A dovetail from yesterday.
It’s not my intention to condemn. Convict, maybe. But then again, I’m not the Holy Spirit and even though Jesus says in John’s Gospel (20:23) “Whose soever sins ye remit (forgive), they are remitted unto them”, I’m not the one who can cleanse sin. Only Jesus can do that. He’s the one, through His shed blood, that can make us right before God the Father. He gives us the pure, white holiness needed to stand before Him without condemnation. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18) And not only can Jesus cleanse sin as in, forgive individual mistakes, He can remake us into something new. This is the good news of the Gospel.
Morality’s easy to come by these days. The lines have been drawn between outward sin and perceived good behavior. No big deal. Just act correctly. Smile when needed, maybe hold the door for someone and you have what most of our culture might label as a “good” or “moral” individual. Consequently, when someone has addictive issues or their temper flares up a little too easily, then (smugly) we know what they are. Or do we? We don’t necessarily need God in order to act correctly. But then again, this wasn’t the mission statement of Jesus. He didn’t come just to tell us a bunch of stuff that we could have learned by trial and error. No, He came to reintroduce us to God the Father. And as “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7), then God must be looking for something deeper. Something that maybe, just maybe we couldn’t have gotten ourselves, and that couldn’t have come from within. John makes an interesting statement in his first letter (chapter 1, verse 10). He says that “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar…” In other words, if we say that we’re the truth, we’re calling God a liar. Well, I suppose this wouldn’t even apply if you didn’t even believe in God’s existence. Jesus, maybe. But God? I don’t want to have to deal with a Being that is ever-present and sees my every innermost thought. I can live as a good person. I can follow the basic tenets of Jesus. But what about His disciples? The apostles, the ones that He ordained to hammer out the fine points of what He came to live out for us? Continuing on in the same vein, Paul says “let God be true and every man (and woman?) a liar”. That’s a pretty bold statement. One that I must reconcile with the rest of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The One who is “the express image of [God’s] person.” (Hebrews 1:3)
Before we go any further. Please remember that everything God does for us is based in and out of a motive of love. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, (Yay!) I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
Moving forward: “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts.” (Psalm 51:6) David says that this is what God wants. He wants truth in the very core of our being. And here’s the point I’m getting at: Without Jesus, we cannot be resonant with the heart of God the Father. There’s just no way. There’s no way that we can recreate our spirit that died when first we sinned. Any thought, any mental activity for better or for worse, that is not in keeping with the exacting holiness of God–is sin. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23) The only person who fulfilled the obligation is Jesus. And it wasn’t just His behavior that was perfect, it was his heart. His heart’s attitude pleased God so much that He resurrected His Son after He had been dead for three days. He spent time in hell, so we wouldn’t have to.
“And all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Here’s my other point. Lying, deceit, duplicity, dishonesty, guile, mendacity. It all comes naturally. It’s closer even than second nature. It’s who we are if we’re not connected to God via the Lord Jesus Christ. I suppose I’d be doing you a disservice if I put it any other way. And lest you think that I’m neglecting the “beam that is in [my] own eye” (Luke 6:41), please understand that this is who I was. It’s who God set me free from, recreating me. Forsaking all else, so to speak. And to make it even more poignant–at least to me, I didn’t appropriate the gift of God’s truth until much later in life. I had lived the way of lying until my late teens and even then, had to work through the backlog of bad habits I’d accrued from years of dishonesty. This is why I’m even bringing it up. Because I know what Jesus did for me. He healed the fissure of mendacity in myself. He’ll do the same for you. Take Him at His word.