Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do We Really Believe It?

It is easy to mouth words. We as Christians claim we are sinners saved by grace. But do we mean it? Do we really believe we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9), who could only be saved by Christ's paying the price for our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21)? Or do we really believe deep inside that we are good people, who knowing God has made maybe a little better? I do not speak this to condemn others, as if I were innocent. When I examine my own motives, I find that I must constantly fight the idea that I am not all that bad. But the question might be asked, is that not what I was back then? Now that I am Christian, surely I can put that behind me and claim to now be able to be acceptable to God through my good deeds. But what does the Scripture say? It says that nothing good dwells in me and that I fall short of the good I try to do (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:7-25; 8:8 ). (Many would say that the struggle in Romans 7 refers to the unbeliever or carnal Christian, but it is in the present tense and concludes in 7:25 with a statement that the struggle still exists.) We are told not to consider ourselves as having attained it, but to press on with Christ (Philippians 3:12-16; 1 John 1:8-10; Hebrews 12:1,2). We are told that apart from God we are not able to do anything and that it is only through His power working in our life that we can live for God (John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6; Ephesians 2:10). It is not that we are basically good people, as our society would teach us, but we are those destitute of our own goodness, who need God to forgive us (Romans 8:33,34; 3:24-26; Ephesians 1:7) and change us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29).

What is the result of this outlook on life? We will trust in God not only for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:8,9), but also for all of life (Psalms 127:1,2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Hebrews 11:6). I will be motivated to live for God, not to impress Him or to earn anything from Him, but out of love for Him for a salvation already received (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 5:13). Also, we will not be motivated to look down on other people because we regard them as sinners, but we will realize that we are sinners even as they are (Luke 7:36-50; 19:10; Matthew 9:11-13). The basis for all this is humility, and this comes from an honest assessment of who I am (Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-6; Luke 22:24-27). It is then that I can put my life in perspective. So the question remains, do we mean what we say?

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