Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stuck in a hole

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith" (Galatians 3:11).

A man was preaching in the slums of a great Scottish city. He had been urging his listeners to make a new start, to use their will power to the utmost, to turn over a new leaf, to grab the rope and climb out of the hole they had dug themselves into. At the edge of the crowd stood a poor prostitute. She listened as long as she could to the expectations of God's Law. Finally, from the depths of her despair and repeated failures, she cried out "Your rope’s not long enough to reach me!"

The Law cannot bring rescue to people lying in the dark pit of their sins; to people who are struggling with the despair of years of mistakes, the command of the Law to pull yourself out of the quicksand of your sins seems an impossible task. The rope leading out of darkness into light is out of the reach of their trembling fingers.

A lifeline that requires us to save ourselves is useless, because as sinners we don’t have the strength to climb free from the muck of our misspent lives. The only way that we can hope to be saved is for a rescuer to come down and lift us from the pit on His strong shoulders. God has sent such a rescuer; His name is Jesus. Jesus comes to us by the lifeline of the Gospel; when we hear how Jesus died to free us from the guilt of our mistakes and how God the Father is willing to forgive us because of what Jesus has done, it is as if a rescuer has come down to us in our darkness, wrapped loving arms around us, and lifted us with Him as He climbs the rope of salvation to bring us out into the light. Being told to live a better life does not give us the ability to do so; but when we believe in Jesus and welcome Him into our lives, we can stand straight and walk tall, because it is our Lord who gives us the strength and confidence to live a new life. Please join me in praying:

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for coming to us in the dark hole of our sins and offering to lift us to freedom. Help us to reject everything evil and selfish in our lives. Give us faith to trust that when You forgive us, the guilt of those mistakes has been erased forever. Lift us up into the light of Your love. Amen.

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