Hello loves! Welcome to the first ever Bible Study Tuesday. For those of you who have not read my previous post giving a bit more of an introduction into this series, I’ll link it here. But basically Katey, from Chronicles of Frivolity, decided to start a Bible Study over on her blog and I loved the idea so much I decided to join and do it along with her. (Her introduction post is here.) We’ll be starting off with the book Jesus Is by Judah Smith. This week we’re talking about Sections 1-2 in the first topic section of Jesus Is Your Friend. So without further-a-do, let’s jump right into this!
In the first section of Jesus Is Your Friend, Judah starts off with talking about how we, as sinners, measure sin on some sort of non-existent scale. We think that some of us are worse sinners than others, or that we sin more and are somehow above or below our fellow sinners. But this isn’t true in God’s eyes. God isn’t angry with us for sinning, he loves us more than we could ever imagine… He just hates the sin. (This is the whole “hate the sin, love the sinner” mindset.) Jesus didn’t have a rating system either, he loved everyone on earth just the same. This is why he ate dinner with everyone, including tax collectors like Zacchaeus. According to the Jewish standards of that time, tax collectors were the lowest of lows. Yet during one afternoon of time with Jesus, Zacchaeus did a 180, he turned from the world’s greediest man, to one of the world’s most giving. Zacchaeus is not the one who did the saving here. His climbing into a tree, or his clamoring for Jesus is not what saved. It was God’s mercy and grace that changed his heart. It had nothing to do with Zacchaeus at all. I think this can give us more hope than ever, that no matter how bad we have “measured” our sin as, it is not us who has to cleanse our own sins, or completely right the wrong, because we can’t. It is God’s mercy and grace that does the work for us. All we need is to spend time with our gracious friend Jesus, and “let the goodness of God change us from the inside out,” as Judah says.
Section two starts out with God’s two kinds of sinners. I love Matthew 9:13 for this, Jesus says, “For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” What an amazing and clear cut explanation of Christ’s expectations of how we need to be handling ourselves. The thing here is, we have to humble ourselves and admit we are sinners before we can receive any of the benefits that Christ can pour out over us. We often tend to put ourselves above others like the Pharisees when we follow the man-made scale of “not so bad sins” and “really bad sins.” If we don’t sin horribly, we can sometimes forget or push to the side our desperate need for forgiveness for that sin, no matter how little it was. Judah says it like this: “… We are as messed up as the worst people we know, and many of us never get that honest with ourselves. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, we’ll never be honest with God.” This is a very hard and real fact that may take a little time to accept, and that’s ok. Pray about it and God will give you a hear of humility and a heart that recognizes your sin, and your need for an amazing loving Savior.