Romans 3:22-24 (NASB)
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
I remember the first time I ever really “heard” that verse. I knew immediately what it meant, that in the eyes of God I was a sinner. I had lived my young life in a church-going family. Sinners? That was people who drink and smoke, and cuss, get divorced, and don’t go to church. We were better than those people. We didn’t do those things. We were nice, people; we were good people.
But the Lord was working in my heart, and I finally gave in and accepted the idea, the fact, that I was, really and truly, a sinner.
But there still seemed to be some distinctions. Yes, we are all sinners, but, I thought, there are some people who are worse sinners than I am. What about murderers? What about serial killers? What about people like Hitler, who is responsible for the deaths of millions of people?
What about people who drink, um, drink to excess? I don’t drink, and so I certainly don’t get drunk. Isn’t that the bad part? What about people who smoke? I don’t smoke, but there are people who smoke like smokestacks, even though they know how harmful it is to their health.
I don’t do those things. I do like to eat … um … yeah, too much. I need to lose lots of weight. Does that make me one of “those people”?
What about women? I like pretty women. Um, yeah, I guess I’ve thought some things that the Bible says are sinful. I … AM…a sinner!
But what about those other people … the gays! They want to be accepted as they are without having to repent of their sin. The Bible says it’s an abomination, and homosexuals won’t get into heaven. I’m not as bad as they are, am I?
I’ve had to accept that I am a sinner, just like all those other people that I want to feel superior to. I have accepted the fact that I cannot get into heaven on my own merits any more than they can. I am just an old sinner, saved by grace. It’s only … only by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ that I can even hope to be allowed in the gate.
And that realization has changed my life and all my thinking.
But I have come now to another stage in the journey. I’m not looking at my own life so much any more, but my thoughts are turned more outward. I’m more and more aware of the other side of the coin – not only am I a sinner, but everyone … every last person on earth, every last person who has ever lived on this earth, is a sinner and cannot enter heaven … except for one man, the one perfect man who ever lived, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all riding on the Titanic, and we’re all going down.
But there’s one hope, and only one hope. Jesus reaches out to all of us, offering to save us. It’s the only way. He and He alone can pull us to safety, and He is offering that salvation to all of us. Some people turn their backs on Him and refuse His help. They either don’t understand that He’s their only hope, or they simply don’t want to be saved.
It’s such an easy thing. All you have to do is accept His invitation. Yet, it’s such a hard thing. It means total surrender of yourself to Him. But if it’s the only way … how hard can it be? He tells us, “Choose life, that you may live.”
Just make a choice?
What does Jesus say? “Does no one here condemn you? Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”
Turn away from your sin and follow Him. It won’t always be easy … there will be rough times. He doesn’t promise us an easy path through this life. But it will be good, it will be life … follow Him.
Matthew 11:29 (NASB)
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.