Just How Bad Are We?
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Like it or not, we all have a heart problem. Our hearts don’t like to deal with truth, especially as it relates to us and our standing before God. The Bible says our hearts are desperately wicked, beyond our ability to understand them. They have deceived us into thinking that we’re really not all that bad, especially when compared to others. We acknowledge that Christ died for our sins, and we’re glad about that, but deep down we have created an imaginary sanitized version of our sins. We think that if Jesus only had to die for my sins, it wouldn’t have been all that bad for Him.
Time for a reality check. Let’s take a quick journey to the cross, where we find the unvarnished truth about us and our sins. It is there that Jesus hung in our place. Everything He endured was meant for us. Everything He suffered was deserved by us. In case you’re thinking that the magnitude of His suffering was due to the fact that he was paying the price for the sins of the entire world, think again. Considering what the Bible says about sin, I am convinced that if He had hung there only for your sins (or mine) the result would have been the same.
AS I SEE IT
We’ve all seen images and read accounts depicting the horrors of crucifixion. It’s one of the worse imaginable ways to die-excruciating pain, slowly suffocating while enduring public humiliation. Crucifixion, by itself, speaks volumes as to the severity of our sins. Yet, there are other factors we may not have considered. Where the crucifixion took place is significant.
For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him, bearing His reproach (Hebrews 13: 11-13).
“Outside the camp” referred to Israel’s Old Testament wilderness wanderings. It referred to the place away from the people and away from the Tabernacle where the Lord “dwelled.” It was where foreigners and the lepers had to live. (Throughout the Bible, leprosy is an illustration of sin.) It was the dreaded place where law breakers and criminals were executed. The above passage from Hebrews, however, tells an even darker tale. It was the place where the bodies of those animals whose blood had been sprinkled in the Holy Place for sin were burned on the refuse heap. The sins of the offerer had symbolically been placed upon the animal’s body, which was then burned as sin-caused refuse, disgusting to both God and man. Day after day, the smoke was rising from outside the camp, accompanied by a penetrating stench. All in all, “outside the camp” was not a pleasant place.
The New Testament counterpart was “beyond the gates” or “outside the city walls” of Jerusalem. This is where Jesus suffered and died as our substitute, bringing sanctification with His own blood. Are you starting to get the picture? Our sin is so severe that Jesus had do be crucified “outside the camp.” It is so severe that it sent Jesus to hell. It is so severe that it caused God to turn His back on His beloved Son. The curse Jesus bore was ours. Everything Jesus suffered was caused by the severity of your sins and my sins.
So what are we to do with this information? There’s only one thing we can do-admit that our sins are a lot worse than we imagined and praise God for the glory of His amazing grace which He poured out on us while we were yet sinners. Can you imagine a father willingly sacrificing His only son for the likes of sinners like us? This kind of grace reflects the heart of the God I love and serve. I welcome you to get to know Him.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.