Now we know that whatever the law says, it says those who are under the law, so that ever mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather through the law we become conscious of our sin.
When we come to see the dark, sinful nature of our own hearts, there are two negative reactions we could have.
The first reaction we can have is self-loathe. We see our sin and we become disappointed in ourselves and begin beating ourselves up. We become filled with regret over the things we have done and pine for an opportunity to redeem ourselves. We go on a downwards spiral of depression and negative emotions as we try to work our way out of our self-loathing, only to fail and continue going downwards.
The second reaction is to make excuses. We can blame other people or our circumstances for why we do the bad things we do. We see our sinful nature but feel no need to try and get better because it’s the people around us and the circumstances we are in that need to change, not us. We go on a downwards spiral of anger and bitterness as we try to blame anything but ourselves for our sin, only to fail and continue downwards with a hard heart.
Paul says that neither of these are the right response to seeing our darkened hearts. When we see our sin and God as the righteous judge we should respond with… silence. We have nothing to say. There is nothing to say. We have no defence for our sinful hearts. We do bad things and we have no excuse.
We cannot self-loathe and say we’ll get better next time. We cannot blame others and take no responsibility ourselves. We are completely guilty and cannot escape the judgment we deserve.
We need help. What we need is someone outside of our sinful situation to defend us. We need someone who is not constrained by the law to help us. In order to get the righteous verdict from God, we need some other solution. We need Jesus.
Read Genesis 3:20-23, 4:13-14 and Psalm 51:1-4, 7-9. Reflect on how Adam, Cain and David responded to their sin and judgement. When are the times that you try to redeem yourself from you sin by doing good this instead? When are the times when you try to defend your sin? What are some good attitudes you can work on for developing a heart of repentance toward God?
I don’t even deserve to call you ‘Father’. My heart is so darkened with sin that I don’t deserve any good gifts from you. Before you, I am silent. I can’t redeem myself and I can’t blame others. Thankyou for your generous grace in Jesus, that he can stand in my stead, and bear the punishment I deserved for my sin.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.