A new year is upon us. With every new year comes resolutions. Resolutions are things people will attempt to do with the belief that it will make them or their lives better. Losing weight is probably the most sought-after goal; accomplishing some long evasive dream (“this will be the year I finally …) is probably next. Sadly, most will fail, but some will succeed.
Moving from the physical to the spiritual, many people try to get right with God by changing something in their life — stopping a sin or habit they believe God is unhappy with, going to church more often, being more charitable, being baptized or performing some other religious act. The problem here is — if we try to get right with God using these methods we will fail.
By saying within ourselves that we will start this or stop that, then we are coming to God on our terms, not His. God does not want our actions; He wants our heart. Psalm 51:16-17, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
In general, people know right from wrong. Our conscience, for example, will tell us it is wrong to lie, but everyone has said at least one lie in his or her lifetime. Even though we know it is wrong, we will still do it; that is why stopping something wrong or starting some right thing will not get us any closer to God. Obeying God’s law cannot save us because we cannot follow it one hundred percent of the time (Romans 8:3). Obeying a set of rules has made no one perfect, but there is a better hope that brings us to God. Hebrews 7:19, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw night unto God.”
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus is that better hope. If we are to come to God we do so on His terms, not our; and His requirement is His Son.
When does a person have that “broken spirit” and that “broken and contrite heart” that God so desperately desires — when we realize we cannot save ourselves and by faith turn ourselves over to God’s way of salvation. Consider the following verses.
Luke 17:33, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
As we saw earlier in John 14:6 Jesus claimed He was the only way to God. The verses above tell us we cannot save ourselves, we are saved through faith and not by the works we do, we need to believe in the Resurrection and our confession of Christ must not be superficial, it must be genuine, something from deep within our heart and soul.
Being a Christian, being saved, is not about the things we do, but about Christ. When a person has that broken spirit and contrite heart they understand deep down within the soul that only God can save them. This condition of heart and soul will cause them to come to God; they will believe they have no other choice. Because of the contrite state of his heart and soul, an individual knows beyond a shadow of a doubt The Lamb of God and the blood Christ shed at Calvary are the only means of salvation and in Christ places his faith. The heart, the faith, the blood, all of these wrap up the gift of salvation. Once salvation is acquired the Potter begins His work in His new vessel (Ephesians 2:8-10).
God is the Potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Christians are not broken pots fixed by God; He has made us into new vessels. Jeremiah 18:2-4, “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” The New Testament also backs this up; 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
In your experience with God — has your spirit been broken, has your heart broken and become contrite? Has your relationship with God been on His terms or yours? Is your relationship with Him superficial or real?
Rev. Timothy Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: [email protected] Johnson is available for revivals, prophecy conferences, and other speaking. His sermons can be found on SoundCloud. All Scripture KJV.