Am I really as bad as the Bible makes me out to be?

The majority of Bible-readers, I assume, whether consciously or unconsciously, have struggled with the question: Am I really as bad as the Bible makes me out to be? The line-of-thought usually goes something like this — ‘Sure, from time to time I do things that displease God – I’m selfish, greedy, indulgent – But most of the time I try to do what I believe is the right thing in any given circumstance. I mean, just last week I helped the little old lady across the street; o ya, and I’m “always” honest at work! I know I do some wrong things, but I’m certainly much better off than Bobby. He lies and cheats and steals. Seriously God, do I really deserve this eternal damnation called hell?’

If we are honest with Scripture and if we take a deep look at our core, I think that we would have to agree with God on this one. Our condemnation is just. You’re not okay. I’m not okay. We are not okay.

The Word of God most certainly makes this proclamation, in case you weren’t sure. David (“The man after God’s own heart”) says, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have NO GOOD apart from you.” (Ps. 16:2) Paul echoes this same acknowledgement later when he says, “There are none that are good, not even one” (Rom 3). The Scripture is clear on this issue. Even the best of men, by human standards, fall infinitely short of God’s standards. The problem is that we don’t understand the holiness of God and the magnitude of our offenses towards him when we sin.

Apart from Scripture, there is the evidence of our actions. We spend an incredible amount of time changing ourselves, putting on masks so to speak, in order to appear in a manner that we think other people will like. Its no secret that we all want to be accepted by others. We fear that if they saw us for what we truly were, they wouldn’t like us. If they could read my thoughts  and see me in my dark times, they wouldn’t care very much for me, we say. So we change. Behind closed doors, however, the real us comes out – the lovers of self. You see, if we’re honest, our very actions confirm God’s judgment. We’re guilty.

But there’s an incredible hope. Here’s the amazing part:

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13)

We might be able to fool other people, but God’s sees us exactly as we are. He sees us in our darkest hour, and so we might expect him to hate us, just as a human would if they saw us in our “real” state. But, we find the exact opposite. He loves us, with a truly awesome, unwavering love! Amazing. God’s love is not conditional like human love. This is so comforting for those who have placed their faith in Christ. He knows all of my faults, my hidden agendas, my messed up motivations, my impure intentions, and still He died for me out of love and he gives me forgiveness and “rest.” There’s absolutely nothing I could do, then, that could separate me from his love. Wow.  That’s true freedom. I can be real with God.

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