Sunday, May 20, 2012

If Salvation is so simple, why is it so hard?

For we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. There is no one righteous; no not one.
People struggle to accept that one. We think of people known to us who we think of as good; people we love or admire. We name people who lived or live good lives, helping others, being kind, and hold them out as the proof for the existence of good people.
Or we look at ourselves and compare ourselves to others to use that as the evidence to support our claim that we are good (or not) with a criteria built upon some application of relativity. If I am not as “bad” as so-and-so then I must be good. Or likewise, if I am not as “good” as so-and-so then I cannot be good.
Man’s other tendency is to change definitions to make things line up with how we want them to be, how we believe they should be, or how we want to make people believe they are.
We lower the bar, establish a new standard, change the criteria, or just repeat something over and over again.

Call white better than black long enough the gullible majority will begin to accept it. Proclaim men better than women long enough the gullible majority will begin to believe it. Preach evolution as an established scientific fact enough times and in enough places and the gullible majority will begin to accept it. Say that divorce is acceptable and change the laws to call it dissolution instead of divorce and the gullible majority will believe it does not harm families or society. Teach that the United States is not a Christian nation long enough and the gullible majority will begin to believe it.
Society takes a majority of activists and identifies them as a majority of all people when they are in fact only a majority of those who tend to make the most noise. Society declares that homosexuality is normal by disassociating it from human sex, sexuality, or reproduction. Society attempts to decree same-sex unions as no different from marriage by disassociating marriage from bloodlines, pedigree, heritage, ancestry, or any type of multi-generational reproduction or continuity established and strengthened by the crossing of blood in the act of creation.
Just so with good; in an attempt to change the definition of who and what is good, society takes issues and lifestyles and behaviors and fires up resentments and divisions and differences as though these ideas and definitions of good and bad make one group better or worse than another. The strategy is to lose the definition in the manipulations of emotional triggers.
But Jesus is very clear: only God is good. The rest of us are imperfect and our righteousness as filthy rags. Period. End of subject. The only way to change the conclusion is to change the defining criteria.
And the fact that Jesus addresses the subject tells us that this is an old, old habit of mankind. And because it is true of ALL of us, meaning we are all susceptible to the cunning wiles and persuasions of the enemy, you will find that Christians are just as likely as the world to hold these differences and divisions up as proof that they are better than the other guy because of them.
For we are ALL sinners and fall short of the glory of God.
That simplifies the argument in whatever arena it is raised. So if we are all sinners, what is the alternative? What is the action item? Just live and let live? Everyone do their own thing?
All you have to do is look at history to see how that leads to nothing but corruption, degradation, destruction, and death.
Sin is like pregnancy. You either are or are not pregnant. Just so with sin; you either are a sinner or you are not. It’s a lot easier to refrain from judging others when you just accept that we are all sinners.
You cannot begin to address the sins in your life that will ALWAYS have a negative effect on you, your loved ones, and your neighbors until you accept the nature of sin and your own sin nature. You cannot reach out to the agent of change, which is love who is God, until you accept this about yourself and realize that it makes you the same as everyone else.
You grow in sin when you do not identify it within yourselves or others who influence you. You can get further along in sin when you ignore it; whether you have identified it or not. A little leaven (yeast) spreads through the whole loaf when you are making your bread. A little sin will spread through you and your whole life when you leave it be to do what it does.
That’s why accepting you are a sinner is the first and the hardest step to becoming a follower of Christ. But before God the criteria is good and not good; you are perfect or sinner; your status is living or dead (spiritually).
Accept you are a sinner and realize that makes you just like everybody else in God’s eyes; no better or worse. Only God is good; only One Man walked out a perfect, sinless life; and because of Him God offers you the choice between life and death.
We are all sinners yet still He loves us all. He sent His Son to walk out a perfect, sinless life despite the sin nature of man right there in the DNA, and with the sacrifice of that sinless, perfect Son-- His death, His blood paying the price demanded by the law for our sins-- God gave us the choice between life and death.  He beseeches you to choose life.
Accept you are a sinner. Realize you need a Savior. Thank God that He sent One. Give your life to the Lord and set your heart to follow Him.
Salvation is simple. Jesus made it simple. But you have to get past that first step; and it is a big stumbling block; --for all of us.
But oh – it is so worth it.

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