Monday, June 5, 2017

The Blame Game

     Lately the news has been revealing more than just current events.  On two occasions, I listened as a comedienne and a politician tried to blame their failures on everything but the kitchen sink.  In the comedienne's case, she blamed the victim of her grisly satire leaving me to scratch my head and say, "How does that even sound reasonable?"  Both cases, though, reveal something about all of us.  We have a sin nature and it shows up whenever we do not want to acknowledge something we have said or done in violation of God's Word.  The Bible makes it clear:  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
     This "blame game" is not new to us.  As my husband says, "It started in the Garden."  Indeed, when God confronted Adam with his disobedience, he blamed Eve.  Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent. Since that time, has anything changed?  All we have to do is watch children when they are caught disobeying a parent.  The justification for doing what they did comes pouring out of their lips very easily.  Unfortunately, we all have this bent both in our thinking and in our hearts.  All we have to do is read through the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 to see if this isn't so.  Have we lied?  Have we taken God's name in vain?  Do we honor the Sabbath as a holy day of rest?  What about stealing, bearing false witness against our neighbor or even lusting after what someone else has?  There is no one who has kept the Law of God perfectly except for Jesus Christ.
      Back in the Garden, God promised to send a redeemer who would deliver us from the bondage of sin.  He would perfectly fulfill the Law of God and take our sins upon Himself dying in our place to pay the price so we do not have to endure eternal punishment in Hell.  God even gives us the faith to be able to turn and receive this gift of His Son.  Now I write this not just for those who have never understood what it means to accept the free gift of salvation but also for Christians who still may not comprehend how great our salvation is.
     Before we come to Christ, we are dead in our sins and unable to make the right choices.  The Reformers called this "total depravity" meaning we are infected throughout our mind and spirit with sin.  It does not mean we were as bad as we could be.  However, when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes so that we might repent of our sins and turn to Christ, we are now able to choose the right course according to God's Word.  In fact, we desire to please the Lord and serve Him.  Even more, the Holy Spirit guides, teaches and enables us to serve God.
     As believers, we are free from the bondage of sin, but that does not mean we will never sin again.  We still have to contend with our old nature that wants to draw us back into sin.  Ah, but God has made a way for us to come back into fellowship with Him when we stumble
(I John 1:9).  From start to finish, God had a plan to save us.  What Good News for this hurting world!
     Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his series of sermons on Ephesians 2 reminds us that God not only provides a way of salvation, but He also keeps us through the power of the Holy Spirit that we will never be lost again.  What's more, He will never leave nor forsake us.  This is the blessing we have from God in Christ.  It is no small thing.  He took us from the pit of despair and sin where we made excuses for our misdeeds to a new life where there is no longer condemnation but forgiveness.
     Whether you are a person reading this who has never heard this before or a seasoned believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, think on the things I have written.  We do not have to walk through life with excuses blaming others for what we have done.  Instead, we have an advocate in Christ who breaks this continual bondage.  He, alone, has all we need for life and godliness.  Selah!

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