Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sinner & Hypocrite

Sometimes when I pray or read my Bible or even when I go to church, I doubt. I doubt big-time...even the words from my own mouth sometimes seem foreign, like science fiction. Doubt and fear knock at my door daily - especially when I know there are so many circumstances out of my control. I can plan and prepare a meal, buying all the right ingredients, follow the recipe to the letter all the while thinking I am somehow in control. And I DO want control. of everything within my reach: my home, my children's health and behavior, my husband's health and behavior, the budget, the car I drive, the prices at the store or at the pump, even my hair...I do. I want control. I want the power and the ability to prevail in every circumstance, yet I cannot.

I am a sinner. I am a hypocrite. I believe one thing and do and even think another. That is the very essence of why I need the perfect Savior.

Peel away the layers of legalism and twisted teachings of some individuals and churches who pick and choose what they follow, get to the truth of the Bible as a whole and you get the 'vanilla gospel.' The human being is a liar, fool and idolater. The Christian is a hypocrite. The Christian believes in certain morality, yet in his or her human state, cannot ever perfectly conform to the requirement of holiness. The inability of the human being to attain perfect morality leads to outcry for a savior - THE Savior.

Not long ago, my son asked me "Mommy, why does God let there be sin?" Whoa...that was a big one and I didn't have an answer in my back pocket. Saying a silent prayer for wisdom, the words escaped my lips and it was I who came to a greater understanding. I asked my son to think of how he feels when he's been outside playing in the summer heat, sweaty and stinky, covered in dirt and mud, then he comes in to take a nice warm shower, coming out squeaky clean. I noted that he wouldn't know what it means to be truly, deeply clean if he didn't know what it had meant to be dirty. That's how sin is - dirty, evil, self-centered...and it reminds us how deeply and truly holy our Creator is. I do believe He allowed sin to enter this world so that His holiness would be so clear, so evident and in that realization would come a beacon for hope and our true source of redemption - Christ.

Simply stated, God IS perfectly holy; humans are not. Offended yet? No one - Christian or not- wants to hear they need something or someone other than self to provide right standing before God! The gospel IS offensive to our very being. No method or philosophy that teaches that one can attain some higher level of consciousness actually deals with the root and consequence of sin, nor does it deal with the solution. As long as there is a human - there is sin and temptation -temptation of the mind to hate another, to lust after another, to covet the stuff of this world, temptation of the hands to promote self (even when working for good wanting praise and promotion), the temptation of the tongue to slander another, to lie for self gain, to puff self up.

All I have to do is be alone with my own thoughts for a moment to see that even when my words or hands "do good" my thoughts are only self-motivated, my selfish heart wants praise and I want credit for any "good" I do.

What this sinner & hypocrite must realize is that credit is not due to self - an unholy, unworthy hypocrite. Credit/praise/glory is due to the God of Heaven and Earth, the God of all visible and invisible. And you can bet that He is jealous for His glory.

My/Your/the human inability to be perfect is the very reason we cannot stand before the mysteriously perfect, holy, just God with all our blemishes and walk away having somehow "earned" a prize. But Christ, who was mysteriously fully man and fully God was all those things - perfect, holy, sinless - the One who even defeated !death! was and IS the solution for the sinner. The Bible teaches that the one who believes in Christ is saved not for what he or she has done, but because of what Christ has done on his or her behalf. When God looks at me, a believer, He sees the perfect work of Christ and has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) The 'vanilla gospel' is that I am a sinner and a hypocrite, unable to be righteous to be justified before God and Jesus has ALREADY paid for all that I have done, am doing, or ever will do! Thank goodness- thank Jesus that it was never up to me!

Like the bud anticipating Spring, beginning to open, yet stifled by sleet and snow, the believer (despite the bumps and bruises along the way) is already unmoved on the path of glorious victory. I will stray, I will doubt, but HIS work has already been done in me.

I encourage those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, or who have never considered or investigated the big picture of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation to do so. The book of Romans in the New Testament is a wonderful place to start. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a beautifully simplified storybook that paints a good big picture of the Bible. Explaining how God brought His people under the law first to show them how law keeping was impossible in our human state - yet!- He promised them a Savior and He delivered Christ to bring His people under grace.

So yes, I am still a sinner and still a hypocrite. My faith should not drive me to judge, but rather to love because by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith I am forgiven. There IS freedom in Christ that no one else, no thing in this world can EVER provide.

Romans 8:1-3
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

Psalm 103:11-13 (New International Version)

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Romans 3:24-26 (New King James Version)
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Hebrews 2:16-18 (New King James Version)
16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

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