The cross of Jesus is the great leveler of the human race. In the cross of Christ every man, woman, and child is condemned. The standard of innocence, the standard of righteousness, the standard of perfection is displayed in the cross. And no one measures up. No one is innocent like Jesus. No one is righteous like Jesus. No one is perfect like Jesus. And not only that, we would all be ultimately complicit in His murder. On the great and terrible day of judgment when God reveals the secrets of every soul, when God peels back our smiles and lies, He would find only filth, only rottenness, only sewage. Every human stands before the cross guilty, condemned.
But this is the great hope of the human race. This is a message that is both simple and frustratingly difficult to communicate. Your only hope, our only hope is in that message of condemnation. The Good News of the Gospel begins with the accusation that the world is guilty before God of an infinite offense, infinite treason. You aren’t sort of bad, or even just a little bit bad. You’re a wreck, you’re a mess, and you’ve personally betrayed the God who made you and gives you life every day. We’re all failures, all traitors. And this is to say that the blood of Christ is not optional. The blood of Christ is the only way of forgiveness, the only way of healing, the only way of freedom. But frequently people are like severe burn victims with mutilated bodies who want to dab a little bit of grace here and there as though it were only a little sunburn.
But in the church, especially in the church, it is terrifyingly tempting to think that some people are actually better than others. She’s so nice, she’s such a good mother, good housekeeper, he’s such a good man, such a hard worker, so smart, they have such obedient children, what I’d give for their marriage, etc. But you don’t know what you’re saying. You don’t know the insanity of that sentiment. This is to miss the fact that the Church is the ER of the world. This is the severe burn unit of the universe, and we’re here this morning because we’re horribly disfigured sinners who desperately need the blood of Christ to cover us entirely. Stop trying to prove that you’re OK. Stop trying to measure up to some invisible standard in your head. You can’t, and you never will. And the wonderful news of the cross is that Christ has done all that is necessary for you.
It makes no sense whatever for one cracked pot to envy another cracked pot. That’s what we are; we have the treasure of the Kingdom in these broken vessels. What do you have that was not a gift? Why do you pretend this is a competition? There is only sin and failure on the one hand and the absolute, bottomless grace of our Father on the other.