I Love You Enough to Tell You the Truth
You CAN get out of the hellhole you’re living in.
Once in a while, I’ll run across someone who claims that after years of “practicing” their religion, they’ve finally come to a place in life where they don’t sin anymore.
I’m always more than a little skeptical of anyone who lays claim to sinlessness. For one thing, after interacting with literally tens of thousands of humans over my lifetime, I’ve never met anyone even coming close to perfection. Not once!
But the main reason I don’t buy another person’s claim to perfection is that the God of all creation has made it plain — everyone screws up! There are no exceptions to this. For example, Paul wrote in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The reason I bring this up is that in order to appreciate God’s mercy, we must first come to terms with just how messed up we are without him. I didn’t start out as a pretty good guy. Instead, I began this journey I’m on as a completely and utterly sinful man. I was broken, as in beyond repair. I had no hope. I had nothing I could point to and say, “Here, God. This is why you should love me.”
In fact, for every good thing I could point to (and there weren’t many), there were a thousand things in my life that were evidence that I neither loved nor respected God. This is what the Bible means in the following passage:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
Was I an object of God’s wrath? Ha! No doubt about it. I was doomed! Headed for a six-foot hole in the ground and headed there fast. It wasn’t the individual sins I committed that condemned me — it was because I followed the wrong god. I followed the ways of the world which say, “Do what feels good to you.” I followed the ruler of the kingdom of the air, Satan himself. And his spirit controlled me.
Object of wrath? Oh, yes. I was.
But the story that the next verses tell is what changed my life.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
Imagine that! The God I was shaking my fist at loved me in spite of my rebellion. And when he came to live in me, I came alive for the first time ever. I was dead in my sins, but he gave me life, eternal life.
Why do I keep telling people the story of a wretched man rescued by a good God? It’s simple, really. Because God loves me, I love you. And since I love you, I want to tell you how to get out of the hellhole you are living in if you don’t already know Jesus. I may never meet you in this life, but if I see you on the other side rising up to meet him in the air, that’s enough for me.
If you’re one of the blessed ones who do know Jesus, open your mouth about it, for crying out loud. Stand on the street corners and tell everyone about him. Plead with sinners (sinners like you once were) to repent and turn to God. It’s a life or death situation.
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Personally, it is a story I’m glad to tell. It is a story that brings life. We need more of that in America today, wouldn’t you agree?