Malpais Lava Flow; Carrizozo, New Mexico
June 12, 2021
When we live on the earth, we are constantly reminded of mankind’s propensity to sin and willingness to do evil. We can easily see this by looking at how we have performed throughout history; in the evil times that engulf us in America today; in the lives of people who surround us in our places of work and residence; and, indeed, we even see it regularly in our very own lives! If we spend much time thinking about it, it can seem like mankind is hopelessly flawed and beyond redemption or remedy. And the futility of hoping and sincerely even trying to be purely good, without lasting success, has the potency to push us towards just throwing up our hands and giving up. Why try, we might lament to ourselves, our efforts never work for very long anyway! Such can be the unyielding feelings of disappointment and even despair that we must wrestle with and live with if we are human beings. And the sad thing is that when humans are working with humans in an attempt to create a kind of utopia on earth, they will never succeed! Let me repeat that: Humans alone will never achieve anything even close to sinless perfection on earth.
God has actually designed and then fashioned life for human beings to be like this for a specific purpose. That purpose is twofold: First, so that we will see for ourselves how hard and virtually impossible it is for us to personally live the holy and perfect lives that many of us desire. Secondly, we are all made to feel firsthand the sting of sin and the disgusting nature of sin and evil, as others selfishly and regularly sin against us and those close to us. And this continues to happen despite all the laws we pass, the punishments we hand down, and the prisons that we fill up. And that is only what the corporate civil laws and courts impose on people. A far greater duty that the spiritually aware face, is trying to obey the will of God as detailed in the Bible, to fulfill the intensely personal dictates of our consciences, and to come to grips with the guilt we feel every day from our failures, omissions, and sins. It can often seem like life it set up to discourage us, but the opposite is true. We are actually being goaded to turn to sources of help from both man and God when in desperate need. This pushes us away from selfishness and pride and towards humility and contrition for our sins. It is in this place that we begin to clearly see who we are, and our need for God, as well as our fellow men, to lift us up and forgive us. It is within this humility of heart and need that we are able to turn to God our maker and sincerely say, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ This is when we are ready to give up our prideful solitary efforts at perfection, as well as our excuses for sin, and reach out to receive a new nature and heart from God. It is when you feel a kind of hopelessness within yourself, that life has done its work and your heart is finally ready to partner with your Creator. Then God will say, ‘Come close, my child, and receive what I have always wanted for my children, the gift of part of my Divinity and perfection for eternity.’ This is what all men were made for, not hell and damnation as adversaries of God. No one has the power to take this gift from you. That power comes exclusively from our own personal refusal to accept this gift by turning away from humbly obeying God, and rejecting sorrow and contrition for our sins. Ask yourself, is the refusal to humble yourself before God like this worth losing eternal bliss in heaven with God forever? No!! Humbling yourself is not a loss of personal self, as some think, but a gain of the Divine!
God started early in teaching this truth to mankind, one of the best illustrations being found in the book of Psalms, written over 2,500 years ago. In Psalm 51, a psalm of King David, the words are penned following David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet:
“Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.” Verses 11-14.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” Verse 19.
We all sin, and we all need to become like David, where in our hearts we sorrowfully repent of sin and seek forgiveness and healing from God. The opposite of a humble and contrite heart, is one which is arrogant and self-righteous. Having that kind of heart is the only thing that has the power to keep us out of heaven, for it elevates us above God our maker, and pushes him away. Since heaven is to live in the presence of God forever, when your arrogance pushes God away, it pushes heaven away at the same time. Arrogance is defined by Webster’s as ‘being full of pride; haughty.’ When your spirit is bloated with pride and self, then self becomes your ruler. When self is your ruler, you leave no room for God, and he must then take a position of being under your rule, and therefore subjected to being assessed and evaluated by you. This is how you become self-righteous, brought about by stubbornly following your own personal standards, rather than subjecting yourself to God’s standard of holiness and perfection. Placing yourself above God like this is the unpardonable sin, the sin that will surely send you to hell! The Bible is replete with warnings not to do this, and if you do anyway, you condemn yourself. This is something that everyone reading this should seriously and prayerfully contemplate. This is especially important for us to understand in the era in which we now live, where exalting one’s self and selfishness, and stubbornly following our own narrow way, is often taught as being the highest perfection of self. Beware, it actually will destroy self!:
“Do you suppose it is to no purpose that Scripture says, ‘The spirit he has implanted in us tends towards jealousy: Yet he bestows a greater gift, for the sake of which it is written, ‘God resists the proud but bestows favor on the lowly.’ Therefore submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you backsliders. Begin to lament, to mourn, and to weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high.” James 4, 5-10
“The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23, 12.
Jesus came to earth that we might be saved from our sins, as he suffered and died on the cross in our place for the forgiveness of those very sins. But, we must humble ourselves, confess those sins, and turn to God to receive that forgiveness. God does not require sinlessness and perfection to make it to heaven, but rather a humble and contrite heart. The following scripture reveals the human condition that we are all born into, as well as the remedy. Read it carefully, obey its message, and you will surely enter heaven when you die. All of your worries will be over, and you will be able to truly live in peace:
“You must realize that, when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one you obey, whether yours is the slavery of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to justice.” Romans 6, 16.
“When you were slaves of sin, you had freedom from justice. What benefit did you then enjoy? Things you are now ashamed of, all of them tending toward death. But now that you are freed from sin and have become slaves of God, your benefit is sanctification as you tend toward eternal life. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6, 20-23
And, finally, don’t forget that it is never too late to turn to God in repentance. No one is too far gone or too old; all you have to do is make the decision, prepare your will, and do it, like the ‘good thief’ on the cross:
“One of the criminals hanging in crucifixion blasphemed him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Then save yourself and us.’ But the other one rebuked him: ‘Have you no fear of God, seeing you are under the same sentence? We deserve it, after all. We are only paying the price for what we’ve done, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ He then said ‘Jesus, remember me when you enter upon your reign.’ And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: this day you will be with me in paradise.'” Matthew 23, 39-43