The Person in the Mirror

The following is the article I wrote for The News Tribune (Tacoma) for this morning’s paper. To God be the glory!

I have been reminded of a 1988 Michael Jackson song titled, “Man in the Mirror”. This is the chorus:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

I have become frustrated with what I have been seeing on social media. Over and over again I have seen people post comments and articles that blame others for the current state of affairs in our nation: The extreme left, the radical right, white supremacists, ANTIFA, absentee fathers, rogue governors, the court system, etc. It is always someone else’s fault and the finger pointing just exasperates the situation. And if that is not enough, with the finger pointing comes stereotyping, thus inflaming the issue people are outraged about in the first place – racism. Can’t people see that the problem is not with someone else, but rather the problem and the solution begin with the person in the mirror?

The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 3 that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. And we have not fallen just short – like trying to make a basket in basketball and hitting the front rim. We have fallen WAY short of the glory of God. In essence, we are all sinners and thus we are all culpable. We are all responsible. Hold on there, Pastor, I am not a racist. I never said you were, but you are a sinner. That you cannot deny, as 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We all make judgments of people when we see them. Maybe it is not a race-type judgment, but we all do it. Sometimes it’s good but most often it skews our relationship with that person. Whatever the case, we must remember the heart of a person and that is something only God can see. And when God created man and woman, He said, “It was very good”. Therefore, racism is not just an attack on the person but an insult to God. After all, we were created in God’s image.

Therefore, considering the seriousness of the issue, we cannot just sit idly by and blame someone else – “You need to change”; “You need to stop what you are doing”; “You are the cause of the problem”. That does nothing to make this world a better place. Finger pointing is not the answer – Jesus is the answer; Jesus is the cure; Jesus is the solution. Until each and every person recognizes the fact that they have fallen short, we will continue to fall short as a nation. We must look in the mirror, confess our sins and ask God to change our hearts. It must begin with you and me. We must set the example. We must stop finger pointing and remember who we are – sinners but redeemed by the blood of Jesus. To God be the glory, Amen.

The Law is good

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. [Romans 3:31]

Yesterday we explored the awesome grace of God as we briefly surveyed the 10 Commandments and found that we definitely stand condemned, but by the mercy of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have salvation.

Praise be to God!

The question before us now (and one that the apostle Paul answers) is this:
Now what?

If we are saved by grace apart from the Law, does that mean that faith in Jesus nullifies the Law. 

Basically, the implication here is that since we are saved by grace through faith, why worry about the Law. Why obey the 10 Commandments when God will forgive anyways? Why bother learning these Laws? The apostle Paul, in response to these questions, would slap you you up across the head and say ” You idiot” (but say it with all love of course) it’s because we are saved apart from following the Law that we are free to obey the Law with all joy in order to show love to our neighbor and to God.

You don’t abandon the Law because you are saved, but rather follow the Law because you are saved. Just read Psalm 119 and you will discover the joy the author has in learning and following God’s Law. He’s not seeking salvation but rather wants to learn more and glorify God.

Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. (vs 24)

The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes. (vs 64)

Teach me good judgement and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. (vs 66)

And there are many more such verses. The Law of God convicts us of our sin and therefore our need for a Savior (Jesus Christ). But the Law also shows us how to love God and neighbor. As Tom Brokaw once said, They are not called the 10 suggestions. They are Commandments. This is a holy tension; this grace and Law thing, but one that makes sense through faith.

If your faith is truly found in Jesus Christ, then said faith will find joy in obeying God for God is worthy. When one foolishly tosses the Law away because they are saved it makes me wonder if they are really saved at all.

So give praise to God for salvation through Jesus Christ and then seek to learn God’s righteous decrees more and more. Seek to know Him better through His Commands. Seek to honor God more through your obedience.

May God be praised and obeyed; served and worshiped; honored and glorified; always and forever. Amen.

May God bless your day 🙂

The Pastor -|—