22 Jul Words of Grace – Honesty
One of the reasons the Bible has been such a challenge for me over the years is because some of God’s people are so flawed and they do such horrible things. I still have trouble getting my head around some of the people and events in the book of Judges.
Take Samson, for example (Judges 13-16). He gets a lot of time in this book. And most of it shows how lustful, impulsive, and distracted from God’s mission he was. Then he shows up in the New Testament book of Hebrews as a person who, through faith, enforced justice and became mighty in war (Hebrews 11:32-33). This can be maddening. Is the Bible condoning Samson’s sinful behavior? Should we find comfort from Samson when we are lax about our own sins and flaws?
With stories like Samson’s, the Bible is not overlooking our flaws or giving us permission to continue to live in sin. The Bible is being honest. There is no other book that is this honest. The Bible is the only book that adequately and accurately portrays the reality of the human condition. No other book gives us the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ for sinful and flawed people. And nowhere else do we come to understand how people can know God’s grace in Christ and still struggle with sins, imperfections, and character deficiencies.
The Bible’s brutal honesty about its people helps us in two ways.
First, it makes the Bible more believable. We don’t get gloss in the Bible. It shows us the rawness of its people, which shows us ourselves. If the Bible included characters that were superhuman then it would read more like a fairy tale and remain detached from life. The Bible is not trying to hide things from us. It tells it like it is. It’s not trying to win us over with spin. The Bible’s honesty about its characters should make it more trusted, not less.
Second, the honesty of the Bible drives us to be honest about ourselves. Honesty is the necessary first step to change. As long as we pretend to be better than we really are, we will not seek the grace, mercy, and help of God to kill our sins, fight our flaws, and grow in our character.
Honesty is not a threat for the person who knows the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the path that leads to repentance, faith, and real change.
This Sunday at Grace, we will take an honest look at some very flawed people who are still said to have done what they did by faith.
Will you pray with me this weekend for God to use his word to work in our lives and in our church?