In half an hour, I have an appointment at the dentist’s office. The hygienist is going to clean my teeth. I immediately think to myself, My teeth feel really grungy from eating my porridge at breakfast. I’d better go and brush and floss. I would hate to have dirty teeth with pieces of bran stuck to them for the hygienist to have to remove.
Then it strikes me. How similar that is to the feeling that some unchurched people have expressed when they think about coming to God or attending church. They consider that it is important for them to clean up their lives before they present themselves before God.
On the other hand, some church-going people like to think of their lives as clean before God, not realizing how sinful they really are. Because they are fine, upstanding, moral, good-living people, they think that they have very little to confess. I know — I’ve been there! When we do realize that we have done or thought something wrong, we often try to excuse ourselves or rationalize our mistakes, thinking that it was only a small, insignificant misstep, or that anyone else would have done the same thing under the same circumstances.
However, it turns out that when it comes to removing sin from our lives, none of us can excuse our own sin or clean ourselves up. The essence of coming to Jesus is realizing and admitting that only God can forgive sins. The realization of that fact is called “repentance” — thinking again — taking a 180-degree turn from self to God. How much easier it would be simply to admit our error to God and let Him forgive us, as only God can do.
When Jesus was teaching indoors at Capernaum, the crowd was so dense that four men, who wanted their paralyzed friend to be healed, broke through the roof and lowered their friend down inside the house in front of Jesus.
“When [Jesus] saw their faith, He said to him, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise up and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’ — He said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'” (Luke 5:20-24 NKJV)
Let’s break through the roof of our pride right now, and let ourselves down in front of Jesus, to have Him forgive us and restore us to wholeness before God.
Prayer: Thank You for Your promise that if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (from 1 John 1:9) Amen.
Mission, British Columbia, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan Daily Devotionals with Author’s permission