When humorist Erma Bombeck saw her new passport photo, she gasped, "Anyone who looks like that is too sick to travel!" Getting a good look at yourself can be deflating to say the least.
It might surprise you to know that when you look in the mirror in your bathroom you don't really see yourself. You see the exact opposite of yourself. Your left ear is on the right side and your right ear is on the left side. Spiritually, most people think that they are looking pretty good, compared to others. But are we seeing the truth?
Physicist David Thomas made a curved mirror in 1975 that actually reflects the correct image of the one staring at it. The Bible is that kind of mirror for the soul. When you look at it, you will see exactly what you are like before God.
What does the Bible say you look like?
Paul gathered some Old Testament Scriptures to make an accurate portrait for us. He said,
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
There is no one who understands, no one who searches for God.
All have turned away and together become worthless.
There is no one who does good, not even one."
You're not righteous. Jesus once called some of the most religious people of His day, "white-washed tombs filled with dead men's bones"—not very flattering, but perfectly accurate from the Holy One's perspective. One man may appear to be righteous before another man, but before God there is no one truly righteous. The only righteousness that God accepts is His own. To stand before God in our own righteousness is certain rejection.
You have no understanding. A professor may give a lecture on "The Nature of Biblical Conversion" and state every fact accurately, yet not understand. When he comes into the teacher's lounge he ridicules the beliefs he just articulated. Should we really believe he understands when he rejects Christ as God, and the death of Christ as essential to salvation? He knows his facts about salvation like one knows trivia. If he understood the facts, he would immediately reject his foolish views and come to Christ. (see 1 Cor. 2: 14).
You have no desire for God. It is one thing to seek happiness and meaning in life; it is quite another thing to seek God. Jesus said that people do not naturally come to Christ. "This is the verdict:" He said. "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (Jn. 3:19-20). Desire for God initiates with God (see Jn. 6: 44). You are rebellious. "All have turned away," Paul said. The blame for being outside of God's family belongs to you. You have a nature that turns away from Him and seeks to live independently. Paul said, "The mind of sinful man is death…because his sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so." (Rom. 8:6-7)
You are worthless. Like milk left on the table overnight, the Bible states that man without Christ is really worthless. This does not mean, of course, that God does not have a purpose for you. After all, he even used Judas (see Acts 4: 27-28). But it does mean that you will live and die meaning nothing for the Kingdom of God. It is obvious that God is not impressed with one's status in the world.
Paul goes on to give more of God's view of you. Note, as you read, the emphasis on destructiveness and deceitfulness as the true nature of the non-believer. These characteristics are easy to find in our culture.
Their throats are open graves;
Their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Ruin and misery mark their paths,
And the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Are you and your friends really like this? Yes. Remember that the Bible often describes the individual from the heart (1 Jn. 3:15). The hidden things are the real things to God. For instance, people who love violence and bloodshed in the movies are in heart murderers. And, remember, given enough pressure all that is in the heart will come out. Jesus states, "You belong to your father, the devil,, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Jn. 6:44
The real problem with man is that he cannot get out of this awful mess alone. He cannot overcome his sinful nature. Paul said, "…all are under sin". Being a refined sinner or even a religious one is still being a sinner. But the good news comes in right at this point. Christ died for sinners like you! Though you are deserving of God's wrath, Christ completely satisfied the just wrath of God toward sin for those who will put their trust in Him. That won't mean too much to you as long as you think that you are looking pretty good. But when you see yourself as you really are, you will find Christ's death for sinful people the greatest news you have ever heard.
Copyright © 2001 Jim Elliff
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