“I don’t deserve this.”
Everyone has thought those words or said them at times when going through harsh treatment or very difficult circumstances.
Human beings are so quick to justify their actions and to judge their behavior by their good intentions. However, there is one who judges righteously.
True judgment is not based upon our intentions but upon a static standard of behavior that has been settled for ever in the heavens.
Cultural relevance has no bearing.
There is no moral relativity or historical contextualization.
There is one standard of truth that serves as the plumb line for all behavior, all motives and all attitudes.
This standard of truth is from everlasting to everlasting.
- It was in the heart of God before creation.
- It was the standard of behavior in the Garden of Eden before Eve led Adam in partaking of the forbidden.
- It was the measure by which Noah was declared “righteous in his generation.”
- It is the standard of the Decalogue God wrote on stone for Moses and all generations of those who love God and keep His Commandments.
That standard for behavior did not change in the New Testament.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Apostle John wrote, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1John 2:3-6 NKJV).
An honest look at our own heart, without justifying our motive and excusing our behavior, will bring us to the realization we are exactly what God says.
- We are self-willed and stubborn.
- We are ever seeking our own way.
- We are, indeed, sinners.
Every human being comes out of the womb in that condition.
The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3).
I know we don’t like to think that of a little baby or a small child, but, remember their behavior when you brought that baby home from the hospital.
When they were hungry and you did not nurse them right away, what was their behavior like? Did they wait patiently and kindly for you to find the time to sit and hold them and feed them? They let you know in no uncertain terms they were hungry and they wanted to eat, now!
When the baby began toddling around the house were they immediately obedient or did you have to teach them proper behavior and right manners?
When they became old enough to speak did you have to teach them to tell you a lie to tell you the truth?
Did you have to train your child to be stubborn and self-willed or to be respectful and honoring?
Your child and every child comes out of the womb self-willed and must be trained because they are sinners from birth.
Because we are all sinners from birth we deserve judgment and punishment for our disobedient behavior and our self-willed heart.
God’s plumb line for behavior proves that is true.
Have you ever tried living by the Ten Commandments?
There was a time in our nation’s history when every child in school was taught the Ten Commandments (from 1620 – 1962). In fact, most classrooms had the Ten Commandments on display.
Those ten standards of behavior were the guideline for all good and moral behavior.
But, have you ever tried keeping every single one of them without fail?
The Apostle James wrote, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:10-11NKJV).
Most of us find ourselves doing really well in one or two, maybe even three of the Commandments; then no matter how hard we try, we find ourselves failing to “Honor the Sabbath Day” or “Taking the Lord’s Name in vain” or telling a little white lie to cover up or to protect our self.
Every single one us have stories of no matter how hard we try to be good and do right, we have one or more points in which we do the very thing we have vowed we not do.
We are sinners!
The very purpose of the Ten Commandments is to teach us right and moral behavior and to reveal to our own heart the certainty and the depth of our sinfulness.
We cannot and will never be able to make ourselves righteous by trying to keep the Ten Commandments of God.
We will only reveal our desperate need for a Savior, if we are honest with our own heart.
Because the Decalogue reveals we are sinners, we live under the awful judgment of a perfect and holy God.
Our first parents were given warning to live by the standard of conduct, “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
We have also been given the clear and present danger, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) All who sin will surely die.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12 NKJV).
I don’t think anyone would question whether every human being eventually faces death. It is the one human reality we all try to avoid, ignore, to put off for as long as possible.
But, have you ever asked yourself why all human beings die? The answer is because “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The sad truth is there is a second death.
Physical death does not end a person’s life, it only terminates their part of human history and life on planet earth.
After physical death they continue to live because their soul and spirit continues to exist beyond the earthly grave.
The only question is where will they continue their existence? Do they continue to live in Heaven with God or do they continue to live separated from their Creator in the fires of torment – the second death?
All sinners will find themselves living in the fires of torment.
- No excuse will be accepted.
- No tolerance will be given.
- No amount of personal justification will change the mind of the Eternal Great Judge.
The standard by which your life, attitude, motive and behavior is measured has been eternally set in Heaven by Almighty God, before He created the human race.
We are sinners in desperate need of mercy; that which we do not deserve and we cannot earn.
We can only receive mercy at the hands of the greater.
Mankind cannot give us mercy.
Earthly courts and human culture cannot give us mercy.
Eternal mercy can only come from the One who set the standard and wrote it in stone.
Eternal mercy can only be given based when the required ransom of mercy has been paid.
The Great and Awesome God, who wrote the standard has chosen of His own volition to give mercy to those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it.
He made the decision no one coerced Him, to pay the ransom price for mercy, Himself.
He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, took your sin upon Himself and paid the ransom price on the cross of Calvary to redeem you from sin.
You no longer have to justify yourself, He will give you true justification.
You no longer have to make an excuse for your attitude or your actions, He will forgive them and remove from you as far as the east is from the west.
You no longer have to live under the judgment, shame and condemnation of past failures, His mercy will bring the washing of regeneration and they will never be remembered against you again.
Mercy, that which we cannot earn and do not deserve, has been offered to you through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is received when you authentically admit, “I am a sinner and deserve judgment.”
Then turn away from your sin, and turn to Almighty God, begging for His mercy to save you.
Confess your sin and self-willed living.
Ask Him to forgive you and to give you a new heart.
He is ready and He is willing to hear your cry and to answer with mercy.
“Mercy there was great and grace was free.
Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burden soul found liberty.
(At Calvary, William R. Newell, 1895).