If the Law ( or laws ) could make us holy, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the Cross. No state-appointed law is going to make us clean for Him. He is SO HOLY that we don’t stand a chance. If we could make ourselves holy, then Jesus died for nothing. I think Paul says that quite eloquently. At any rate, think on it. It IS extremely tempting to think that finger pointing and condemnation will make another person BETTER, but it doesn’t work. Only the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST can make any one of us WHOLE again. Without Him, not one of us is CLEAN.
– Carley Evans, July 25th, 2013
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9, KJV)
I’ve heard people say this; I must admit the statement always surprises me. I’ve never said this because I’ve never accomplished this feat. I’m able to say, “Jesus made my heart clean, so I am pure from my sin.” But, I can’t say, I never sin.
To believe you never sin — that’s equivalent to believing you are perfect. You never make a mistake, you never do less than your very best, you never strike back, you never take more than your share, you never speak ill of another, you never go to bed with worry or anger in your heart, you never fail to notice someone’s pain, you never fail to help, you never roll your eyes, you never look away, you never forget to care, you never turn your back, you never run away.
I can not imagine.
I can know that Jesus is such a person. Like the lamb slaughtered as a substitute for people who sin, so Jesus substitutes Himself for me. His death on the cross wipes away my sins, though they be as red as the tide befouled by algae. And so, I stand pure before His Father in heaven.
I’m always disturbed by Christians who denounce that God is primarily love — Christians who proclaim that God is primarily a being of wrath, retribution, punishment. God demands holiness, for sure. Our holiness, however, is due only to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who is, of course, God Himself. Without God within, we are not — in the least — holy.
Paul writes of “the most excellent way” in his letter to the church at Corinth. He says ultimately speaking in tongues, prophecy, generosity, even great faith and hope — if these exist in a vacuum devoid of love — then they are nothing; they gain nothing for us or for God.
The most excellent way is the way of love. Paul writes, “Follow the way of love.” (1 Corinthians 14:1, NIV)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV)
When the young rich man calls Jesus a ‘good teacher,’ Jesus immediately responds, “Only God the Father is good; why do you call Me good?”
What’s Jesus mean? He’s the Son of God! He’s perfect!
The author of Hebrews writes of Jesus learning obedience and so attaining perfection, as if Jesus is not born perfect. Jesus, after all, spends 40 days and nights in the wilderness where He is tempted by Satan himself. Jesus withstands each temptation, triumphing. In the garden of Gethsemane, again He is tempted — almost to the point of death — by Satan himself to renounce God the Father’s plan, and escape the cross of Calvary. But, Jesus withstands this ultimate temptation and prevails against evil.
If Jesus’ self-perception is that only the Father is good, how is it that any one of us feels justified to claim holiness? Rather, shouldn’t we, along with our Lord, say: “Good? Me? Why do you call me good?”
Father God, give us humility. In Jesus’ Name, amen.