Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The state of man

People who believe that they are good trust in their goodness to save them in this life and to get them to heaven one day. These days many turn to humanitarian tactics and perform religious duties believing that morality is equal to sanctity. How deceived are they! How deceived are we when we place our confidence in our flesh and not in the Son of God! How deceived are we when we seek the praises of men rather than the praises of God! We imitate Christian attributes yet have no experience with Jesus. In our might we perform religious duties and the world applauds us. Watchman Nee said, “Show the world the fruits of Christianity and it will applaud you but show it real Christianity and it will oppose you.” Many are deceived reckoning that their kindness, generosity, or pleasant faces reveal that they are Christian. I say that they are deceived because it doesn’t take a Christian to show kindness, to give and to imitate religious attributes, anyone can do that. Your goodness doesn’t entail salvation; that only comes by genuine repentance from a sinful lifestyle and faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Instead of being a light in a sinful world Christians desire a stamp of approval for their good deeds. Jesus did not care for the love of the world, he says in John3:19, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” He always stood up for the truth regardless of what the world thought about him because his confidence was in God and not man. He knew the state of man.

While in Jerusalem many people saw the miraculous signs that Jesus performed and they believed in him. (John2:23). “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them for he knew all men.” Jesus was not impressed by gaining approval from the masses. He could see beyond their praise, their religious attendance, or their attires. Man’s state is not hidden from the Lord for even the darkest chambers are illuminated in His light. The bible says that Jesus “did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (John2:25.) Man covers his true state by performing and those around him are convinced of his goodness but God is not impressed by performance. Honesty is key. Come to God in contrition and acknowledge your wretched state. Proverbs27:19 says, “As water reflects the face, so the heart of a man reflects the man.” When I look into my heart all I see is jealousy towards others, covetousness to those who seem to be “more blessed” than I am, pride about what I do or what I have…when I look into my heart I see the real me. Arouse my sexual senses and like a starved animal I will indulge. Praise me and I will pride in it.  That is my true state. I might fool you with my good deeds but Jesus knows the state of my heart and my faith in Him is my only hope.

Even a famous king could not conceal the state of his heart. King David a man who publicly defeated Goliath and performed many great virtues was susceptible to adultery, lies, and murder. He cried out “Create in me a pure heart, O God”. He saw the filthiness of his own state, and cried out for mercy. He knew that prestige would not suffice. Many are deceived and glory in their education. They glory in their well-built bodies, careers, great families, and fame, yet so naked, pitiful and wretched.  It’s time for the world to wake up from the bed of ignorance and pride, the true Light is shining! Come; expose the state of your heart in the light. Come and receive mercy and obtain grace in times of need. Not only King David but C.S Lewis also related his own convictions, “When I come to my evening prayers and I try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to mind is that the provocation was so sudden or unexpected, I was caught off my guard, I had no time to collect myself…Surely what a man does when he is taken off guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth. If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows what an ill-tempered man I am…Now that cellar is out of reach of my conscious will. I cannot by direct moral effect, give myself new motives. After the first few steps we realise that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.”

“God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things.”~1John3:20

For me this verse gives me hope. The fact that my heart is so wicked, it deceives not only me but also those I care for, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as I meditate on the verse above. If God is greater than my heart that means my only source of truth can only be found in Him. I don’t have to worry about the state of my heart because my hope is in Him, He knows all things. I know that if I am sure of my sinful state which is ever before me, I can be equally sure of His ability to forgive, to purge, and to cleanse me. If it were not so I would be without hope. I would carry my immorality, pride, and every other sin to eternity; and that would keep me in distress. But just as King David I can cry out, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgression and my sin is ever before me. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence or take your Holy Spirit away from me.”
As wonderful as they are good works will not save you. Through man’s applause continually examine yourself under God’s light, for what we so highly esteem can be an abomination to the Lord. Cry out to the Lord for salvation and He will deliver you. He doesn’t look at your physical appearance, you don’t even need a qualification; He is drawn towards a contrite heart, man that is fully aware of his human state.

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