The Essential Jesus Day 8
Need for a Savior: Not Just the Bad Guys
PRAY: Almighty Lord, the day is chilly and the wind is blowing. Let me feel the warmth or your presence this day. Amen
READ: Psalm 14:1-7
REFLECT: Let’s play a little imagination game. Close your eyes for a minute and picture in your mind’s eye someone who is a sinner. Go ahead, I’ll wait………Ok, eyes opened again? Who did you see? What were they doing? Why did you picture them above all others?
When we imagine people who sin, we typically imagine people who are “corrupt, their deeds are vile.” They are “evildoers”—those who “devour people as men eat meat.” They may even deny the existence of God or at least are indifferent to him and his commandments. They might even believe that everyone gets to decide on their own what is right and wrong; what is good and bad. They have the power!
Now, open your wallet or purse and take out your driver’s license. Go ahead, I’ll wait again………come on, it’s not that difficult.
Whose picture do you see? Hopefully yours! And guess what? That is also a picture of a sinner. We can try to make ourselves feel good by comparing ourselves to others. We can pretend that only the “bad Guys” sin. But the reality is that we are all sinners. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps 14:3). Paul tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23). We are all in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves (1 John 1:8-10). And let’s be honest, no one really seeks God—we are having too much fun playing God! And we have far too much fun sinning! The problem is that sin separates you from God—both the “big” sins and “little” sins. The effect is the same.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns us not to judge. We dare not single out another person’s sin as greater than our own Nor should we worry about the speck in another person’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in our own (Matthew 7:1-5)! At the same time, we dare not endorse sinful behavior (Mt 18:6-7; Romans 1:32). Jesus changes the penalty for sin, not the definition of sin (Mt 5:17-20). In fact, Jesus raises the bar, he doesn’t lower it (Mt 5:21-48)! Jesus tells us to “be perfect, therefore, as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The standard is perfection. If you are perfect you have nothing to worry about. If you’re like me, then you’re in BIG trouble.
We can’t be perfect, no matter how hard we try. Thus, we can’t save ourselves! No wonder we need savior. So Jesus takes our sins and gives us his righteousness. It’s called the great exchange. Now we are perfect.
Take a look at that driver’s license again. Now who do you see? A saint!
APPLY: What sins do you notice in other people? Do you tend to point them out? Do you gossip about others and their imperfections? Why? How about yourself, what sins do you struggle with? Do you ignore your own sins in favor of complaining about other people’s sins? Why?
PRAY: Gracious Lord, you are perfect. I am not. I struggle with sin and cannot save myself. Save me. Transform me. Make me a new creation. Amen.