The Essential Jesus Day 9
Need for a Savior: He’s Against It
PRAY: Lord of life, grant me the ability to savor the gift of abundant life and all the relationships you have given me, especially my time with you. Amen
READ: Isaiah 59:1-21
REFLECT: One of the most popular passages of Scripture is 1 John 4:8 which reads, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” We like this image of God. No anger. No judgment. No wrath. No call to holiness. No call to stop sinning. We don’t have to give up anything. Just love one another! After all, God wants us to be happy, which we define as doing whatever fulfills us, whatever gives us meaning and purpose, whatever meets our deepest longings and desires. But is that really all Gos is? God is depicted as a one dimensional caricature: God is love. And while that is indeed truth—Jesus is always drawing people into his ever widening circle— it is only part of the truth. The Bible tells us far more than that.
The Bible tells us that God is against sin. Yikes! There’s that nasty word again. And guess what? He gets to define sin. We don’t.
What happens when we sin? It separate us from God and he hides his face from us (Is 59:2). We saw this with Adam and Eve (Day 6). We saw this with the Hebrew people when they made a golden calf (Day 7). We see this repeatedly throughout Scripture. We see it in our own lives (Day 8).
The consequences for our sinful behavior grow even bigger (Is 59:3-4, 7-8). Sin results in a lack of justice and peace. We are stained with blood and guilt. We say wicked things. Our deeds are evil and violent. And if you don’t believe it, look around you! Read the newspaper. Look on the internet. Watch kids playing on the playground. Hang out in the hallways of a school. Walk around a slum. Visit a divorce court or family services.
Of course, we try to rationalize sin (Is 59:4-6)! We make up excuses and lies. We blame it on someone else just like Adam and Eve (Gen 3:12-13)! It’s not our fault! We are made that way! We blame parents, society, schools and even our genes.
We then walk in darkness and lose our way (Is 59:9-11). Sin becomes the “new normal”. We incorrectly minimize God’s law and reduce the gospel to tolerance, acceptance, inclusiveness and love. We mistakenly believe we are a law unto ourselves—thinking that each one of us determines what is sinful based on our experience, reason and conscience rather than God’s Word. We have a bizarre notion that each individual has the license to decide what is sin or is not sin. We ignore the consequences.
The end result is that our offenses are many and our sins testify against us (Is 59:12-15). We are guilty! Things go from bad to worse. God is displeased (Is 59:15).
But the good news is that is not the end of the story! God takes action. He is your redeemer (Is 59:16-21). Repent! Turn away from sin and toward God. He makes a new covenant with you. He promises to gives you the gift of his Spirit, who will not depart from you. He will place his Words in your mouth and on your lips. He saves you because you cannot save yourself.
APPLY: How do you know what sin is? What sins do you see in the world around you? What sins do you struggle with in your own life? What sins do you ignore? What are your excuses—who or what do you blame for your behavior? Are you ready to quit blaming others or coming up with excuses and accept responsibility? Confess your sins to God. Receive his forgiveness.
PRAY: My Lord and Savior, I am guilty. Please forgive me and help me to resist temptation. Rescue me from my sinfulness. Grant me the gift of your Spirit and place your Word in my mouth and on my lips. Amen.