But I Don’t Need Saving….

Aaron Ireland

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he the doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God
John 3:18-21

It is an offense to the carnal mind that a sacrifice is required for God would consider him to be righteous. There is a tendency to compare ourselves to others, in hope that we can find more people who are “worse” than us, than those that are “better” than us. Call it insecurity, call it what you will, but there is something in our make up that recoils at the thought of not being good enough.

And then along comes Jesus telling us that we are “condemned already”. “Foul! Not fair!”, we cry. How can it be that we are condemned without consideration of our merits? Is He that insecure that He condemns any who refuse to believe in his name.

The answer lies in our understanding of the nature of sin. First we start with a working definition:

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
James 4:17

So here we see that sin is defined as “doing that which one knows they shouldn’t be doing”, or worse yet, “not doing what one know they should be doing”. There is no room for unawareness, only negligent ignorance. Man sees something that he wants, and will not let righteousness stands in his way. In other words:

Let know man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempeth he any man:
But every man tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
The when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
James 1:14-15

It is man’s “own lust” that causes him to choose sin, nothing else. Essentially, sinful man chooses to cast aside God’s lawful right to rule over his life, in order to submit to his “own lust”. A choice is made:

…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
John 4:4b

A line in the sand is drawn. We are either for or against God. While this might sound limiting, consider the logic of Scripture. We have chosen to side against the “Benevolent One”. The one that constrains us, both for our protection, and for those around us. The One who’s “royal law” is defined as “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, impartially (James 2:8-9). To contradict that, is to selfishly use people, to the extreme, or at least to excluded those that we consider unworthy of our attention.

Sin is the outcome of a relationship set up between man and the devil whereby the man becomes “boss” over himself, his own God.
Oswald Chambers (Biblical Ethics)

And yet, God sent his Son to save the world, rather than condemn it (John 3:17). Our choice regarding that one, is our choice with God. Jesus; coming was an invitation to rebels to cease their rebellion, and come home. The sinner is saved from his very self, his stubborn insistence to deny the Benevolent God His right to rule.

But like any rebel, their works are done in darkness (John 3:19-20), which should not surprise us because “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). If only they could hear the exhortation given to Cain:

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:6-7

The thing is, even if Cain did hear, it did him no good:

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Genesis 4:8

I find myself wondering what Cain and Abel discussed. Perhaps Abel naively spake of God’s blessings, hoping that his brother would join him. It would seem that all Cain could think of was God’s rejection of the sacrifice of the work of his hands (vv3-5). Cain’s murder of Abel was a declaration of war against God. How dare he choose Abel over himself?

Likewise the sinner comes and says, “If my good deeds, the labour of my hands, are not enough for God, then I want nothing to do with Him.” Contrast that with the one that “doeth truth”, that “cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21). He refuses to claim the credit of his deeds, good or bad. He simply follows “the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Revelation 4:14).

This is the crucial difference between the sinner and the saint. The sinner demands acknowledgement of his deeds, where the saint both hopes that his evil is forgotten, and his goodness brings glory to the God that wrought it in him. The only hope a sinner has to become a saint, is to reject, with all finality, the notion that he can create goodness, in and of himself, and choose to accept the freely given righteousness that only God can provide, in Christ (Romans 10:2-4).

My only hope is that you, the reader will choose wisely.

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