Links Daily Devotional

A Hard Sell

…he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25, ESV)

There is probably more than one reason I am skeptical about all the golf products out there that promise to add distance, increase accuracy, and otherwise rescue my game. First, I am cheap. And second, I am, well, skeptical. I don’t expect your promises to amount to much—at least if I remain as lazy as I’ve always been when it comes to working on my game. Which I guess means you can add a third reason for my skepticism: I don’t trust me.

That shouldn’t really agitate me. God doesn’t trust me either.

The only way past our self-loving view is to it exchange for Jesus’ view of us.I know what you’re thinking: You can’t mean that. You’re one of the good guys. You write daily devotions!

So I’ll start by confessing something. I wish I were Nathanael, in whom there was “no deceit” (John 1:47). Or Cornelius, who even before he came to faith in Jesus was “a devout man who feared God, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God” (Acts 10:2). Or Noah, “a righteous man, blameless in his generation” (Genesis 6:9).

I would love to be any of these men. And I guess you could say I am. For even these righteousness men are included in the assessment of Christ that we see in our main passage today. They are men in whom was something not right, too. Something called sin.

It is sin that caused the psalmist to write that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). It is sin that caused Paul to echo these words as he outlined for the Romans the ill choices of humanity that require the intervention of a savior. If “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9), it’s not just a few hearts here and there. It’s all our hearts.

Now, I know it’s a hard sell for our psyches to be convinced of our sin. We rightly claim that we are God’s beloved, his careful creation. But what is often wrong in that claim is the casual dismissal of the self-preserving, self-praising, self-empowering undertow that drags us from the firm ground that is a life given over to Christ. The only way past this self-loving view is to exchange it for Jesus’ view of us; we are people who cannot on our own be trusted.

And here we come to the wonder of the gospel. For there is an out, a way to forsake our sin and pursue righteousness. It is to see that Jesus has done everything we cannot. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Jesus has paid the price for our sin and Jesus is willing to forgive our sins. But we must confess them. Then in him we are made righteous, and by his Spirit we may act righteously.

Jeff Hopper
November 28, 2016
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