Going Deeper with the Message:
The God Who Rescues Sinners
by: Andrew Archer
From my experience, one of the most common and unfortunate misunderstandings I see in regards to Christianity has to do with perhaps the most important part—the Gospel. Many people tend to believe that we are saved by our good deeds; that if we are generally good people, we will be in heaven with God after we die.
For most of us, we would consider ourselves as relatively good people. I mean, I’m no Mother Teresa, but I’m also not as bad as Hitler; I’m somewhere in the middle. So, because we wouldn’t put ourselves in the “evil” category, that means we must be “good” right? Well, this really begs a couple of questions. First, “how good is good enough?” And the second is tied to it: “if God is Holy and perfect, doesn’t that mean that we would have to be perfect as well?” You don’t need me to tell you this, but no one is perfect.
When we look to God’s word, not only do we learn that His standard is perfection, but it also says that “There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10-12, 23 CSB). What Paul is telling us here is that God doesn’t grade on a curve. Everyone has fallen short of God’s standard, and because of that we are all in the same boat. You, me, Mother Teresa, and Hitler—none of us can earn our way into heaven by being good. Well, if God’s standard is perfection, and we can’t meet the standard, what is the solution?
The good news and solution to our situation is what Tim shared this past Sunday. It is that God is able to rescue anyone—no one is beyond His reach. That includes us. We read later in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This truth that God loves and wants to rescue sinners only truly begins to impact us when we realize that apart from God, that is who we are. We are all ones in desperate need of rescue, and that is precisely what God wants to —rescue us.
Living out the Message:
The Problem of Pride
By Michelle Lemley
We had a confusing evening in my house recently. My oldest son, who is 10, was having trouble making his bed. We have worked on it in the past, showing him how to line up the fitted sheet and pull it over each corner, then tuck in the flat sheet and cover it all with the pillow and comforter. But it was late, and he just couldn’t get it. My husband offered to help him, but he just sat and cried instead.
I was so frustrated. Why couldn’t he just accept the help that he was being offered? Why was he being so stubborn? I know he didn’t want this job, but he had to do it before he could go to bed and he just couldn’t calm down and ask for help. He must have gotten that attitude from his father…
My sister-in-law has a theory about this behavior whenever we see it in any of our kids. She calls it a problem of pride. We spend so much time telling our kids what to do, that they just want to have a little independence, and they don’t want to accept that they don’t know how to do something; that they need help.
I sometimes treat my kids like they are some sort of foreign, unknown beings. Their needs can be so confusing, and I feel like I don’t speak their language. It’s not until I step back and think about how I would react in their situation that I can start to understand, but this can be hard in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When they’re screaming about wanting a cookie, I have to calm myself down and think about what need is really not being met, and what’s causing their breakdown. Are they hungry? Feeling left out? Do they just need my attention? Is the problem of pride keeping them from asking for help?
Stepping back and recognizing that my children are just little people often causes me to reflect on my own needs, and to think about the reasons for my own feelings and behaviors. What is really causing me to feel frustrated, or keeping me from finishing a much needed task? Am I burdened by feelings of worry or inadequacy that are causing me to act out? And who can I turn to with these problems? There’s always one Heavenly Father who can help me no matter what.
Join me this week in recognizing when I have a problem with pride; when I need help, even if it’s something that I think I should be able to handle on my own. Join me in turning to the Lord and His Word for guidance and reassurance, no matter how big (or small) the problem, and to accept the help that He offers.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ James 4:6