Summary: God's Word is a mirror, which we need to examine ourselves in and make proper use of.
(Working With the Light, the Sword, and the Mirror)
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
February 3, 2013
People have an amazing ability to see themselves as basically good. This ability is deeply engrained in us. We start very young to justify our choices and to make excuses for our sins. Any experienced parent can attest to this. How often do we hear children, when they get into trouble for fighting with each other, make classic excuses such as the following?
“He started it!” “No I didn’t! She started it!” This exchange usually goes on until Mom or Dad stops it. What each child is really saying is this: “I am innocent. I have been sinned against. I didn’t do anything wrong. Johnny did something wrong.”
When a 14 year old is caught shoplifting, they often say something along the lines of “It’s not my fault. Somebody else put me up to it! She has taken lots more stuff than I ever have; in fact this was my first time!”
On into adulthood go the excuses, becoming ever more sophisticated. “Well sure my girlfriend and I are living together, but God understands, so it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong about it.”
We excuse deceitfulness as little white lies, or as just being kind, or simply getting along. We break the laws of the land if we happen to think that they cramp our style. If we don’t like the laws, we proclaim them to be “unimportant ones”, such as the speed limit, or the prohibition against marijuana possession and use.
We speak unkindly to our spouse, parents, or children, and excuse it by thinking something such as “She’s far from perfect herself. It’s not as though she never says anything wrong.” We also seek to justify ourselves by comparisons. “It least I don’t lie like politicians and lawyers! I get up and go to work! I don’t try to live off the system like half the people in this county.”
There is no end to the ability of people to fool themselves into thinking that they are righteous, or that they are at least righteous enough; certainly more righteous than most people. In spite of all self justification, the fact is that each person falls far short of the standard God gave us in His moral law.
Now let’s see what God has to say about this. (Read Romans 3:19-20)
Main Teaching Body of Message
The average person in the street believes in God and an afterlife. 50 Years of shutting God ever more tightly out of the schools has not been able to crush this basic instinctual knowing out of the Human heart in our land. Gallup poles as recent as 2011 show that 80% of Americans believe that a supreme creator God exists. Unfortunately, that same average person, who believes that God exists, also has no clue as to His standards, His requirements, His holiness. Only God’s own words, found in the Bible, can cause people to understand these things. Only God’s words can act as a spiritual mirror in which we can see ourselves as we truly are.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, Jesus was speaking ahead to the time that He would be back in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit would be here on Earth living in believers. Jesus told us that once the Holy Spirit was living in God’s people, He would use them to convince others of three important things regarding their spiritual condition. The three are important things are sin, righteousness, and the Judgment to come.
That important convicting work began on the Day of Pentecost, when Peter opened the scriptures to the crowd that had gathered. He, being empowered by the Holy Spirit, used the scriptures, the Word of God, to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews, and the Savior of the World. Furthermore, it was their sin which had caused Him to be crucified. The mirror of God’s word caused them to realize their sinful condition.
Psalm 119:130 tells us “The entrance of God’s word gives light!” Nothing else but God’s word can cut to the very core of the soul and reveal the heart’s true condition. Hebrews 4:12 opens this essential truth up further by stating: “The Word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit.”
The raw material for convicting people of sin, for the big majority of people, who at least believe that God exists, is the Law, given by God to Moses. By the Law, I am not referring to all the regulations governing how this or that needed to be done in the Tabernacle, or dealing with civil matters in ancient Israel. I am speaking of the moral Law, specifically the power of the Ten Commandments to reveal the sin hidden deep inside of people.