If you don’t understand how sinful you are, you’ll never understand how gracious and merciful God is.
Greg Koukl, founder of Stand To Reason, asks us to participate in a thought-experiment to prove the point.
Have you read the Ten Commandments recently? Take a quick personal moral inventory by asking yourself these questions:
- Have you ever given allegiance to anything else over God in your life?
- Have you ever used anything as an object of worship or veneration?
- Have you ever used God’s name in a vain or vulgar fashion?
- Have you worshipped God on a consistent basis?
- Have you disobeyed or dishonored your parents even once?
- Have you murdered anyone, or even had harsh thoughts about someone (see Matt. 5:22)?
- Have you had sex with someone other than your spouse, or even thought about it (see Matt. 5:28)?
- Have you taken something that wasn’t yours?
- Have you lied?
- Have you hungered after something that didn’t belong to you?
Sound tough? It is. This is God’s Law. These are God’s requirements. Even in grammar school, 60% is a flunking grade, yet who among us has not violated each of these commandments many times, at least in spirit?
Reducing the Ten Commandments to only two doesn’t help, by the way. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). Yet even the best of us violate these “minimal” requirements daily.
In your conversations, use both the Law and the Gospel. God’s Law is the mirror that shows us our need for the Savior. In Paul’s words, each of us is “shut up under sin” (Gal. 3:22). Our mouths have been closed, and we all have become accountable to God (Rom. 3:19). Saved by our own goodness? The Law gives us no hope other than Jesus’ righteousness.