us the Old Testament Law through Moses to understand sin and righteousness from His perspective, along with His promise of peace and prosperity. It also defines our proper worship, service, and love, and it remains applicable today, even as the Lord insists in Matthew 5:18 (KJV): “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.”
Achieving God’s righteousness should be simple, right? Just keep the Law. But our Nature makes this impossible because we worship other gods, create idols, irreverently use God’s name, break the Sabbath, disrespect our parents, commit murder, are sexually promiscuous, steal, lie, and covet. At best, the Law serves as a permanent reminder of how condemned we are—because we cannot keep it!
Yet to make matters worse, with all the technology, self-help, and other resources we have at our disposal, we can do nothing to correct our Nature. Daily we watch the tragic futility of those who seek remedies through wealth, sports notoriety, political power, corporate achievement, social status, academia, technology, and medicine. Our failures remind us that, although we are unfit for a glorious Heaven morally and spiritually, we are well suited for a tormenting Hell.
Our Nature is a repressive, internal, spiritual condition that we cannot fix with our own external, physical efforts. We cannot have fellowship with God until He gives us clean hands and pure hearts, as the Psalmist writes,
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation (Psalm 24:3–5).
Trying to compensate by doing good deeds is comparable to Adam and Eve using fig leaves to cover their shame and nakedness—it doesn’t work. When God confronted Adam and Eve about their sin, they resorted to hiding from God and blaming others and their circumstances. Much has not changed, since we tend to use these same tactics today to avoid accountability for our sinful behavior.
God could have solved our sin problem by programming us to obey Him like robots, but He wanted us to love him freely and surrender to Him willingly. God could have created loopholes and exemptions in His perfect Law to accommodate our sin problem, but then He would have made Himself less than holy by sacrificing His perfection for our imperfection.
God chose the most effective remedy instead. He became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ so that He could pay the price for our sin Himself and John writes in John 1:14 (KJV):
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus Christ heralded a New Testament age for all people everywhere. Now we can have our sins forgiven, experience a complete, internal, spiritual transformation, and we can have our need for an intimate, eternal fellowship with God satisfied as well.
This new period in history also revoked all claims of neutrality toward God. In John 8:24, Jesus warns that those who refuse to believe in Him will die in their sins. Either we can choose to receive His gift of abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven, or we can reject it and face an empty, unfulfilled life on earth along with a tormented eternity in Hell as a result.
We must make Jesus Christ our Personal Savior, because He is standing at the door of our hearts—knocking. He will not force His way upon us. He wants us to invite Him into our hearts and lives as Revelation 3:20 (NLT) teaches:
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
What a Wonderful Personal Savior!