The argument against humanism was that you can't better yourself. Because there is a better way.
Yet one of our human instincts that seems to set us apart from the animals is that we want to do better. This past week we've been reading about the point in Jesus' ministry where He is approaching the cross. Sweet, independent Shelby told us:
"I'll save myself."
She's only four. She's grown up immersed in Christianity and Bible stories. Yet there it is. We think we can save ourselves. We try to save ourselves. We make vows and promises and try to haggle with God. And at our worse we let go and even become something less than human. Sometimes that it what it takes to realize we do need saving.
After disappointing the rich young ruler with the news that what he had done was not enough, Jesus' disciples wanted to know just who CAN be saved, if we can't save ourselves:
"'Then who can be saved?' And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
- Matthew 19:25b-26What Jesus meant is that we can't save ourselves. We can't follow the rules enough. They weren't made to fix our relationship with God ... they were made to show us it was broken. To break our hearts for what we have lost, what is missing, enough to send us searching for it.
So who CAN be saved? You. Yes, I may not know you but I can tell you that you CAN be saved.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
-Romans 10:13To some that doesn't seem fair. Some of the people who feel that way call themselves Christians, and some may be people who generally lead good lives and do good things and are generous to others. But our goodness is like dirty laundry to God.
It is so much better than fair. Fair is me paying the consequence, the price, for my sin. Death. Not just the death of this finite body on this dying planet ... eternal death. Believe it or not, God isn't rubbing His hands together with glee waiting for you to mess up so He can strike you with a lightening bolt, like some cartoon Zues.
"... who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is on God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all."
- 1 Timothy 2:4-6God loved you, and me, and the rapist, murderer, child-molestor, genocidal-maniacal dictator ... He loved all of us fumbling, confused children enough to send His own Son, His perfect one, to do what we couldn't. To live a perfect life and trade His spotless record for our own. Instead of each of us paying our own pentality with our own death, His one brutal, humiliating, degrading, bloody death on the cross paid the price once and for all for anyone who would accept it. A better way. The ONLY way.
"'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved ...'"
- Acts 16:30b-31aWhen Paul and Silas stopped the Roman soldier from committing suicide ... thinking they had escaped from prison under his watch ... he saw something was different. He saw the power of their God to break their chains and the power of their faith keep them in place without them.
That is what my life is supposed to be doing for you. I can't live a perfect life, only Jesus did that. But I pray every day I am doing His work, the things only He can do through me, that someone watching me gets a glimpse of Him instead.
Because we all need a hero, and my life's work is to introduce you, and my children, to Him.
"... that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved ...'Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
- Romans 10: 9 and 13