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Day 3 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Perfection Not Required

When you first realize that God has orchestrated all of creation to reach you with His message, it can be intriguing -- maybe even exhilarating. Then, you remember just how imperfect you are. That's a natural reaction when you start getting closer to God. He's perfect.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to be "good news" -- that's what the word gospel means. But the harsh truth is that we are separated from God because of our imperfection. Our sin is like a disease that leaves us in quarantine. Because of God’s perfection, he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Left untreated, your sin disease will eventually land you in a place reserved for punishing Satan himself. It’s called Hell -- a place of darkness, fire and pain.

The good news is that God’s perfection and holiness are equally matched by his mercy and compassion. He doesn’t want a single human to suffer in Hell, so he made a cure available. To satisfy the penalty for our sins, he allowed his son Jesus to take punishment in our place. In exchange, God offers us forgiveness -- a complete pardon.

If you choose to become a Christ follower, you have to be equally willing to acknowledge your deepest sins and accept his most comprehensive forgiveness. The Gospel is a universal appeal to a universally broken species. If you think you have something to offer God that would make him more likely to accept you, just forget about it. The very best any of us could manage would be ridiculously insignificant and just as ridiculously unnecessary.

Since Jesus alone was capable of paying our penalty, he became the only door through which we have access to God. Jesus told his closest followers, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." His exclusive claim is bold, but he backed it up by laying down his own life in our place.

One of my favorite quotes from the Bible to share with people is, "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Paul wrote that in his letter to the Roman church surrounded by a pagan culture far from God.

The really scary thing about the limitless forgiveness of God is that it leaves us all without an excuse. God has opened the doors of Heaven to all of humanity. With such an open invitation, if we choose not to accept it, we decline our only means of salvation. There's no alternative. There's no back door. The front door is open and the invitation has been issued without prejudice.

A powerfully limitless God would like to consider you a friend. You can ignore his invitation, but the door won't close as long as there's breath in your lungs. You can be a rebel, but you don't have the power to change his mind. He won't rescind his invitation.

Prayer

God, I know that I am far from perfect. Help me comprehend your forgiveness and your plan for restoration. Jesus, give me the courage to accept you as the only doorway to God.