You’re worse off than you figure!

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Several years ago, there was a Ten Shekel Shirt song that began, “Cheer up, you are worse off than you figure.”  You might want to say in response, “And a good morning to you too.”  This morning, we are going to look at some of the “worse off than you figure” parts of life.  Praise be to the Lord, that we can also say, “Cheer up.” 

In the last devotional, we looked at the three things you need to know in order that you might live in the comfort of belonging to the Lord Jesus.  In question two, the first thing that you need to know is the greatness of your sin and wretchedness.  Our natural response to being told that we need to know our sin and wretchedness is to say, “I am not sinful and wretched.”  The Bible disagrees.  As I read last time, Romans 3:23 declares that ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Given that we are sinful and wretched.  It stands to reason that we should seek to understand how bad we really are.

Question number 3 of the Heidelberg Catechism says, “Where do you learn of your sin and its wretched consequences?”  Its answer is short and simple.  It says, “From the Law of God.”  When we look to the Old Testament it is sometimes tempting to see a list of do’s and don’ts.  Take for instance Deuteronomy 27:17-18.  It says, ‘CURSED IS HE WHO MOVES HIS NEIGHBOR’S BOUNDARY MARK.’  AND ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL SAY, ‘AMEN.’ ‘CURSED IS HE WHO MISLEADS A BLIND PERSON ON THE ROAD.’ AND ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL SAY, ‘AMEN.’  The list of “rule” goes on and on and on.  As we read them, we realize that no man can keep the law.  As we spend time meditating on the Law, we come to the realization that we are not people who have any ability to boast about our goodness.  We are sinful, awful people, so I say cheer up!

You might wonder how in the world I would say cheer up in the same breath as the proclamation that we are sinful and wretched people.  The answer is simple.  God does not love us because we are righteous and good.  He declares us to be righteous and good.  When we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, our sins are forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ is added to us!

There is another reason for us to find comfort even as we are finding out how wretched and sinful we are.  In order to highlight that, I would just direct you to think about life without the Law of God.  Without the Law of God constraining people, there would be chaos and ruin.  People would be “free” to do as they pleased.  To be clear, apart from Christ, people are enslaved to sin.  Life without the Law would be a life of bondage and death.  Even as we read in the Law of God that we are sinners, we can take heart knowing that the Law of God teaches us that we are sinners and points us to the Lord Jesus.

The Law also does something else.  It teaches us about the character of God.  Look again at Deuteronomy 27:17-18.  These verses clearly speak of the evils of deception and the importance of truth for people.  They also tell us that truth is something God delights in.  This in turn gives us confidence when the Lord promises to care for us and be with us all our life.