Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Did Jesus Come To Earth for Nothing?

It’s better to find out the truth while we still have time to do something about it. Right? You wouldn't want to know about the existence of hell after it's too late, would you? Of course not.

I’d said in an earlier post that our “ability” to make a decision for Jesus usually ends quickly with very little notice or warning. 100 million people met a violent death at the hands of other humans in 20th century alone. That's not counting heart attacks, storms, falling, natural disasters etc.. The savagery and cruelty of humans toward one another is unparalleled in the animal kingdom. The appalling violence of life staggers one’s sensibilities. How, we wonder, can life be this brutal? Something seems to have gone terribly wrong.

Well, it isn't just a perception. Something is terribly wrong. In fact the world is wrong because we are wrong. While it seems a mystery to us now, one day every thought, every word we've spoken and every one of our actions will be made known. This includes the good that we've left undone. One day our true selves will be made clear to all and any desire to debate our goodness will be rendered silent.

In Mark 7:21,23 Jesus explains that who we are is what makes us wrong. It’s not just our words or our actions - we are fundamentally flawed. We don't get angry. We are angry. We don't act in a hypocritical manner. We are hypocrites. We don't let lies slip out. We are liars. Our wrong is so desperate that we even hurt those we love most. However many hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have done nothing to cure our evil bent and a million more years will not bring about a cure either. Beginning with Adam we point to others and blame them for our wrong.

Jesus says, “Nuh ah. No one but you is going to answer for the wrong that you have done.”

Oh sure, we are capable of doing good; enormous good. But we do good only sporadically. Consistent good is impossible while the pull or temptation to consistent wrong is normal. Even our good deeds are corrupted by pride. Many will bristle at that and say, “I am so a good person. I hardly ever steal, well, maybe a little on my income tax. I hardly ever lie. I’ve certainly never killed anyone and except for lust I’m pretty faithful to my spouse, although that’s mostly cause I’ve never had the opportunity to have an affair.”

And God says, “Isn’t that cute. Now try using My standard of good because that is the only standard by which you will be judged.”

Mark 12:30 gives us that standard. Jesus fills it out in the Sermon on the Mount which is found in Matthew 5-7. In light of this reality, it becomes clear that we not only don’t live up to our own standard of morality, we fall far, far short of our Creator’s expectations of us. Loving God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength is something that none of us have ever done. Instead we’re unfaithful. We turn to almost anything except God for guidance and direction and fulfilment of our lives. The fact of the matter is, if we are planning to please God through our behaviours, it’s simply impossible to live up to the standard that He has set before us. We can never be good enough to be good enough for heaven.

And that is why Jesus came to rescue us. He came to save us from who we are. In Mark chapter two, we have the account of Jesus going to a tax collector’s house for a meal. The man’s name was Levi. People were appalled that Jesus would befriend such despicable people so Jesus gave this explanation. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call those who think they are good but those who recognise that they are not good.”

In reality, no one is good. All of us have sinned and fall short of God’s standard. Of course not everyone believes that. Jesus said, “You will know those who think they are good people, those who are self-righteous, by the fact that they will reject My offer of forgiveness. I’ve come to rescue those who are honest with themselves.”

So why did Jesus come to earth to call sinners to repentance? He seems to think that our problem is so desperate that it required His sacrifice to solve the crisis. Mark 9:43-47 gives us an indication of how desperate our situation is. Pluck out your eye? Cut off your hand? Jesus is saying, “The punishment for remaining unforgiven is so horrible that nothing is too drastic an attempt to avoid it.” Of course He is using hyperbole, but the message is clear. Do anything you can to avoid eternity in hell.

Here’s the problem. Our heart is the biggest problem. We can’t cut it out. Who we are is the problem. We need to be forgiven. We'll never understand why Jesus came until we understand how far we fall from loving God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the first and most important commandment and we can’t keep it.

Jesus, is the only answer to our problem.

Jesus is the only solution.

We have sinned against our Creator and only our Creator can provide forgiveness for that crime. That, is why God came to earth; to show us the way home. To offer us peace. To reconcile us to Himself. To provide healing for our broken relationship.

Only you can prevent that from happening.

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