Move Forward with Humility
Let’s remember who we are. And who we are is God’s. We are “a people of his own possession,” Peter says in chapter 2 verse 9. And we’re God’s because of God. He took the initiative to save us. He sent his Son to bleed for our sin and pay our ransom. That’s how bad we are, that it took the blood, the very life of Jesus to redeem us. And God “caused us to be born again”, chapter 1 verse 3. We didn’t believe and trust Christ on our own. God raised us and gave us spiritual life. God granted us saving faith. We did nothing. God did it all. And on top of it, he promises us an inheritance that we don’t earn. It’s a free gift. And it’s the best possible thing we could ever be given. And it’s ours forever.
Stop right there and if that gospel is rooted in our minds so we think gospel thoughts. And if that gospel is rooted in our hearts so that we feel gospel affections, we we ought to be the humblest, happiest, most grateful people on the planet. No matter what. No matter what’s going on in our own personal life. No matter what’s going on in our church. No matter what’s going on in this country. We are humble and happy and grateful.
Now, add to that the fact that we’re still sinners. Yes we are saved sinners. Redeemed by God. Loved by our Heavenly Father. Declared holy and righteous and above reproach before him. Freed from the penalty of sin and freed from the power of sin. But not yet freed from the presence of sin. It’s still in us. Sinful passions. And they wage war against our very soul. So that we have to fight the sinful tendencies in order to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, in order to live a life pleasing to God. And, boy, that ought to humble us. And it ought to fill us with a healthy self suspicion. So that maybe we’re more likely to distrust and so weigh our own motives before we take it upon ourselves to draw conclusions about other’s motives. Maybe with a dose of healthy, humble self suspicion we wouldn’t be so quick to assume that our perceptions and our conclusions are correct and theirs are wrong. Maybe a dose of healthy, humble self suspicion would keep us from assuming we’re on the moral high ground and so look down our noses at others. Maybe a dose of healthy, humble self suspicion would keep us from presuming that there couldn’t possibly be any hint of racism or sexism or anything like it in my heart that needs repenting of, but I see it so clearly in their heart. Maybe a dose of healthy, humble self suspicion would enable us to take the plank out of our own eye before we presume to take the splinter out of their eye.
Do you remember the story about G.K. Chesterton, the early 20th Century poet and novelist and apologist and short story writer and playwright and journalist? I’ve told it before. A newspaper sent a simple question out to great thinkers of the day asking a simple question: What’s wrong with the world? G.K. Chesterton reputedly wrote back: “Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.” What’s wrong with America? I am. What’s wrong with the church? I am. What’s wrong with my marriage? I am. I’m the worst sinner I know. I know the war raging in here. I am. Won’t that attitude change the way we relate to one another? Won’t it change the way we relate to the world out there? I think it will. We must move forward, as God’s church, in humility.
*Adapted from Together: Honoring, a sermon originally preached by Rick Gamache on November 13, 2016*
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