2006-04-23 - The Foolishness of Man
Psalm 69:5, "O God, it is Thou who dost know my folly."
As we all know April 1 is known as April Fools' Day. There have been some good hoaxes played on that day, and some continue the tradition throughout the month. I almost pulled the ultimate April fools joke about 10 years ago, when I got into a car accident that was completely my fault - on April 1. I got out of the car and said I was sorry. I have wished that I had smiled, waved to the guy and said, "April fools." I blew the opportunity.
Another April fools joke was done by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1957. They announced that the mild winter had almost eliminated the dreaded weevil in Switzerland and that the Swiss spaghetti harvest was much greater this year than in previous years. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Many believed it. Some even called to ask how they could grow spaghetti trees. The BBC reportedly replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce, and hope for the best."
Growing spaghetti trees shows the foolishness that we are all prone to fall into. However, there is one area of life in which we can't afford to act or believe foolishly. This has to do with eternity. We are prone to think foolishly in this area. We are prone to make the gospel more complicated than it really is. When the simple gospel is presented, that for salvation we must believe on Jesus and His atonement for the forgiveness of our sins, we hesitate. Is there not something more? Is there not some great task I can perform, to become worthy of having my sins forgiven? The answer is nope. It is "believe on Christ." Redemption is found in no other source.
We are foolish enough to think or even live as if our actions somehow make us more worthy of God's grace in Christ. There is nothing that can make us worthy of forgiveness. It is a true gift to those who are needy. Do what we will, visit the sick, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, sleep on a bed of nails, and outside of Christ such actions are as helpful to gaining salvation in Christ as taking the engine block out of a car is to getting it road-worthy. It is not what we do, but what we believe, that gains us release from our sins. Serving God is an important part of our growth in grace, but that first step must be taken to have our hearts renewed by the Spirit in the shed blood of Christ for sin, or those words, "Depart from me, I never knew you," still applies to us. (Matthew 7:23, 25:41)
Placing our hope for eternity and forgiveness in any other than in the shed blood of Christ for sin is to trust a lie. Sometimes it is good to remember that it is not all we do that punches our ticket to heaven, but rather it is Christ alone that removes the leprosy of sin that lies deep within us. We are receivers of grace. Our action is the action of faith, and for many it is so simple that it becomes difficult. And amazing as it seems, even our faith is a gift of God, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (John 6:29) So I use today as a simple reminder to myself, and anyone who read this far that: learn as much of the faith as we can, do as many good deeds as time allows, purge ourselves from as many known sins as we can discover in our lives, and they are only of any use to us if we first, by simple faith, rest in Christ alone for all our hope. To do anything else would be foolish.
Soli Deo Gloria,