October 28, 1997
In a society where teenagers are noted for religiously following the pressures of their peer group, it is odd that those who are Christian feel a responsibility to tell others of their faith in Christ. Even more unusual is that this conviction in young people often exceeds that of adult Christians.
Peers are a strong influence. Teens are not the only age group to conform under that pressure. In a simple issue of selecting which clothes to wear, both women and men make sure their clothes harmonize with what everyone else is wearing. No one wants to be the odd person. However, the gospel counters this tendency. Those who believe it have an unusual desire to demonstrate that we are different, not by what we wear but by what God has done in our lives.
Acknowledging ourselves as sinners is the hardest part. Bragging that we please God and are special to Him would be easier. Nevertheless, if we have evaluated ourselves honestly, we realize that we fall far short of the power and grandeur of our Creator.
Further, by taking an honest look at His Law and listening to our own conscience, we again see that we fall short. We know we have dishonored Him in many ways. We have put other gods before Him and made idols in our minds. We have used His name in profane thought and language. We have not trusted and followed Him but turned our own way and depended on ourselves. We have been without faith and faithless.
Besides directly ignoring or insulting God, Christians must also admit committing similar sins against other people. We know we have not honored our parents as we should. We know we have told lies, blatantly or in some misrepresentation of truth. We have been guilty of covetousness and have taken things that do not belong to us. Not one of us can say we have satisfied the standards of our own conscience, never mind kept the laws of God.
In both creation and His Law, we see our sinfulness but we also clearly see His righteousness. God does not do the things we do. All that He is and all that He does is pure. He is without greed, malice, envy or any evil. He alone is good, holy, full of truth and mercy.
Yet if the truth about ourselves and the truth about God is all we know, we would not have anything wonderful to tell others—failure and despair would overwhelm the wonder of God—but there is more. God’s revelation of Himself does not stop with creation and His laws. He also revealed Himself more vividly by coming to earth in a human body. The man, Jesus Christ, shows us God—with far greater clarity than either the world around us or the rules in His Book.
Yes, God is powerful and can make a universe and yes, God is holy and demands conformity to His law; however, in these we cannot see His mercy and love. Only in Jesus Christ can we see the unmerited favor and kindness of God.
Sin is a fact. So is our helplessness to overcome it. Yet God sent Jesus to trade our death penalty for His life. With Him, we are granted forgiveness and the righteousness of God. His life, in us, makes up our shortfall. He has taken care of our greatest need and makes us different people, capable of loving and obeying God. His life powerfully works to overcome our sin.
No wonder we are excited about our faith, yet even if we lacked enthusiasm, we still must follow the example of our believing youth. Our God has given us a commission, a mandate, to go and tell everyone the wonderful things He has done.