In The News
I recently saw a news story about a young woman who had given birth to her baby, put her (the baby girl was later named Addison) in a plastic bag, and thrown her into a dumpster. She did this after smoking marijuana, drinking, and playing in a dodgeball tournament during her pregnancy. I’m sure you will agree that this is horrific, disgusting, and terribly sad. Social media is abuzz with conservative comments about this event, reminding us that, had the woman chosen a legal abortion just weeks before the birth of that child, she would have been applauded for her “choice” to kill her baby. Instead, she will spend years–possibly the rest of her life–in prison, condemned for killing her baby just a few weeks too late to meet the cultural standard.
There are plenty of political writers, pro-life advocates, and others who can do a much better job than I can at proclaiming the absurdity of this nation’s laws regarding life and death. That’s not what I want to share with you today. What I want to talk about today has nothing to do with our laws, lawmakers or even the freedoms that we as believers are fast losing in this great country of ours. In fact, we’re going to spend some time today thinking about the opposite of the fear and despair this world throws into our faces every day. We’re going to talk about hope.
Is Your Hope in the Goodness of People?
Where is your hope, my friend? Is it in the “goodness” of people? I have a few friends who still believe that people are basically good and that they just make bad choices. They would say that this college student who murdered her daughter was a good person; she was just in denial, or just scared, or just ignorant. But that’s not what my Bible says. My Bible says that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked, and that the intention of his heart is evil from his youth. God knows the heart of man and he knows that there is no one who is good. In fact, without divine intervention, our hearts will become more and more depraved, and will move farther and farther from Him.
But God, being the merciful and loving Father that He is, has provided a way for us, His image bearers, to receive a new heart that is full of goodness and truth like His. Ezekiel 36:26 says that He can give us a heart that will bring honor and praise to Him. We can ask the Lord to give us this new heart and create a righteous spirit within us. When we repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, our deceitful heart is made new and we are given an eager longing to live a life that is pleasing to God.
Losses in this Life
My heart breaks for this young woman, whose deceitful heart lied to her and told her that it was ok to do the things she did. I grieve for her parents in the loss of the future they’d dreamed of for their daughter when they sent her off to college, and I weep with them in the loss of their grandchild. I’m sorry for the father of this child, whose heart is apparently as dark and godless as the mother’s. I believe that little Addison is safe in the arms of God, and will never know any of the darkness and depravity of this world from which her mother so brutally dismissed her. But I weep most for a society that would judge guilt and innocence on the basis of such evil standards.
The judge, in this case, said this about the outcome of the trial: “We believe justice has been served as best as humanly possible.” He is correct. Human judgment comes from the human heart, the standards of which we have already seen have nothing to do with God’s. I am so thankful today that I have been found guilty before the sovereign God of the universe, sentenced to be condemned, and then, by the amazing grace of a loving, compassionate God, released from the bondage of my offense and given new life in Christ. This did not happen because I am a good person who deserves such freedom. It happened because the righteous Judge of the Universe decided, before time began, that it would be so. Nothing that I did has earned me this freedom:
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…Titus 3:4-6
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:4-5, 8-10
So I will ask you again, dear reader, where is your hope? Is it in the so-called justice of a society that would condone one, and from the same body of law, condemn another who committed the exact same crime? If so you should weep and mourn, because there is no justice there. If, however, you have placed your hope in the God of the Bible, trusting that He is able to make all things new, including the depraved human heart, then rejoice with me and don’t let the daily news cause fear or despair in your heart. God is good and faithful regardless of tomorrow’s headlines.
There are no good people, only a good and loving God who desires His people to repent of sin and turn to Him for heart change. When they do, they are cleansed from their sin and declared “Not Guilty!” Hallelujah! What a hope! What a Savior!