“You ever have anyone tell you not to be so defensive?” Stan asked me one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.
“Defensive?” I responded. “Not sure. How about you?”
“Hate to admit it,” Stan said, “but, yeah, people have told me that more than a few times. So much so that I talked to God about it!”
“You talked to God about being defensive? What’d you talk about?”
“Well,” Stan said, “there have been too many times when something happens and my first and immediate response is, ‘It’s not my fault’.”
“That response was causing problems in some of my relationships,” Stan replied, “and I wanted God to help me. So I spent time in prayer, with confession and repentance, truly seeking to hear God’s voice about that.”
“Did you hear anything from God about that?”
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “And what God had to say showed me some things about taking personal responsibility.”
“Sin nature,” Stan replied. “My sin nature resulted from the disobedience in the Garden of Eden. It’s a fact I got that sin nature just from being born. I didn’t do anything to get it other than being a human born into this world. It wasn’t my fault.”
“Okay,” I said. “Then what?”
“Just as the disobedience in the garden gave me a sin nature over which I had no choice,” Stan replied, “a sin nature that separated me from God, Christ’s obedience in going to the cross gave something else to reconcile me to God, but I had to choose that ‘something else’.”
“Choose to be reconciled to God?”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “The disobedience in the garden resulted in my separation from God. There was nothing I could do about that prior to being born. It’s part of the human condition. However, Jesus’ obedience in completing on the cross what His Father sent Him to do gave me, along with every other person, the option of being reconciled to God. But it’s an option that has to be chosen.”
“So,” I responded, “being separated from God in the first place isn’t a person’s fault, but continuing to be separated by refusing to accept the free gift of reconciliation after a person knows about it certainly is that person’s responsibility. Is that it?”
“Bingo and Amen,” Stan said.
“But what if a person doesn’t know about the choice that’s available?” I asked.
“That’s a different story for another day,” Stan replied. “However, I think the bottom line is that all of us who know about the choice that can be made should make certain we tell as many people as we can so they, too, will know they have a choice.”
Bible verses to consider:
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19.
But the free gift is not like like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Romans 5:18.
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. John 19:30.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the free and gracious provision of Jesus’s finished work on the cross that provides the way to your eternal presence when my time here is completed. Thank you for those who brought me to that truth so I could be reconciled to you and no longer separated because of the disobedience in the garden. I confess that too often I do not make the effort to tell others that they have a choice of where they are doing to spend eternity — either in your presence or separated from you. Please forgive me, and please help me in following every step of your lead so I tell each person you bring before me that they have a choice to make. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision for no longer being separated from Him because of the disobedience in the garden? If no, why? Do you really want to be separated from Him for all of eternity? That’s a long time! If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in telling others about the choice they have to be no longer separated from God? If you sense the need for change in how and how often you do that, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?