Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Can I Rejoice Enough?

Sometimes the greatest sin of all is laboring to be righteous. At least, I can say this was my sin.


I suppose to many I didn't seem very sinful. Born to the most loving of parents, I truly had an serene and peaceful childhood in 1830s Devonshire. My father and mother lived before me a love for the Lord from the time I could toddler the halls of our comfortable home. Nourished in this wholesome soil, I grew into a cheerful, amiable young lady.

But in my mid teens, a disturbance rippled over the calm pool of my life. Fellow church members, whom I had always held in great esteem, begin to disappoint me. It was no personal transgression against myself they committed; but their relationships with some others lacked the compassionate mercy of Christ. Their words held a great form of godliness, yet seemed wholly absent from the love that worketh no ill to her neighbour.

Already given to an perfectionist bent of nature, this hardened my resolve I should not be found with this stain of hypocrisy. With crusader zeal, I set about to establish I would exemplify all God required. I studied the Bible. I prayed with the fervor of a seasoned intercessor. I diligently followed every good work. But the more I applied myself, the more I saw how high and lifted up was the law of God. It was as if whenever I drew near to touching the bar of perfection, it rose higher out of reach than ever before.

By my nineteenth year, I was hopeless. My friends and acquaintances all thought I was a Christian, but I knew the truth. I had come to the end of my ideals and found my heart unsatisfactory for the name or favor of Christ. Would I never find the empowerment to walk in the love and holiness of Christ?

Then one day, all changed. Through the help of a visiting minister, I realized for the first time working for righteousness was what had held me back all along. How do I begin to describe it? My eyes were finally open to the simplicity of the gospel. The work of our redemption is not ours but God's. I had been looking inward, hoping to raise some proof I was in Christ. But salvation is never found within man anymore than the cure is found within the diseased body. As the bitten Israelite could only find an antidote against the venom of the fiery, wilderness serpent outside his own resources, only the look of faith at the Son of God could cure my sin. As long as I looked within, I would find despair. But when I looked to Christ, I found healing and I found rest. I found Him!

Dear friend, don't look within to see if you have faith enough to be saved; look only to Jesus. If one asked you why you should have hope of God's good heaven, any answer beginning with "Because I..." will not justify or assure you. Only the answer that freely speaks "Because Jesus is righteous and died to be made sin for me if I only believe God raised Him from the dead." will bring the Spirit's witness you are God's. It's not your righteousness; it's Jesus. It's not your wholeheartedness; it's Jesus. It's not your understanding; it's Jesus. Won't you come and rejoice with me?

In witness to Christ,
Elisabeth Rundle

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