“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” ~ 1 Tim.1:15
The Cross of Christ teaches three great truths about myself: I am radically broken, I am radically loved and I am radically called.
There are people who have been serving the Lord a long time and after while if they’re not careful, they may be tempted to forget that they are radically broken. They look in the mirror and they say, “You know what, I’m not half-bad. I’m a pretty good person. I’m not nearly as bad as so-and-so. Yep, you and me God, we’re a good team.”
If that’s you, then come back to the Cross, and think deeply about what it’s telling you. That you are radically broken and sinful.
It’s interesting how the further along Paul went in his Christian life, the more aware he became of the full depth of his sin, and the full depth of his need for Christ, even as he was growing in holiness. He’d say things like, “I am the chief of sinners.” Or “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Or “We have this treasure in earthen vessels [jars of clay].” We’re all crack pots!
But for argument’s sake, let’s say that you truly are a better person than most. That your life is more well-ordered than others. In terms of mere quantity, let’s say you sin less than those without the Lord. You’re a good neighbor and a decent human being. Does that mean your heart is not as sinful as someone else?
Sorry. Here’s a truth-check for you my friend. Your spiritual heart is just as sinful, diseased and corruptible as any other human being’s. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt.” That goes for your heart too. The only difference, between you and the unbeliever, is that you are a recipient of the amazing grace of God.
The further along Paul went in his Christian life, the more aware he became of the full depth of his sin, and the full depth of his need for Christ, even as he was growing in holiness.
Did you have godly parents? That was God’s grace to you, that they provided discipline, teaching and encouragement to help keep your sinful heart in check.
Did your parents stay together in marriage? If so, what a gift that was. Your sinful heart wasn’t agitated with the same fear and agony that besieges the heart of children whose parents divorce.
Did you go to church when you were young? Did you grow up hearing those wonderful Bible stories over and over again, memorizing those wonderful verses, singing those wonderful songs? That was God’s grace to you, helping your faith to grow, keeping your sinful heart in check.
Did you grow up in a stable community led by a decent government with a good economy and good schools? We’re you free from worrying about rioting in the streets, bombs in the air, joblessness, and lawlessness. That was God’s grace to you, keeping your sinful heart from expressing itself in a thousand ugly ways.
Christian, if these have been your blessings, don’t let your head get big. It’s not because you’re so good that you are where you are today. It’s because God is so good. Whether God keeps you from evil or delivers you out of evil is no difference – it is his grace bringing you to freedom.
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