The Standard Is Perfection

It’s only human nature to set ourselves up on a pedestal.  I mean, we are always comparing ourselves to someone who isn’t as “good” as we are.

“Sure, I may tell a little lie here and there, but at least I’m not like Hitler who killed millions of Jews.”

“So what if I cheat a little bit on my taxes to get a little extra money each year.  At least I’m not like that Jeffrey Dahmer guy!”

Or Charles Manson, or Timothy McVeigh, or John Wayne Gacy, or Ted Kaczynski, or any other notorious criminal who committed unspeakable acts of violence or murder.

God won’t judge our character against these guys.  His standard for us is Christ.  We could stand there all day long and say, “But I didn’t do this or that” or “But I did this and that,” and point out our “good” deeds compared to theirs, but God is going to put us up against Christ.  God’s standard isn’t “almost perfect”.  His standard is PERFECTION.  And the ONLY one who is perfect is Christ.  We’ve all heard the term “level playing field”.  Well, that’s what we’re going to have.  God won’t put some on higher pedestals than others based on their good works or not-quite-bad deeds.  Any lie told will be judged the same as one who murdered.  The act of adultery isn’t just limited to a physical act.  Jesus defined adultery as any lustful thoughts we may have.  So, just because someone hasn’t carried out the deed, doesn’t mean they’re free from guilt if they’ve only THOUGHT of someone in a lustful manner.  Jesus said that if we say we hate someone, we’ve already committed murder in our heart.

We are vile creatures.  The reason many of us haven’t resorted to acts of violence like those mentioned earlier is through the grace of God.  Every single one of us is capable of carrying out violent acts.  But, it’s only through God’s divine hand that we haven’t done so.  These people are examples of how wicked and depraved humans really are.  But, even though we haven’t done the deeds they have doesn’t mean we’re any less guilty than they are.  The only thing that will keep us in right standing with God is faith in Jesus because it is His righteousness that God sees and not our sin.

We have to quit thinking so highly of ourselves because apart from Christ, God sees us no differently than those whom we consider “monsters” for the deeds they’ve done.  Our “small” sins are no better than their “large” sins.

 

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SPIRITUAL ADULTERY

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In the book of Hosea, we read how God commanded the prophet, Hosea, to take the prostitute, Gomer, to be his wife.  I’m sure Hosea had some questions as to the validity of this request.  But, he did as God commanded and married Gomer.  She bore him 3 children and after a time, she left Hosea and began prostituting herself.  After a period of time, God told Hosea to go find Gomer, and buy her back and take her home.  Many use this story of Hosea and Gomer to talk about faithfulness in marriage, but God used this story to show how Israel (represented by Gomer) had been unfaithful to God (represented by Hosea) and how God was going to redeem Israel (through the death of Jesus Christ).  Ironically, the origin of the name Hosea comes from the same name that Joshua comes from and both of those mean, “Savior” or “Salvation”.

When we hear the term “adultery”, our minds automatically think of one spouse cheating on another.  But, just as the story of Hosea reveals, there is another kind of adultery and that is spiritual adultery.  Every single one of us has committed some form of spiritual adultery.  Remember how it used to be when you first came to know Christ?  You read your Bible, you prayed, you were at church every time the doors opened.  But, somewhere along the way, something caught your attention away from all that.  At one time, you couldn’t get enough of God’s Word.  Now, your Bible is gathering dust on your nightstand or you tossed it in the backseat of your car and hasn’t been touched in weeks or months.  You can’t even remember the last time you prayed.  And now attending church is just one more thing to check off your weekly list instead of something you feel privileged to do.  We have all done it.  Why is that?  Because we are like Gomer.  We are unfaithful.  It doesn’t matter what it is that draws us away from God, the root problem is self-centeredness.  Just as Gomer thought she could do better than Hosea and went out looking to satisfy her needs through other men, we, too, go out looking for something other than God to satisfy us.  It could be a job.  It could be a hobby.  Sometimes, it’s just ourselves that we’re worshipping.  We’d rather live our lives the way WE want to instead of how God wants us to.  We have made ourselves to be an idol and are living in spiritual adultery.

But, thankfully, because we belong to God, He will only let us hang out so long in that state and He will bring us back to Himself.  We may have to hit rock bottom before we realize that the idol of our own making was leaving us unfulfilled and wanting, and that God, who redeemed us through His Son Jesus, is all we need.  God is and will always be faithful, no matter how unfaithful we are to Him.