Yesterday at Church we sang the song “Amazing Grace.” It is a timeless song. You would be hard pressed to find an adult that does not know the song to some degree. The first line is, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” The bad thing about songs, are that we tend to slide past words. We get caught up in the melody and leave the truth behind.
Yesterday, the word that the Spirit convicted me of was “wretch.” It is a vicious word. It is a word that Paul, the author of Romans, using to describe himself in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” The Greek word for wretched is talaipōros and the only other time that it is used is in Revelation 3:17 by Jesus when he says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Between these two uses of the word wretched, is a great chasm. On one side are those who have eyes to see their wretchedness and on the other are those who are blind to the filth that covers their life.
We live in a postmodern world, where everything is relative. When we are confronted with our sin, we immediately compare ourselves to someone worse. This act of comparison does not raise us up, but lowers everyone else down. It is “pitiable.”
For those who do recognize their wretchedness, they do so by comparing themselves, not to others, but to God. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48. When you do this, you begin to see how sinful you are, not just in the big things, but in all things. Our sin permeates into everything we do. It infects our marriages, our parenting, our work, our hobbies, our thoughts, our conversations…everything. Our lives are spent running from God, not walking with Him.
At best, people may (and I use may liberally) spend one hour a week with our Creator at Church, but commonly people complain about even that small act of godliness. God gives us life, and we respond with ingratitude, rebellion, and contempt. We reek of wretchedness.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “ – Romans 5:6-8
This overwhelms me. This verse flies in the face of everything we are taught in this fallen world. Despite our utter distaste for God, Jesus lays down His life so that we can be reconciled to God. It is amazing that God still wants to be with us after we have treated Him as if He is irrelevant.
The recognition of my wretchedness compared to God’s Grace in Jesus Christ leaves me one option…worship.