The Calvary Road #15 – Innocence or Brokenness
The way of the cross is all about brokenness and humility before God and others because we know the inbred nature of sin, the inward deceitfulness of our own hearts, and the innate ability to deceive ourselves.
We can fall too easily into the pattern of the proud Pharisee who prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
We might become so used to condemning the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisee that we hardly believe that this picture could also apply to us.
We might declare our innocence and say in effect, “These things may be true of others, but they are not true of me.”
Yet Jesus told this parable to those who were “confident of their own righteousness” (Luke 18:9).
If anything, Jesus raised the standards of righteousness. He declared that anger is equal to murder and lust is equal to adultery (Matthew 5:22-23, 27-28). We could add that envy is equal to theft and telling a half-truth is equal to lying.
True brokenness confesses sin as sin, not as a mere mistake, or slip up, or something really foreign to our hearts, as if to say, “That is so unlike me to have such thoughts or do such things.”
How much better to confess, “That really is like me to have such thoughts and do such things.” To confess to God as David did: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).
How much better to admit before God as Nehemiah did: “In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly” (Nehemiah 9:33).
How much better to be as the tax collector who humbled himself. Stood at a distance. Wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Who beat his breast and prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Him God justified.
The exalted God who lives “in a high and holy place” is the same God who looks on with favor “those who are humble and contrite in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15; 66:2).
Humbled before God, we get on our knees and bow low before God. Convicted before God, we fast and weep and mourn. Broken before God, we tear our hearts with remorse.
Before the cross of Jesus, we again experience cleansing of sins, being reconciled with God, healing of our wounded hearts, continuous filling of God’s Spirit, and overflowing with life to others. That is revival. Let’s make it continuous.
How has the way of the cross marked your life?
~ Pastor Dave