Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
Imagine a doctor walking up to you and saying, “We got it all and you’re going to be just fine.” On their own, those words have no impact.
Now imagine that you have been told that you have a tumor. Doctors said that it did not look good. They need to do surgery right away. A few hours after you wake up, your doctor walks into your room and confidently says, “We got it all and you’re going to be just fine.” You would be ecstatic.
In order for good news to carry any weight, we have to first start with the bad news.
You’re not as good as you think you are
I went to a Christian college where people liked to debate theological issues. Dinner tables were the battlegrounds where Calvinism and Arminianism was argued. For the most part, I stayed out of these debates. I was too busy focusing on important issues like who the Atlanta Falcons should get to play quarterback for them.
But there was one topic that caught my attention. Is man naturally good or naturally evil? This baffled me. All one had to do was turn on the news to find the answer. Or just read Romans. We are born with a sin problem. We are all naturally bad.
More than that, in our natural state, we are enemies of God (Ephesians 2:1-3). We like to see ourselves as the hero of God’s story. But we aren’t. We are not as good as we think we are.
Your morality isn’t as helpful as you think it is
In New Testament times, there were some Jews who went to great lengths to keep the law. They even kept laws that God never gave. On the surface at least, their morality and religiosity would make most of us look like pagans. But God looks beneath the surface. And it was there where those religious elites failed to keep the law.
Paul’s point in these verses is that if people who have devoted their whole lives to keeping the law can’t keep the law, there is no hope for the rest of us apart from Christ. No matter how upstanding our lives may be, if all of our hope for being justified before God is found in our own morality, we are doomed.
One thing in common with everyone person on the planet
Paul does not tell us in this verse that all of the Methodists or all of the politicians have sinned. He just says all have sinned. Our differences in this world are great. But the one thing that unites us is the one thing that most of us do not want to admit. We have a very big sin problem.
This is all really bad news but remember, it’s not the end of the story.