In God’s kingdom, people are all sinners. Everyone. We are all sinners, and we all need a Savior.
Because we are all led astray. Everyone messes up. And it’s not about who messes up more or whose faults are greatest – we don’t get to be the judge of that. Only God gets that title, because only He is wise enough to judge correctly. Only He knows the whole story – the details, the circumstances, the background information. And only He can rule out of absolute purity and absolute truth.
And his verdict is guilty – over every one of us. Which means we are all sentenced to the same eternal damnation, the same lake of fire, the same separation from the Father who created us. We are that bad, that sinful, that hopeless.
Except when the Judge brought the gavel down to close the case and send the guilty to sentencing, the Judge himself stepped in to take our place, to endure our punishment. His love is that great, that righteous, that hopeful.
This has to change us. This foundation has to separate the Church from the rest of the world.
As the truth of the Gospel sinks into our hearts, we begin to see life the way our Father does. We begin to have a true perspective of who we are, who we were created by, what He did for us and why he did it.
In a generation of so much hostility, the Gospel levels the playing field. No longer can we snap to judgement over an opposing view on masks, vaccines or politics. No longer can we assume things about another person based on skin color or clothing attire. No longer can we amplify our ego and pat ourselves on the back for our morality or our Bible knowledge while turning our noses down to someone else who has different theology or religious background.
Deep down within us, I think what sits quietly behind it all is a subtle but powerful force – pride.
“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Our pride makes us believe we are okay to be in the judgement seat. Our pride makes us believe it is okay to condemn someone else, to harbor unforgiveness, or even to shut them out entirely.
C. S. Lewis goes on to say –
“The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course, it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says, “Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were worth anything?”” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
I think the problem we see across our nation, maybe even across our world is that we have so much pride rooted in ourselves, pride in what we’ve accomplished and in the name we’ve made for ourselves. We have pride in our self-righteousness, believing we have somehow justified even a bit of ourselves by our great choices.
But the Gospel of Jesus shatters that ideology. The Gospel says that our good deeds are like filthy rags. That who we are, on our own, is so bad that we need to die and be reborn. The Gospel says that we are like sheep, one of the dumbest of animals, foolish and unwise in our flesh, prone to disobedience and deserving of consequence. And yet we are so passionately loved and valuable that though it cost the Shepherd his own life, he would hold nothing back from rescuing us.
We are all sinners. And we all need a Savior. And we have one.
I can’t help but think that if the Church, the body of believers, were to take the lead on this, were to meditate on the Gospel continually, were to worship God without ceasing, were to preach the Good News like it was really true, then it would drastically change the culture we live in. Because we would be so obsessed with our Savior and so grateful for his covering of righteousness over us that we would want everyone else to be obsessed with him too, to experience the freedom of his justification as well. We’d understand just how significant each and every life is, and we’d engage, listen, share stories and share things in common. And we’d stay filled with hope, because we would know just how radically life-changing it is to know your Savior and to be known by Him.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:22-24
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. – James 2:10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-28
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. – Jonah 2:9
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – Psalm 95:1
I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. – Psalm 118:21
He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. – Isaiah 59:16
Read: Isaiah 51
Who accomplishes salvation? For whom? For how long?
Spend some time in prayer, meditating over the verses given, the ones in Isaiah 51 and any other favorites! Confess any pride and praise Jesus for being our Savior, for laying his life down for his people. Praise him for taking on the wrath of God, for seeing you, for welcoming you into his family. And ask him who you might be able to share a bit of his goodness with – a piece of your story, a Bible verse that’s impacted your life, anything.
Sing: Spirit of the Living God