The other night, I was woken up in the middle of the night and a conversation that I had earlier that day was really on my mind. Someone had mentioned that they didn’t believe that people who harm children should be forgiven. They felt they did not belong in heaven and so should not be granted forgiveness from God. Honestly, I have heard this before and I have to admit there was probably a time in my life where I felt that way as well. Deep down, I think we have all felt this way at some point. We get ourselves into trouble when we try to compare ourselves with others and think that our sin is less and that we are better. We equally get into trouble when we think that we ever have or ever will do anything to merit God’s grace and the salvation that was bought for us with Jesus’ blood.
The truth is WE ARE ALL SINNERS! The Bible is clear on this point.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God“ Romans 3:23
NONE of us deserve God’s forgiveness. What we ALL deserve is punishment, death, and eternal separation from God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
We are forgiven not because God just said, “Hey, don’t worry about it, you are forgiven.” We are forgiven because someone else paid the price for our sins! God himself. God provided the means for us to be saved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We have been saved by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no work we can do, no good deed good enough to save us. We are saved only through faith in Jesus. The Bible is equally clear on this point.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8-9
Most the time I don’t think we realize how sinful we are. However, the closer we get to God, the more we understand just how sinful we really are. The apostle Paul is the perfect example of this. Towards the end of his life, he makes this statement:
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them all.” 1 Timothy 1:15
Did you catch that? He said he was the worst of all sinners! Was Paul suddenly a far worse sinner than ever before or than anyone else? NO, he was just in a place of close relationship with God where he understood just how Holy God is and just how sinful he was. We can’t compare ourselves with others to see how good we are, because that isn’t the measuring stick for goodness We can only compare ourselves with God because only He is good,
So what should we do when we think that there is someone who doesn’t deserve God’s mercy? Well, we should look at the cross. Looking at the cross shows us so much about who God is and so much about who we are.
God’s love and justice meet at the cross.
At the cross, we see the punishment we deserve, we see what it cost for us to be forgiven, and we see just how much God hates sin.
At the cross we see ourselves as we truly are; sinful, selfish, hateful, adulterous idolaters and we are humbled.
At the cross we see just how much God loves us, we see what true obedience looks like, and we see what it means to give all of yourself.
At the cross we see that no matter what our past may have held for us, our future is abundant life, beauty, and an eternal relationship with God because of what Jesus has done!
At the cross we come, we repent of our sins, we accept God’s free gift of salvation, and we go forth as new people.
As we approach Easter, what better time to take a fresh look at the cross. What better time to assess where we are at and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us to become more like Jesus, because we know we can not do it without Him! What better time to give thanks for the greatest gift we were ever given and the one we least deserved….so come, look at the cross!