Saturday, October 4, 2008

No excuses left

The world is a mess, and it's always someone else's fault. Every rational person on the face of the earth knows something is wrong, and every single one is pointing at the next guy saying, "He's to blame." Everyone is an exception. This is our natural moral psychology.

The gospel pierces our bulletproof self-images, so that the grace of God can pour in with real healing. How? In Romans 1:18-32, Paul confronts Mr. Self-Indulgence, who sees the world as his playground, with no rules but his own appetites and ego. In Romans 2:1-16, Paul confronts Mr. Moral High Ground, who looks at others with scorn and upholds a strict moral code but is always looking for loopholes for himself. In Romans 2:17-29, Paul confronts Mr. Biblical Worldview, who is so sure of himself because he knows the Bible and looks at everyone else with the thought, "Well, I may not be perfect, but at least I KNOW what's right!" But his heart has some very ugly secrets.

All three human profiles -- Mr. Self-Indulgence, Mr. Moral High Ground, Mr. Biblical Worldview -- are "under sin" (Romans 3:9). There are no exceptions. All need a new heart, created by the Holy Spirit. All need a grace from beyond themselves that flies in under their radar with humbling self-awareness that bows low and says, "I fall short of the glory of God. In fact, there is no justification for my life at all. God, be merciful to me, a sinner." This is the one who is justified by God's grace, as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

May our ministries tomorrow lead Mr. Self-Indulgence, Mr. Moral High Ground and Mr. Biblical Worldview into newness of life as a gift of overflowing grace.