As Filthy Rags

We finished our last post by stating that God is just and holy. He crosses every “t” and dots every “i” and will never leave any details undone. This creates a problem for mankind as we are unholy and inherit a sinful nature at birth. We’ve seen that the only just consequence of this is for us to die physically and spiritually.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17)

God had created everything in the Garden for Adam and Eve to enjoy. They were given free reign over the earth and had every need supplied. The only thing that was off limits was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them not to eat of it and so when they did, death entered into the human race.

Adam and Eve’s sin left us in a terrible place. God bound Himself to His Word when He said the consequence of eating the fruit was death. He cannot lie and He cannot change. The result then is that every man or woman after Adam and Eve will inherit the penalty of the first couple’s sin.

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalm 85:10)

This verse has been foundation to our study. The second half tells us that righteousness and peace have “kissed” each other. What does this mean?

Paul tells us that every one of us has sinned and missed God (Romans 3:23). Look back towards the beginning of the chapter:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)

As we look at the sinful nature of man it is starting to seem like none of us has hope. We are unrighteous and God righteous. How could the psalmist be correct in saying that righteousness and peace could come together? The only way would be for mankind to be provided a bridge of peace that would allow us to enter into God’s presence.

Our answer to this question is found in Jesus:

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:20)

Jesus is the bridge of peace. In Him we find our answer to how righteousness and peace could come together as described in Psalms 85:10. We enter into the presence of God through the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from the sin nature that has imprisoned mankind since the original sin.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

This verse in Isaiah has always intrigued me. Our efforts will never produce anything clean. Isaiah tells us that our works will never amount to anything more that a filthy rag but people still talk about all of the good things they have done.

It does not matter how good of a life any person lives. If they do not accept Jesus then everything about their life is like a filthy rag when compared to the righteousness of God! Our standards though are twisted. We call a person good but are comparing them to a criminal who has committed a horrendous crime.

Our society has become deadened to sin. Any sense of right and wrong has become totally twisted. If you do not believe this, take a look at the billboards along the road, television shows airing in primetime, or the commercials airing during a professional sporting event.

God did not create us to live at the level many of us are living at today. He has destined us for greater things but we will never accomplish any of them separate from Jesus.

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