Sunday, March 07, 2010

Whose fault is it?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 13:1-9

TO CHEW ON: “Or of those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed then, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5

We will not soon forget scenes of the Haiti earthquake of January 12th. A disaster like that gets people questioning why and inevitably someone makes the suggestion that Haitians were in some way to blame. I’m not going to argue the point one way or the other. We find instances in the Bible where the moral life of a nation and subsequent disasters they suffered were interpreted as God’s judgment. We see just as many examples of God apparently withholding His judgment even though it would seem deserved. And we could well ask, which nation or individual doesn’t deserve judgment?

Jesus here answers questions about two local tragedies, where the word going around was that the victims were to blame because they were “worse sinners” than those who were spared. Jesus said no. He doesn’t explain why these tragedies happened, but rather points out that we’re all sinners and unless we repent we’ll all perish.

Of course we know that we’re all physically terminal and will someday perish physically. So Jesus, by implying there is an out from perishing shifts our attention from physical perishing (death by whatever means) to the spiritual realm and the possibility not perishing.

We’re all disqualified from this, though, because we’re all sinners. A “sinner” (opheiletes) is a debtor, one who owes a moral obligation, a defender, a delinquent, a moral transgressor. “We are morally bound to live a life free from violation of God’s commandments; failing in performance we become delinquent transgressors and debtors to divine justice.” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible p. 1415). As sinners, we’re all headed for an ultimate disaster that will make Port-au-Prince, Phuket, and New Orleans look like a picnic.

The only escape is to repent – a decision that means a change of mind. We change our mind about trying to earn God’s favor our way (earn our way to heaven by being good enough, for example) and accepting Jesus as our substitute. Then we give Him the controls of our lives, no longer living to please ourselves but Him. And guess what – that new imperishable life begins now,  at the moment we make that decision!

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me so that I can have eternal life and not perish, as I deserve.

MORE: Kristian Stanfill sings “Jesus Paid It All”

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