Joel 2:12 "Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Sometimes we forget who we are:
Genesis 2:7 then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
How often do we quickly run to give God advice, forgetting who is the creature and who is the creator:
Genesis 18:27 Abraham answered, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
Generally we don’t take it seriously, and say, we’re only human, nobody’s perfect, but things change quickly it our life is in danger, and we are faced with our own mortality. And the first thing, is that we don’t want to talk about it, and the next thing to do is to find someone to blame – for that is the way of the world – but we still are not ready to meet God, to give an account of our life, or our stewardship if God’s gifts.
We need to talk about death, because we are all sinners, and the wages of sin is death – that’s why we die, and no scientific advance is going to change that! And if you want the one thing, which covers all of the sin that affects us, is that we do not love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength – in short, we have "other gods".
And its not just that we have "other gods" – we have become callous and stubborn, and it doesn’t bother us. Its like going through life with a rock in your shoe, you know its not right, but you learn to live with it, and you built up a thick skin so that its prod is no longer felt. We might even look at it as a virtue, something we’ve learned how to live with – never realizing that God might have given us that pebble, to warn us we were going down the wrong road, that the voice of the law calls us to repent, before it is too late.
But perhaps we have even forgotten what repentance is – it is so much more than being sorry you got caught. Its the kind of real sorrow that only occurs when you can really see what you have earned and deserved. And that’s where Jesus comes in, especially his suffering and death – its something we need to think about, and meditate upon – for when we see Jesus suffering and death, we need to see that this is what our sins have earned for us, its what make all our sins, even the so called white lie, a big deal – because the wages of sin, even one sin – is death!
Now a curious thing happens when we consider the price Jesus paid for our sins, if we can see us pounding the nails into him – it becomes a lot harder to look at sin as no big deal. To see Jesus suffering as we hurt him, by our sins – it helps us to turn from sins, and turn to God. After all Jesus never did anything to hurt us, and it makes us feel bad to see how we, by each of our sins, hurt him. And in part, that is what Lent is all about. We consider the price God paid to forgive us, and how much God loves us – and that love begins to touch us.
At first we feel bad, and we stop because we don’t want to think of ourselves as wicked and evil people – surely that must be someone else – not us.
But in time, we feel bad, because God loves us, and sin is not a good way to show our appreciation and gratitude for God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.
Its not the outward deeds, but it’s the new clean heart, the one that comes by grace through faith in Christ – that’s what God wants. So while we might grieve on account of our sins, at the same time we rejoice because of our Savior, and we step forward in faith, turning from our sins turning to God, and shining with the love of God which is ours in Christ – and that is how, we are a light to the world, for they also know they sins, and are waiting to hear news about the Savior.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – it comes to all men – the difference is the Savior, for in him not only do we have forgiveness, but everlasting life.