Dead is dead. No capacity for effort of any kind. The absence of a will that motivates us any longer. Done. Finished.
I’m starting to get a glimpse of the illusion we live in that suggests our being good matters at all. The lie promoted in our culture and from our pulpits that suggests, among other external tests, if we don’t like President Obama or aren’t gay, then we are lining up appropriately to agree with God. From that attempt, we perceive a benefit.
We define our actions and reactions through a well-intentioned desire to be acceptable to God. We even look to His Word to justify our positions, compare our conduct against His stated desires as best that we can interpret them, and find satisfaction in our performance. Or not; then we work on it. But still, we’re better than those other people. They’re “real” sinners; His Word says that.
I’m stuck on John 2:24-25, “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”
I’ve been pondering that; what does that mean. The people in Chapter 2 that Jesus is choosing not to commit Himself to were witnessing His signs and wonders and believing in Him based on what they were seeing. Yet, He wasn’t committing to them. Why not?
This is at the end of Chapter 2 (remember, the chapters weren’t part of the original text; they were put in there to help us maneuver) and flowing right into Chapter 3, I believe we end up where He intends. Chapter 3 is where Jesus declares that we must be “born again” to see the Kingdom of God. The idea of being “born again” stumped Nicodemus and confounds many of us, too . . . even those that are in church every week.
Even the recognition that Jesus is powerful and believing that He is who He says He is doesn’t establish our place with Him. No matter how many times we walk the aisle, read the stuff, go to the things, be good compared to others or oppose evil our place is not assured until we die to be born again.
Verse 25 above says, “for he knew what was in man.” We’re just not there until we’re done with ourselves because what’s in us is just not going to get it done. He knows what’s in us and it’s not good. Not in and of itself.
But to be born again, of the Spirit, we’ve got to die to what is in us. To die to it requires admitting it. Admitting it leaves us with no traction for comparison or self-justification. It is a place dependent on Grace. It is a place from which Jesus commits Himself to us.