The gospel message is not a call for us to get busy doing the best we can to please God but rather a call to realize our sinfulness and to trust upon one who truly did please God. In other words, the essential message of Christianity is never about what you and I can do but about what God has done in Christ!
Sadly many professing Christians have unwittingly wandered to Sinai and tried to package it as good news. Do you not still see the bright lightening and the dreadful mountain wrapped in smoke? Do you not hear its trumpet blast, peals of thunder, and knocking of Moses’ knees? As God descends upon this Mountain to proclaim his inflexibly rigid standard of righteousness he is to be seen as holy, unapproachable, and worthy of awe.
This is devastating. If you ask Christians what we are all about many will give this summary of the Law [Mat 22.37-40]. This should not be. After all, if it was all about what you do why would you need Jesus? A sinless substitute sounds kind of unnecessary if you have the ability to earn God’s favor. This is exactly what Paul wrote in Galatians:
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal 2.21)
It is frighteningly alarming that we can so easily and quickly forget about our need for Christ’s righteousness. How in the world can a humbled sinner stand for one second clinging to self-righteousness before God almighty?
Romans 3 shows that the proper working of the Law brings about a posture of silent humiliation before God’s Law (Rom. 3.19). This is our disposition. We are lacking righteousness, turning away from ourselves, and looking for help. And there stands the beloved Son of God. He is not lacking righteousness. He has ‘fulfilled all righteousness’ for the sinner. In his life he perfectly obeyed the law of God, always doing what is pleasing to his Father (Jn. 8.29). Then he gave up his life to pay the due penalty for sinners (Rom. 6.23; 2 Cor. 5.21).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
For mothers and other sinners
Here are some words of exhortation and comfort from an Irish Calvinist to all of us who have fallen short in motherhood or any other thing: