Yesterday, we started our discussion on the death of an unbeliever. So far, we have established that few will enter the kingdom of God, that frauds will not, and that Jesus is the only means to salvation. Today, let’s ponder another question or two before we move on. The first is why doesn’t everyone simply go to heaven. Why must we be forgiven in the first place? The answer to this is found in the first three chapters of Romans. Let’s summarize it with these three verses:
Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Like it or not, my friends, that is the state of the ENTIRETY of humanity. Not one single person, by him/herself is righteous. No one understands. No one seeks God. Not even one. Zero.
This concept is very important to grasp if we desire to understand how salvation works, and indeed we should if we desire to be saved and that others may be saved as well. You see, this is the way God has determined things to be. If any one person was either inherently good on his/her own – or could obtain goodness by his/her own means – then God would not be one. God is holy and without sin. If you or I could do that on our own, then we would rival God. God will have none of that. We see that plain as the nose on our faces in what appears to be where sin first entered the picture. If you recall, Satan wasn’t always the chief of fallen angels.
Isaiah 14:12-15 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Indeed, God prevents humans from attaining this as well:
Romans 11:32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
The word “may” does not mean “will.” To be inherently sin free or to be able to free ourselves from sin is not allowed. It cannot happen. God has the ability to forgive our sins, but we don’t.
What’s the big deal about all this, anyways? What’s the big hairy deal about sin? This question, in and of itself, demonstrates exactly what the problem with sin is. You see, we minimize sin and justify it so that we might continue to do as we please. The more we continue to do that, the farther we find ourselves from God. More and more, we get farther and farther from Him. In Romans 1, we find that God reveals himself, generally, in nature, so that no one has an excuse for not thanking or honoring God. Instead, we make up our own gods to worship. The more this happens, the more God lets us do it. We start down that slippery slope and commit sin that is more horrendous as we go. Case in point, today, almost worldwide, homosexuality is now considered normal when only a few years ago it was considered deviant behavior and officially classified as mental illness. Just this week, the State of New York celebrated new legislation that effectively removed penalties from abortion and legitimized terminating pregnancies up to the point of birth! Since 1980, 1.5 BILLION abortions have been conducted worldwide. This is a scale inconceivable (this is no pun) only a few decades ago. We are given clear examples of this type of depravity in the Old Testament, with God’s chosen people.
Jeremiah 32:26-35 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger – their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
Wikipedia says that in 2014, our government spent $528 million in direct aid to Planned Parenthood, 40% of its revenue. PP is the nations largest abortion provider. Our ‘kings and officials,’ in just a few decades, have endorsed, on a wholesale basis, the sacrifice of millions upon millions of babies. This slaughter is unprecedented in history. Recently, a coalition of religious authorities have conducted blessing ceremonies of Planned Parenthood operations. Men and women of the cloth are blessing these slaughterhouses!
That’s the state of our society. I cannot read the Old Testament and think, “Wow, these people were really bad!” and not be sickened by what I see in our world today. They weren’t any worse than us. We are far worse than them!
Now, let’s not think for a minute that pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage folks are off the hook. We have our own serious, serious problems. Here’s the deal, we are ALL blind to the true extent of our own personal sin. Sure, we may not be as depraved as the next person, but we have so immersed in our sin that we can’t even see the true condition we are in. Even those who have had their eyes opened through salvation are amazed at how blind they continue to be.
Even so, we intentionally keep sinning.
Is it any wonder that we cannot attain our own righteousness? Yet, we insist that we can. In all of creation, there is nothing that fights as deliberately and ferociously against its Creator as mankind. Until we get a grasp of this fact, we will never be able to comprehend that God is just, right, and good to condemn the entire human race to eternal judgement. Nor will we be able to appreciate the incomprehensible mercy and kindness of a God who forgives even one single human.
Father have mercy. Amen.