In two days, we will celebrate the 239th birthday of the United States. Many of us are convinced that ours is the greatest nation on Earth.
While some find that to be an arrogant statement, I am convinced it is true. Perhaps the greatest proof of that is that people from many places in the world will do whatever is necessary to come here. Not that many leave. Seems to me that those are pretty good signs that most people find our country to be a remarkable place in which to live.
Even as I write these words, I also am reminded that ours is not a perfect nation. There is a very good reason for that: People reside here. That is a recipe for trouble right there. The old saying is, “People are people.” That can be taken in a number of ways. What do you suppose it means?
I am convinced that three things are true of every person on Earth. I think all three ideas are taught in the Bible. In the first place, human beings are the special creation of God. Indeed, I believe there is a hierarchy in creation, and humans are at the top. When God created the heavens, Earth, plant life and animals, he said, “Behold, it is good.” When he created the first man, he said, “It is very good.” Indeed, we are unique in God’s sight.
The second thing that is true about people is that we are all sinners. I am aware that is not a popular teaching today, but both the Bible and our experience bear it out. The Bible says, “All have sinned …” It also says, “There is none righteous.” We are all sinners. Again, no one has to teach a toddler to say, “No.” It comes automatically. We are, at our cores, selfish beings, and selfishness is at the core of what it means to be a sinner.
But the third truth about humans gives us hope. It is simply this: We are all “savable.” That is, we can be changed. We can be reconciled to God. Many words are used in Christian circles to describe this change: salvation, conversion and others. But the truth is that, “God so loved the world” that he has made a way for us to come to him.
I am grateful that I am God’s unique creation. I acknowledge that I am a sinner. And I am overwhelmed that he loved me enough to make a way for me to become his child. This is the essence of the Gospel.
It’s the best news in the world. And it is offered to each of us.