Genesis 6:5 Herein lies the problem
While mankind is capable of some good and beautiful things, at his core, his nature is wicked and his heart and mind are bent toward evil. There are no “good” or “innocent” people. Our culture would have us believe that all people are basically good and learn bad behavior. If anything, the Bible tells us that all people are born bad and learn good behavior. Just watch little kids. Do you have to teach them to be selfish? Do you have to teach them to hit when they get angry or to take what they want from other kids? We have to teach out kids how to behave well, not bad. It’s our nature. It is because of this nature that our greatest need in life is not to try and earn God’s approval with good behavior, but to get a new nature. The argument, “I’m a good person. I’m not as bad as some.” is irrelevant. The Bible tells us that there is none that is good, no not one, except for God. Our need is for our old nature to die and to be given a new nature. We are incapable of doing this. This is what Jesus came to do. Do you have a new nature? Have you “put off the old man”? Are you being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”? Don’t numb the symptom, cure the disease. We are all born S.I.N. positive. The cure is Jesus.
Psalm 7:1-5 Accountability
While no one enjoys punishment, we have this built-in need for it when we know we have done something wrong. Sometimes stuff happens in our lives and it feels like we are being chased by the bad guys. Instead of trying to justify ourselves we need to seek refuge in the Lord. Instead of looking for man’s wisdom as to why this is happening to us, go to the Lord and reflect. Sometimes stuff happens because God is tempering us like steel. At other times it’s God trying to get our attention so that we will come to Him and He can deal with it in us. That is a much better alternative than having God deal with it without us. We need accountability. We need to do “heart checks” from time to time. Are you feeling pursued by something that want to chew you up into tiny little bits? Take refuge in the Lord. Let Him look you over and point out what you may have overlooked.
Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 It’s not the “what” it’s the “why”
The difference between legalism and holiness is where your heart it. The religious leaders of Jesus time had taken the Law and made it all about the letter and not the Spirit behind it. It became all about what you did and it had nothing to do with one’s heart. What did God care about? The heart. “The heart is desperately wicked above all thing, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” God gave His law, not just to give us a list of do’s and don’t-do’s, but to show us our need for Him. Jesus is trying to communicate that it isn’t just the act of murder that is the problem, it’s the heart behind it. If it’s in the heart, whether the action is done or not, the sin is already a done deal. The act of killing itself isn’t an evil thing. (gasp!) After all, “the wages of sin is death.” What was the consequence of disobeying God in the garden? Death. After the flood God said that if one person murders another, that murder should be executed. So the problem isn’t the killing, it’s the reason, the heart behind it. The same thing is true of sex. Sex isn’t a bad or evil thing. God created it. But sex done with the wrong motives and in the wrong context is evil in God’s eyes. The one occupied with legalism asks, “Is this OK to do?” The one occupied with holiness asks, “Does this honor God?” If it dishonors God, if the action and the heart behind it bring dishonor to God, it’s sin. If the thing doesn’t dishonor God, if the motives are pure and the context of the thing is Biblically appropriate, then praise God with it. Golf, dancing, music, sex, woodworking, car building, art, all of these things are just actions. They can all be done to the glory of God. But if the heart behind them and the context in which they are being done are contrary to God’s ways, it is sin. The next time you find yourself asking, “Is this OK to do?” Try changing the question to, “Does this honor God?”, see what God says, then act accordingly.