Monday, September 23, 2013

A Great Understatement

For all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23

God, in His infinite wisdom, understated this truth.

There is a broad chasm between God and man - falling short is true but doesn't bring to mind the Grand Canyon that separates God from man.  But I think that God did this on purpose because of our pride.  If God had said this: "For all have sinned and are completely spiritually bankrupt, destitute, disgustingly vile in any attempt to do anything worth the notice of a Holy God, and just basically worthless," - yeah, how many flies would that attract?

But in His goodness, He tells us that we fall short.  Even the most self-righteous among us have to admit they are not equal to God.  And seeing that we miss the mark is the first step in repentance.

Don't get me wrong - there is plenty of scripture that when put together gives us a much clearer picture of our condition:
  • There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, not even one...(Romans 3:9-12)
  • You were dead in your trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1)
  • All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...(Isaiah 64:6)
  • The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked...(Jeremiah 17:9)
As we grow in Christ, as we spend time with Him and see Him for Who He truly is, the Spirit brings us along in our understanding of just how great the chasm actually is...or I should say, was.  Though I know I deal with sin so much better than I did before, my understanding of the effects of sin in life and the high price paid for my sin has grown exponentially. 

But the starting block for a relationship with God begins with a simple understanding that sin separates us from a holy God.  As He kindly puts it, we fall short.

Religion in general is meant to bridge that gap.  Religion sets up a system by which you can appease the wrath of an angry god.  Some religions tap into the spiritual or mystical qualities of a higher power while others simply promote righteous living and penance (personal payment) as the way to reach God.  But if the truth is that we fall short, then the efforts we make by definition cannot be enough.

That's what sets Christianity apart from religion.  Religion says, Here's a system by which you can find God.  Christianity says, Here's a God who's already done it all for you.  And unfortunately, because of our pride, we like religion better than God's way because it makes us feel less helpless.  But religion - all religion - falls short.

Way short.

Religion focuses on what man does and Christianity focus on what God does.  Religion makes man the star of the show, while Christianity makes Jesus the star of the show.  Which one appeals to you?  We all like the thought of saving ourselves, but what does God say?  All our attempts fall short.

Fall short - there it is again.

So why try to live righteously then, Kristen?  Well, hang with me and the good news is right around the corner.  We are going to continue to unpack the truths of some core verses over the next few weeks and months which will bring you to the answer of that very question...

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