The thing that characterizes humanity’s history the most is rebellion. We can see this from the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, it wasn’t just the fruit that was the sin. It was their desire to become like God.
“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:4-7
Since the beginning we have had a tendency to rebel from our Creator. We don’t just want to be like God… We want to BE God. We want to serve our own sinful purposes and fulfill our own desires believing that THAT will bring us joy. Humans are sinful, rebellious creatures. Me included. I’ve seen my own life, and I will tell you…
I deserve the worst. I deserve eternal condemnation and punishment.
There is nothing good about me that. There’s nothing redeemable. There’s nothing righteous. Nothing holy. Nothing just. Nothing honorable. Nothing that can come close to God. Psalm 51: 5 says “behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” This is true for my own life. I was born into my rebellion. I am in no way making excuses. I am entirely to blame for my sinfulness. What I am saying is that my rebellion runs deep. It is a part of my nature. I see my sin, and it is ugly.
I see myself daily running from the Lord. My heart, mind, and very nature want nothing more than to be my own god. I want satisfy my flesh and fulfill the deepest desires of my heart… and my heart desires rebellion. This will never change as long as I stay here on this earth. My heart will always want these things. Sure, the Lord may work in my life and form me more into the image of His Son, but my heart will always be sinful and always be rebellious. It is only the Lord that can be good in me. Two things will always stay constant…
I will always be sinful and rebellious, and the Lord will always be loving and merciful.
The good that is in me will never be my own. The righteousness that I possess I actually in no way possess. For it is not mine. It is the Lord’s. I will never be good. I CANNOT ever be good. It is impossible. I’m so deeply stricken with this disease called sin that I cannot be anything near good. I will never be anywhere near righteous. I will never be anywhere near holy. But the thing is that I can rejoice in this.
Because if I could, I would be God.
There is a theological term called “felix culpa.” This essentially means that the fall of man was fortunate because it brought the sweetness of the redemption. Despite my rebellion, God would bring redemption back to Himself. The fact that I see that my desire to be God reaps nothing but sin and sorrow means that even within that, I can rejoice that the Lord doesn’t stop pursuing me.
Despite my sin, He is good. Despite my rebellion, He is faithful. Despite my unrighteousness, He is righteous. I do not carry my own sin around any longer. Instead, 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells me that “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God is my righteousness.
God is my holiness.
God is my goodness.
I do not possess these things because I am worthy. No. I am only worthy of death and condemnation. I possess these things because a perfect God decided to love a rebel like me. I ran from Him, but He ran towards me. I pursued my sin, but He pursued me for His glory. One thing is certain…
I deserve the worst, but yet God chose to give me the best. His Son and His righteousness.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”