I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Thoughts for Today:Most people who know me would tell you I'm a pretty good guy. I know myself pretty well, and I even think I'm a pretty good guy. But despite all my good intentions, the life lessons I've learned (and taught), the volumes of Scripture I've memorized, I know one thing for certain -- I am a sinner second to no one. Granted I don't rob convenience stores, murder innocent people, or commit rape, but that doesn't make me any less of a sinner. As a result, I thank God everyday that I have a Savior.
One of the traps that many of us "good people" can fall into is that compared to some of the harsher and more lawless elements of our society, we think we're pretty darn close to perfect. We follow the speed limit (unless we're late), go to work every day, pay our taxes, and attend churchon Sunday. I have a non-Christian friend who really struggles with this idea of sin because he too thinks he's a pretty good guy (moral and ethical) comparatively speaking. But therein lays the problem.
If I told you I had just run a mile race, not only finishing first but lapping twice the other fifty racers, you might think, "Wow -- you must be the fastest runner in the world!" At least until you discovered the other fifty racers were paraplegics in wheelchairs. (Hopefully this illustration has not offended any of the amazing wheelchair-bound athletes who could probably lap me twice.) The point I'm trying to make is if we consider ourselves to be sin-less because there are much more sin-full people out there, then we have truly fallen short of the goal. What really matters is who and what we compare ourselves to -- if we look at the ideal man -- Jesus we realize how much we lack. It is when we finally direct our gaze upward (to the Lord), rather than behind (how bad we used to be), or beside us (compared to our fellow man), that we understand the reality of our need for a savior.
Questions to Ponder:Paul's words from our passage are as valid today as they were two thousand years ago. We must turn to God in repentance, and have faith in our Lord Jesus. This is indeed the key to a full and rewarding Christian life -- but it is not a one time event. I sin every day and as the Holy Spirit convicts me (makes me aware) of that sin I am challenged to repent (change my thinking) and rely upon the sacrifice Jesus made. Perhaps a word I have spoken was too harsh; I once again slipped into thinking too highly of myself; or have succumbed to one of my other countless flaws. The difference between my friend and I is this: I know I am a sinner and I have a way back to grace -- repentance and faith in Jesus. It's something I do every day. What about you? Are you feeling a bit self-righteous yet distant from God? Heed Paul's words, "turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." We can never be "good" enough; we desperately need God's grace and the redemption He offers through the Cross. Will you seek Him?