New Year resolutions–they come, they go. A few stick. Most prove to be less sticky than a piece of old scotch tape. Why? A resolution is a decision, nothing more. Let’s face it, if we cannot decide to do something the rest of the year, what makes January any different? Now, it is true that some resolutions are kept and that some individuals are bettered through them. I am not bashing resolutions, just reflecting on an intrinsic problem with them–us! I am not saying one should not make them, either: it’s just that a resolution made without taking it seriously will also be carried out without taking it seriously–and thus ultimately destined for failure! Even if a person sincerely and seriously resolves (since that is the root word for “resolution” anyway) to do something or to cease from doing something, even considering upcoming challenges and pitfalls that will surely threaten that resolution’s fullfillment, and then takes the purposeful step of plunging into that change of mindset and habits that so characterizes even the most extraordinary resolutions–well, a person is still a person, merely human! Why, a chronic health condition or other unplanned and debilitating worse-case scenario could arise, and shatter the resolution to shards, beyond repair or recovery. Best intentions are the best we humans have, because we are human–merely mortal. Now, why take such a dismal view on people’s desires to supposedly pursue self-improvement, in a world so pathetically lacking perfection? A contrast, and a sharp one at that, is what I simply seek to strike here. We humans, even with the collective consciousness of a whole nation behind us on New Years, cannot seem to really do much better than merely try to fulfill our word, our hopes, our aspirations. Even the occasional success story, inspire us thought it might, is dotted with imperfections and trials, and often buried in the sheer sleepy, forgetful inertia of countless other failed attempts. Have I sufficiently painted humanity’s painful shortcomings to its very own expectations?
How then, would any individual ever hope to meet God’s expectations? I mean, if we mortals cannot consistently meet our own lowly standards for ourselves; well, “…how should man be just with God?” (Job 9:2) How can we ever appease the justice of, or attain to the high exaltation of, a holy, perfect God? We cannot! It is not, nor ever has been, enough to just keep most of God’s commandments! He requires that all–every last one of them, without any exceptions whatsoever–be kept, flawlessly, consistently, and (to top it all off) with a pure and perfect heart and intentions (James 2:10). Now, let’s see, whom do you personally know who fits that flawless description–perhaps your neighbor, your boss, your co-worker, your distant cousin, your spouse? I mean, if you were actually God, whom do you personally know of that has never sinned, and whom you could allow into a sinless heaven (Revelation 21:27)? No matter how much any particular person may mean to you, I daresay there is not one you can list–not even a beloved spouse! It is an odd thing how we humans think things possible about ourselves that we know is impossible for others: yet, what are we, but just as human as they? We somehow convince ourselves that we are an exception to the rule, based on a deep compassion and self-pity for our own harsh conditions and otherwise hopeless existence, perhaps. Now, even if a person did come to your mind, one whom you believe would actually pass the muster of perfection; then, let that person pass the same test for perfection again, but this time as judged by someone else other than you–someone not biased by whatever biased you to place that person on a very non-existent pedestal of very non-human glory. For most people however, there is probably not one person outside of themselves whom they could think of who has never done wrong. If almost all humans reach that conclusion about one another, why is it so surprising to so many individuals that God, “…who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens….” (Hebrews 9:26), should feel the same way, but far more strongly–considering His omniscient view from heaven?
It is no puzzle why then God placed salvation from sin and hell on an easy level we could actually reach, instead of tormenting us “before the time” (Matthew 8:29) by dangling it ever out of our reach! That is why it is thrice called in the Book of Romans a “FREE GIFT”! (Romans 5:15; 5:16; 5:18)! It really is surprising how kind and patient God is, considering that “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags….” (Isaiah 64:6); and that so many people today think they can just use those filthy rags to barter with or bribe God, Who is Perfection in the flesh (2 Timothy 3:16). So many think they can just somehow purchase salvation by as little as their contributions, good works, or good intentions–an item which already cost the Son of God so much, His own life! I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul told Simon: “…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20). Sounds harsh, right? Still, how could we cheapen God’s great Gift any more, than by acting as though or deceiving ourselves to think that we could purchase it by anything we have or are (Romans 3:10-18). His ways are higher than our ways, higher than the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9). Ours is simply to reach out and gratefully receive, for our own, that FREE GIFT which Jesus has ALREADY purchased! Do not allow yourself to believe that Jesus somehow did not pay enough for your salvation, and that you need to somehow “chip in with” Him to fully meet sin’s bill! (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 10:10,14) Instead, simply reach out in child-like faith, and lay hold on that which has already been purchased on your behalf–it is a FREE GIFT! The risen Saviour Jesus Christ has done it ALL–you need “do” nothing else, except to simply believe in Him! (John 6:29) Jesus loves you, this I know–for He paid the ULTIMATE PRICE! “…It is finished….” (John 19:30)!
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” -Romans 10:9-10,13