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.
Whenever I share the fact that for me, each time I hear the Law it brings me to despair or doom, (and I suggest that Luther too seemed to have believed that) my listener gets offended. When I hear the Law, it convicts me and tells me, I am not the person being described by it. Some have a more positive look at the Law. Some love the Law and they believe they are doing it or can do it each time it speaks. Do I love the Law? I think I do but it tells me what I am not. Perhaps I have a liking for being put down that is why I like it. It makes me uncomfortable yet I like to hear it. Perhaps, as a hint, may be I like it because it makes me run to where my resolution can be found.
I had a debate this week on the concept : can any man not love his neighbor from a pure heart, be he a Christian or not? My first answer was "no" - no one can. But of course, I was fronted with examples all over the place of people who have shown self-sacrificial love towards others and based on the outside, they seem to be loving their neighbor for their own sake.
Finally, I conceded and agreed. I will grant that an Atheist can show self-sacrificing love for his/her neighbor, for the neighbor's sake. I will grant that. The question is, what does God think of that, i.e. in front of Him, what value does it carry. None. Now that is hard to swallow. Our mind rebels against this. Some do get angry because this shoots down possibilities for self justification.
But I add, why not let God judge you and bring you to despair? Why not throw your hands up in the air and cry - "I am guilty". Because when you do -- you are ready to receive the joy of salvation -- The Gospel, that for Christ's sake God has taken the punishement for your sins and He placed it on Christ at the Cross --"paid in full".
One of our ladies in Bible Study shared the Gospel to her friend. The friend replied -- "I like a God who will let me pay for my sins"--huh? What duh?!!? How crazy is that?!!?
Why insist on paying for something that is being given/offered to you freely? That would be insane. We are talking about the future of our souls, we can not play nice and dice on this one.
Forgiveness is being offered freely- located in Chris, take it, it is yours.