After I saw this YouTube video today, I was thinking about my own experience of how seeing my sin more clearly has made me see the gospel in a completely different light. Dr. Piper says it so well:
I would say that I’ve been a Christian since about age 6, when I “asked Jesus to come into my heart.” Since then, I would have said I had a pretty good understanding of Jesus’ work on the cross, dying to pay for our sin. And for the most part, I was a fairly good kid: keeping my nose out of trouble, and generally doing what was expected of me. However, when I would hear songs like “The Wonderful Cross” and “Jesus Paid It All” and I would think, “Good grief…I haven’t done anything all THAT bad…” and part of me would just feel really uncomfortable.
A situation about two and a half years ago changed that. A set of circumstances made me see clearly, I think probably for the first time, how ugly my sin is to God. Without really realizing it, I had come to really, really like how people responded to me when I did the right/good/noble/expected things and ended up valuing that over God’s opinion. And in turn, I figured that God would probably be fairly impressed by that, too. Over and over the Bible talks about how God isn’t impressed by the things that people are, but that God sees past it and looks at the heart. I realized how awful my seemingly good works looked to God: things that I did to look good to people that were often motivated by jealousy, pride, or selfishness. Suddenly, I realized I wasn’t looking so hot in God’s eyes. Here’s this girl trying to be all religious when inside her heart is just ugly. In the Bible, Jesus uses religious people quite frequently to show how their hearts were in the wrong place and how they really liked the respect that their position got them. And that was me!
All of a sudden, I realized that need for that blood. I was really dirty. I am still so amazed that God hasn’t just zapped me out of existence…considering all of the junk that has been (and is) in my heart and mind. But, he loved me enough to not only not zap me out of existence, but to pay for all of the ugly things that I have (and still will) done.
There’s a children’s Bible that I love (The Jesus Storybook Bible) that puts it so simply: “All Naaman needed was nothing. It was the one thing Naaman didn’t have.” I was trying to please God and please people by doing, by having it all together. But all we need is the understanding that we don’t and can’t have it all together…that all our attempts at being good and perfect will fail. That’s why we need Jesus’ blood from the cross, the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins.