Yesterday, Jesus warned us about sin and its devastating consequences. Today, he gives us instructions on how to keep it from spreading:
Today, we’ll start with this verse:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Everybody sins and falls short of God’s glory. You. Me. Your pastor. Billy Graham. Mother Teresa. The Apostle Paul. EVERYBODY.
The Bible is packed with intriguing questions, many of them from God himself.
What was God’s first question? It came right after man’s first sin. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, realized they were naked and then tried to hide from God.
What did God do in response? He asked a simple question:
Where are you?
What if God asked you that question right now? How would you respond? Are you following Him? Or are you stumbling around on your own? Is God enough for you? Or do you long for forbidden fruit? Are you at peace? Or are you ashamed of something you’ve done? Are you open and honest with God? Or is there something you’re trying to hide?
God already knows all of our deepest, darkest thoughts and all of our ugliest, nastiest actions. But He still loves us more than we could ever imagine.
Turn from your sin.
Run back to God.
Never ever leave His side.
It’s really that simple.
Without Jesus, you’re dead. With Jesus, you’re alive.
Or, put another way, Jesus doesn’t have any dead friends.
Here’s what the Bible says:
As for you,
you were dead
in your transgressions and sins,
in which you used to live
when you followed the ways of this world
and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
We were all there. You, me, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, the Apostle Paul. Every single one of us. If that were the end of the story, it would be pretty tragic and depressing. But it’s not. Here’s what comes next:
But because of his great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ,
even when we were dead in our transgressions —
it is by grace you have been saved.
So what are us “alive” people supposed to do?
The Bible makes that clear, too. It calls us “God’s workmanship” — other translations say “masterpiece” — “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
We’re God’s walking and talking masterpieces. Let’s live like that today and get out there and do some good.
Here’s this week’s Proverb . . .
When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
I think I’ll heed that advice right now. ‘Nuf said.
We’re counting down the top ten Bible verses of all time, based on an exhaustive study conducted by research scientists with very large brains (and apparently a lot of time on their hands) who determined how often each verse appears in print.
Here’s this week’s verse. Memorize it. Chew on it. Wrestle with it.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
After you’re done wrestling, click here for the antidote to our sin problem.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The world is full of things that tempt us to take a step off God’s narrow path. Just turn on the TV for five minutes. We’re constantly bombarded with messages promoting a 100% self-centered and 0% God-centered approach to life. Pleasure. Riches. Beauty. Stuff. Lust. God is rarely mentioned and when He is, it’s usually as a profanity.
Don’t buy it. Anything that leads you away from God is a step in the wrong direction.
Everyone faces temptations in life. Even Jesus did. For forty days he went one-on-one with Satan in the desert, facing temptation after temptation. But Jesus never gave in. God gave Him a way out and He promises to do the same for you and me.
So, what’s the escape route? God’s narrow path. He lights the way with His word through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whenever you’re feeling tempted to stray, pray. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that you and God together can’t handle. He’ll always point you in the right direction.