This morning I have been working on my Bible study for tomorrow. As I have studied these terrible AND wonderful words from Romans, I realize that Ash Wednesday isn’t just for Catholics!
It is for all of us! It is easy for us to shortcut the truth of our situation apart from Christ and skip over to who we are in Christ.
We get so enthused over the good news that we swiftly brush past the bad news…and it is horrible news! There is nothing about us that is naturally good. NONE of us seeks GOD. There are NO exceptions!
The cold, hard truth about our hearts!
You can read it here. It is like GOD taking away all our facades, scrubbing off all the make-up, ripping off all the expensive jewelry and custom made clothes and saying, “This is what the real you looks like!” And to make it worse, He adds, “There are no exceptions!” No amount of penance on my part will make it any better.
That is very black news. Horrible in fact. We are worse than we ever imagined!
But I couldn’t leave you there. That’s why I added the Good News of the Gospel! I didn’t add it so you could quickly skip over to it and try to forget the first part. But rather, that you spend time remembering who you are, apart from Christ…in your natural state.
Dwell on it. Think about it. You (and I) aren’t the exceptions to the rule! We are wretched, depraved sinners at the very core!
But GOD reached down in grace and mercy and provided a way to redeem us…by sacrificing His Son!
This is Ash Wednesday. It is the day to meditate on the Bad News, the painful, hard truth of who we all are at the core!
But Easter is coming!
As it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by his grace as a gift,
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
to be received by faith.
This was to show God’s righteousness,
because in his divine forbearance he had passed overformer sins.
It was to show his righteousness at the present time,
so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.