Thursday, January 16, 2003
Our friends John and Marie have a lovely family area in their home that they call the Great Room. And it really is a great room - big fireplace, lots of comfortable couch and chairs, tastefully decorated. It's just one of those rooms that people are drawn into like a magnet, and you don't want to leave. And on the wall near the fireplace, there's a beautiful painting. That's new. See, it hasn't always been there ... until the wall cracked. Now, they tell me it was some kind of water damage, but it has left this really ugly hole in the wall. Hey, but who would know? It's all covered up with this lovely painting!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Ugly Beneath the Beautiful."
Now, it's true that no one can see the ugly spot. It's successfully covered up by something beautiful. It keeps anyone from knowing about the ugly, but not even a Rembrandt can repair the damage!
Most of us have some ugly that we would just as soon not have anyone see. There's ugly stuff in our past, in our heart, in the closets of our life. The secrets that we don't want anyone to know about - the dark side we try to conceal. Those weaknesses, those failures, and the mistakes that betray the wonderful view that we portray to the world. See, we cover the ugly with a great personality, with religious activity, with spirituality, with our image, with the good things we do. But no matter how impressive what we hang on the wall is, the damage - the holes inside - are still there. God says that one day, all the cover-ups will come off the wall, and we will be judged on the basis of the ugly on the inside, not the beauty that's on the outside.
Our word for today from the Word of God is in Romans 2:16. It talks about "the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ." That's the junk we've successfully concealed from others - maybe even those closest to us. But it's totally known to God. And until the sin inside is removed - not just covered up - we are in the danger zone with the One who will judge us based on His knowledge of every secret.
In the next chapter in the Bible, God tells us that no one is exempt from the reality of a sinful heart or of the consequences of a self-run life. He says, "All have sinned" - even the most religious person among us. It says, "and they fall short of the glory of God." There is no way we can make it into God's heaven with this sin we all carry inside, no matter how much religion we cover it with. Sounds pretty hopeless until you read on.
Yes, we've all missed it with God, but it goes on to say, "we are justified" (that means made right with God) "justified freely by His grace through the redemption" (or the rescue) "that came by Christ Jesus." God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. Now, we couldn't do anything to fix our sin problem, but God, who is the one we've sinned against, reached out in love by sending His Son to die our death penalty - to remove the stain of the sin that has haunted us and that has condemned us for so long.
And today, God's waiting to go deep inside you where all the sin is, and all the guilt and all the shame and all the secrets and clean all that up. He wants to forgive it all. He wants to repair what you could never repair and change what you could never change and cleanse what you could never cleanse. And it happens when you tell Jesus that you're trusting Him to be your rescuer from your sin. This could be your day to be something better than religious. You could be forgiven. You could be clean.
If you want this new beginning, this relationship with Jesus Christ, I'd love to send you the booklet I wrote about it called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it. There's nothing like the freedom, the relief, of knowing that the sin of a lifetime is gone - not concealed - but gone.