For those of you who know Jesus, I’ve prayed that my last few posts have aided in your worship of and love for God, and have resulted in your greater satisfaction in Him. But now we get to a very difficult reality. We turn the lens from God and His greatness to how we, as humans, have responded to God and His greatness. If you are a believer in Christ, I pray that this post leaves you brokenheartedly hopeful in Christ, aware of your failure to meet God’s standards and overwhelming thankful that by faith in Christ alone you are now treated as if you have perfected worshipped and loved God.
If you do not know Jesus, I pray that this post will create in you an awareness of your need for Him.
1. Godâ€™s standard for every human is to perfectly love Him and perfectly love other people… and “perfectly” is the key word.
â€œFor whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.Â Â For he who said, â€˜Do not commit adultery,â€™ also said, â€˜Do not murder.â€™ Â If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the lawâ€ (James 2:10-12).
One moment, just a single instance, of imperfectly loving God or people leaves a person guilty before God. Â Romans 2:6-11 sets up a set of chilling questions for the person who is honest with himself/herself: â€œHave you beenÂ perfectly patient in well-doing?â€, and, â€œHave youÂ perfectly sought for glory and honor and immortality?â€Â In other words, â€œHave youÂ perfectly kept Godâ€™s standard of loving, worshipping, and delighting in Him, and have youÂ perfectly loved others?â€Â If youâ€™re not sure, consider, for example, Jesusâ€™ intensification of (most of) the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5-7.Â No one has perfectly obeyed God, leaving everyone guilty of sin. Â We have failed to, “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
2. Because no mere human has met God’s standard, everyone has earned God’s judgment.
The truth about humanity is that we are found doubly guilty under Godâ€™s righteous judgment.
a.Â We were born sinful.
â€œTherefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinnedâ€¦â€ (Rom. 5:12).
Obviously, Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before Adam did.Â But Adam was right there with her.Â And while Eve is certainly responsible for her own sin, Scripture attributes that sin to Adam because man is the head of woman (1 Cor. 11:3), and, more specifically, husbands are the heads of their wives (Eph. 5).Â As such, husbands are held accountable and responsible for the sins of their wives.
And Adamâ€™s sin didnâ€™t merelyÂ represent what we would have done had we been in his place (although it certainly did that); in a very mysterious, yet very real way,Â we sinned when Adam sinned.Â This means that we were all ready sinners the moment we were conceived.Â David asserts this very truth when he says, â€œBehold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive meâ€ (Psalm 51:5).Â Another translation reads, â€œSurely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived meâ€ (Psalm 51:5, NIV).Â Similarly, the NLT says, â€œFor I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.â€Â Again, David writes, â€œThe wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.â€Â Furthermore, Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus that they were, â€œby nature children of wrathâ€ (Ephesians 2:3).Â These passages all confirm what is often called the doctrine of original sin, which means that all humans are born in sin.
So, think with me about what this means.Â Iâ€™ve mentioned this in previous weeks, but here is the support for my assertions.Â This means that our issue is much deeper than us having committedÂ sins.Â This is why itâ€™s absolute folly to assume that by our obedience we are going to enter into Godâ€™s presence.Â Such a belief is consistent with Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, and the teaching of the Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses, but is entirely contrary to biblical Christianity.Â The real issue, however, is much deeper than that.Â The biblical understanding of our sin nature is that we are wicked at the very core of who we are. Â As such, we are born guilty of sin, deserving of God’s judgment.
b. We have lived sinfully.
Some object to the previous point, saying, “How is it fair for me to be judged guilty of Adam’s sin when I wasn’t even there?” Â The implication of that statement seems to be that some believe they wouldn’t have done what Adam did. Â Of course, the simplest rebuttal to that assertion is a quick consideration of the way that person (and every person) has lived. Â If we’re honest, we know that we have neither love God perfectly not other people perfectly. Â And the Scripture supports well this same reality.
2 Chronicles 6:36 tells us, â€œâ€¦ there is no one who does not sin.â€Â And in his painfully honest prayer, David writes, â€œIf you, O Lord, should mark our iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?â€Â And again he writes, â€œâ€Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.â€Â Furthermore, Proverbs says, â€œWho can say, â€˜I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin?â€™â€ (Prov. 20:9).Â And in Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes, â€œSurely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sinsâ€ (Eccl. 7:20). Â Similarly, Isaiah said, â€œAll we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own wayâ€ (Is. 53:6).Â Turning to the New Testament, we find Jesus saying, â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.â€Â And, bringing us back to Romans, Paul writes in Romans 3:9-12:
â€œFor we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: â€˜None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands;Â no one seeks for God.Â All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;Â no one does good, not even one.â€™â€
In short, because of who we are from birth and because of the way we have lived since that time, we have all earned God’s judgment.
While there is actually stunningly good news that we will get to very soon (in fact, it’s alluded to in point #2 above: “no mere human…”), we’re going to examine a pretty important question next week: “Is Everyone Really Guilty of Breaking God’s Rules?” Â See you then.