God’s Answer

“For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”
Jeremiah 31:19

I’ve got some bad news for you.

You are a sinner. So am I.

God originally established the human race in perfection. He created first Adam out of the dust of the earth and then Eve from the rib of Adam and made them both perfect, without sin, and immortal.

But in order to have a true relationship with us, God also gave humans free will. God chooses to love us. And he gave us the ability to choose to love him back. That’s how relationships work.

Tragically, Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s love by fulfilling –  or trying to, at least – their own needs and desires themselves. They listened to Satan’s lies and disobeyed God’s one rule – do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

It wasn’t because God wanted to withhold some knowledge from us. God gave them the choice because that’s how relationships work – both parties choose to commit to loving each other.

With Adam and Eve’s bad choice came death. Not immediate physical death – that would come to them hundreds of years later. But spiritual death was immediate.

And since then, all descendants of Adam and Eve – that’s everyone, including you and me – are conceived and born sinful (see Psalm 51).

As Lutherans have been saying for nearly 500 years:

“The entire notion that a person is righteous is mere hypocrisy before God. We must acknowledge that our heart is, by nature, destitute of fear, love, and confidence in God. For this reason the prophet Jeremiah says, ‘after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded….’” (The Apology [Defense of] the Augsburg Confession, Article II Original Sin, quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright © 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House, p 79).

Did I say “bad news”? This is devastating news.

We are utterly helpless and hopeless!

But there is good news!

Sixteen verses before this hopeless cry recorded in Jeremiah are the words of good news: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), says the Lord.

God loves us without beginning and without end!

He proved it by providing the perfect sacrifice for our sin – his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ!

God’s answer to our cry of despair is his everlasting love!

Jesus Christ took all our sins on himself and paid the penalty for them on the cross. He buried all our sins in the tomb and left them there when he rose from the dead three days later!

The bad news reminds us that we are sinners and we cannot do anything about our sin.

God’s answer to this bad news is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

O Lord, my God, I acknowledge your great goodness toward me and praise you for the mercy and grace that my eyes have seen, my ears have heard, and my heart has known. I sincerely repent of the sins of this day and those in the past. Pardon my offenses, correct and reform what is lacking in me, and help me to grow in grace and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In his name. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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