Friday, October 24, 2014

Self-Exam

Some of you may still balk at the teaching that all humans possess sin natures and therefore stand condemned before a holy God. I understand. I could, I suppose, keep showing you Scriptures that verify our inherent sinfulness in hopes that my tenacity will wear you down. But I know better.

I know that only the Holy Spirit has the power to open someone's eyes to the truth. He calls me, as He calls all Christians, to proclaim His Word, but He  never holds me accountable for how people respond. Those whom He has called to salvation will respond to the Scriptures and the Gospel message because the Father draws them to Himself by the Holy Spirit.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. ~~1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
So, even though I realize that the Gospel hinges on a person recognizing his (or her) intrinsic sinfulness, I believe I need to move on to the good news that Jesus died to provide a remedy for sin. But before we turn that corner, let me challenge you to look honestly at yourselves. 

Look at Jesus' Sermon On The Mount in Matthew 5-7. Here...I've linked to Matthew 5 at BibleGateway.com to make it easier for you. To get to chapters 6 and 7, click the > thingy to the right of the text body. As you read, ask the Lord to help you see how you measure up to God's standards. When I read this sermon two weeks before the Lord brought me to salvation, I only got to Matthew  5:8 before I saw my wretchedness. Can you get farther?

I'll leave you to read these words of Jesus, the Incarnate God. As you ask the Spirit to examine you though these chapters, I pray that He will particularly draw your attention to Jesus' warning:
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~~Matthew 5:20 (ESV)

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