Jesus has entrusted us with a critical rescue mission where eternal destinies hang in the balance. Most of us realize we let Jesus down. Our lack of faithfulness reflects our lack of love.
My purpose isn’t to immerse us in guilt — that’s self focused; but to help us see how much we’ve been forgiven — that’s Christ focused. As we saw last issue, Jesus correlates love for Him with the awareness of being forgiven. Therefore, to deepen our love for Him, we must understand the depth of His forgiveness for us.
Our humanistic culture believes we’re good by nature. But if we’re good, we don’t need a Savior. That’s the lie of humanism. God, on the other hand, wants to share His good nature with us and does this when His Spirit dwells in us. It’s important to remember that the goodness comes from Him, not us. Denying our sinful nature directly contradicts Jesus’ words that only God is good (Luke 18:19).
Some may speculate that Jesus meant humans are mostly good and only God is perfect. Ephesians 2:3 makes it clear: We are “by nature children of wrath.” Jesus didn’t rescue us from slight imperfections but from sin and death. He is our Savior.
God created physical laws to rule the universe. These are laws of force; we’re forced to obey the laws of physics. God also created spiritual laws that require respect for God and for humans created in His image. These are laws of liberty; we have free will. We have the ability to respond, and with that comes responsibility. The penalty for violating God’s law, for disrespecting God or others, is death.
We agree that God’s law is good. In a perfect world, we respect others and they respect us. But we live in a fallen world. What happens when someone disrespects us? God’s law requires us to respect others, period. Yet an innate sense of justice drives us to respond to unkindness with unkindness. We see it as justice, but it’s revenge; it’s evil. By rewarding evil with evil, we perpetuate evil.
When we return evil for evil, we don’t feel guilty; we feel vindicated. That’s because this behavior is natural for us. If others break the rules, we feel justified in breaking them too. In violating God’s law, we become a law unto ourselves. We become our own gods. Do you see why we are by nature objects of wrath? The penalty for our disrespect for God and others is death. And Jesus took that penalty upon Himself on the cross.
Thankfully, Ephesians 2:4-7 says:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, ,that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
From children of wrath to children of glory. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,/and grace my fears relieved.” That’s amazing grace! Make it your mission to share it.