The Gospel-Not for Nice People (Oct. 15)
Mark Barbee

Whaaaattt? You might be saying? Not for nice people?  How many people today think they are okay, even nice, people, without God?  Well, they are deceived according to the Apostle John.  Listen to these words from his letter to the churches.

If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make God out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.   I Jn. 1:8-10  Wow!!

There are no nice people—only those who either agree with God or call him a liar.  But the good news is that Jesus died for all of us, even though we are not inherently nice.  To go back to a previous verse in John’s chapter, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin.” Vs. 5-7.  

How often do we as believers think we’re pretty nice?  Paul recognized that in his flesh dwelt no good thing.  As Jesus said, those who are not sick don’t need a physician.  He was referring to those religious people who thought they weren’t sick.  In reality, we’re all broken people.  We need the healing that the Great Physician can bring.  We just need to admit it—agree with God, so we can receive His healing, grace and forgiveness.

We see much hatred today that is often expressed in violence.  But violence is not the answer for hatred, it is only the excuse for hatred and hatred is only an excuse for violence.  Hatred has been going on for so long, it’s impossible to know where it started.  Just as with other sins, we must all repent of hatred (even if we think we have only a mild case).  Love is the answer.  Love starts with God and comes to us through Jesus.  This brings light to who we are so that we can walk in the light and be cleansed.  

Lord, we confess our hatred, though we often call it by other names.  We confess that we are not, in our natural state, “nice” people.  We are all broken and marred by sin.  Thank you that Jesus heals us.  How we need that healing right now as individuals and as a nation.  Lord, let us then be purified, like a pure stream that flows and blesses others.  And let us avoid spiritual pride.

Lord, there is much wrong and ignorance in our society today, but let us not hate those with whom we disagree and would even seek to harm us.  Give us your grace so that we can be gracious to all people, regardless of ethnicity or whether they agree with us or not.

Let your light shine on us and through us to a dark world.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.