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Understanding our Great Salvation: (Part 1) The Bad News

What is salvation? How does one “get saved”? To put it quite simply, to be saved we must truly know ourselves and we must truly know God. I have bad news and I have good news. The bad news deals with who we are in God’s sight and the good news is what God has decided to do about it. I am going to give the troubling news first because that will make the good news all that sweeter when it comes. Well then, here is the bad news. You are not perfect. Now, that was not so hard. Everyone will readily admit that he is not perfect. “Sure,” we say, “I have my faults and weaknesses; I am not perfect.” But the problem is that we do not ask why we have faults and weaknesses. The old 49er’s, the gold hunters would pan for gold in a mountain stream. They would find a few specks of gold dust, a small nugget or two. Then they would look for the mother lode, the place where all the gold dust and small nuggets had originated. They were looking for the source, the fountain of that stream of gold. We should do the same thing with our faults and weaknesses, our sins and imperfections. Where do they all come from? Is there a source, a fountainhead, or a mother lode for these sins? Yes, there is. “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Gen. 6:5) The thoughts of our hearts are only evil continually. We are sinful to the very core of our beings. Now that is bad news. What would you think of a doctor who treated only the obvious symptoms and not the dreaded disease? If he said, “You have a terrible infection; I will give you something for the searing pain and something for the burning fever, but nothing for the infection,” I think that you would be looking for another, more competent, doctor. Friend, your sins are not merely mistakes, or bad judgments, or a temporary slip of your moral compass; but rather your sins are the evidence of a disease called sinfulness. We are sinners by our very nature. Just as a bird flies because he is a bird, we sin because we are sinners. Now don’t misunderstand. Every man is not as bad as he can possibly be. But every part of man, his mind, his body, his emotion, has been devastated by sin, like a hand mirror that falls to the ground. It is not shattered into as many pieces as possible, but every part of that mirror is broken and useless. Every faculty of our human nature has fallen. Because of our sins and sinfulness we cannot do anything good in the eyes of God. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12) Now don’t misunderstand again. All men can do good things in the eyes of their fellow men. They can built a sturdy bridge, they can bake a delicious French silk pie. But they cannot do spiritual good in the eyes of God. They cannot save themselves. In other words, they cannot do anything to earn the favor and smile of God anymore. We cannot clean up the mess that we have made of ourselves. Have you ever hiked along a mountain trail in the autumn? It is beautiful to behold God’s hand in nature. Have you ever noticed a fallen tree? Somehow it seems fitting and appropriate in the middle of the woods. But have you ever rolled that fallen tree over to notice the caterpillars, and roaches, and rolly-pollies as they scurry for darkness? You are like that fallen tree. On the outside you can look alive and attractive, but inside you are full of all uncleanness. I have bad news for you today. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. And we cannot save ourselves nor do anything good in the eyes of God. We are rebels against the God who has given us life. That truth, when acknowledged, will cause a man to cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as we close. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Here is hope for sinners in Jesus Christ.

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