Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
The following story is one of our favorites. As the mama returns after a few moments away, she is greeted enthusiastically at the door by little Tommy, who announces, “Mommy, mommy, Jimmy hit me back.” Let’s face it even when we are caught with our hand in the cookie jar and with crumbs on our face and hands, it is often very difficult to admit our own guilt. Today let’s do some thinking together about our common dilemma, and what can be done about it.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the first brief 108-minute orbital flight around the earth April 12, 1961 in Vostok 1, and reportedly announced (by atheistic Russian officials) in a presumptuous, cocky, arrogant manner, “I did not see God out there, so He must not exist.” Gherman Titov said similar stuff. We might scoff at such shallow observations and conclusions, but maybe some of us are similarly guilty.
For example, do you think it is fair of God to hold us to a standard of perfection? He may be perfect, but we’re only human, right? Why wouldn’t He lower the standard, or at least grade on the curve? Even some stiff college professors grade on the curve.
But let’s consider some more questions. Could you really honor, serve, and worship a God who adjusted His standards to a societal norm, when that very society was rebelling against Him, His truth, and His character? Quite often there are two sides to the coin that should prompt questions beyond those that we begin with. I maintain that virtually none of us would respect a God who lowered His standards because His creation was opposing Him.
But if God holds mankind to a standard of perfection and holiness, but man generally falls way short of that standard, how can God solve that dilemma? To make matters worse, God tells us in the book of Romans that when we break one of His laws it is the same as breaking all of His laws since we become a lawbreaker. This sounds hopeless to me, and it is. But God specializes in hopeless and impossible situations.
Our failures to meet His standards and our willingness to disobey, rebel, and rationalize our stubborn sinfulness, are not a surprise to God. He knew about this and made a plan to solve it before He created anything at all according to the book of Ephesians. He planned for us to be holy and without blame, but how could that possibly be? The answer is His son Jesus Christ whom He made to become sin for us, sacrificing his perfect life to pay 100% for all our sins. Then He made Jesus to become four main things for all who would humbly receive him as their Lord and Savior: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. So now, all who have personally accepted Jesus and His payment for our sins are seen as righteous and perfect when God looks at us through the blood of His son.
God did not lower His standard, but instead He cleansed us and dressed us in the perfect righteousness of Christ so that we could stand holy and without blame or shame in His presence forever. Surely our magnificent God continues to solve impossible problems for our good and His glory, even when we judge and criticize him, totally devoid of understanding, appreciation, and reverential awe.
Are you still among the crowd of naysayers, judges, and critics of God like Gagarin or Titov, or have you bowed your knee to Jesus and confessed Him publicly as your majestic Lord and Savior?