Friends, we’re currently in a blog series in which we’re taking a hard look at some of our wrong thinking when it comes to the gospel of Christ. In the first week of the series, I offered twelve faulty statements which rest on false assumptions, and since then we’ve been diving deeper into each one of the twelve. Today we’ll consider the final three. Each one in some measure exposes the fact that you and I tend to lean quickly on our own merits instead of on the merits of Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). So here goes.
I’m so glad that I was raised right, and that I was smart enough to choose Jesus. Whenever we start thinking like this, we can rest assured that we have forgotten what the Bible says about the insidious nature of sin. None of us was “smart enough” to choose Christ. Jesus Himself made this abundantly clear (John 6:44, 65). Because of Adam’s sin, and our own nature which we inherited from our first parent, we are powerless even to understand our need for salvation unless God opens our hearts to comprehend the truth. Theologians often label our unregenerate spiritual condition “total depravity.” That term doesn’t imply that we’re as bad as we possibly could be, but it means that no dimension of our lives is unstained by sin. Regarding our family of origin, we may have been blessed with a wonderful mom and dad, but no parent can accomplish what only the Holy Spirit can do.
If I lack humility, I know several ways in which I can work on that. This one’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it also demonstrates our all-too-natural propensity toward pride. Pride is the precursor to all other sins. Pride is the soil in which all other sins grow and flourish. When it comes to killing our pride, our only hope is grace. When you and I fix our hearts on the sovereign grace of God in Jesus Christ, then and only then can we begin to see ourselves for who we really are (First Corinthians 4:7). It’s at the end of us where God begins to look wondrously beautiful in our eyes! That’s when the gospel of Jesus becomes life-transforming good news! Here’s the bottom line: we can’t work ourselves out of pride any more than we can work ourselves into salvation.
After I do (or think) something terrible, I withdraw from God until I feel worthy again. Here’s the thing: were you and I ever “worthy”? Even the Roman centurion knew the answer to that one (Matthew 8:8). No! In fact one of the reasons why you and I tend to shy away from God when we’re feeling guilty over something is because we’ve subtly bought into the notion that we “deserve” to be in God’s presence only when we’re “living right.” Nothing could be further from the truth. You and I are privileged and invited to “draw near to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) only because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. We never have to earn what Jesus has already earned for us! Hallelujah!
I’m loving sharing this grace revival with you!