One of the most uncomfortable things for Christians are the war chapters of the Bible. And this is partly because one of the least understood things by Christians is the depth and cost of humanity’s sinfulness. We don’t comprehend how much God cannot tolerate sin – and how much different God is than we are.
Sometimes we have the self-awareness of skunks that have wandered into the dining room. We don’t know understand what there is to hate about us – why the women scream and the men grab their guns. A skunk, if it were to have thoughts at all, probably would consider itself a pretty innocuous animal. It has characteristics to which it has become so accustomed that it likely would be surprised that others find those things repulsive, and violently so.
So it is with sinners. We are so accustomed to our sinfulness we fail at times to understand what’s so bad about it and why anyone, even God, would take offense at some of the things we do or some of the things that are in our hearts.
But sinners and sinfulness have no place in the presence of God. Israel was not immune to the vengeance of God, and neither were the Gentiles like the Midianites. “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things” (Romans 2:2). We must recognize it only is the grace of God that keeps us hanging around. If he gave us what we deserve, we would experience his vengeance, too.
“He will render each one according to his works” (Romans 2:6). God is aware of our actions and our thoughts. He knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves. We often wander around thinking there’s nothing unpleasant about us. But we are not fit, on our own, for the kingdom of heaven.
“There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:9-11).
God hates sin. But in his impartiality, he gave good news to all. Have you rid your life of every bit of self-righteousness? Do you understand where you would be but for the grace of God that is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Christianity has no place for spiritual pride.