The Israelites are standing on the East of the Jordan River, getting ready to enter the promised land. Moses has given them the law, and he speaks now, “Today, I have set before your face life and death, good and evil” (Dt 30:15). Inheritance of the promise if you hear the word and guard your ways, destruction if you turn aside to worship other gods.
The good news of the promise never comes without bad news. And the bad news is this: you haven’t received yet what God wants to give you, and you need it. Salvation, redemption, reconciliation, healing—these are all action words, moving from bad to good. If we need to be saved, then we must be in danger. Heaven stands against Hell, life against death, and after the final judgment, there is nothing in between.
The good news never comes without bad news. And you can’t receive the good news if you aren’t willing to receive the bad news as well. Christ is no savior if there is nothing to save us from. How can he break the chains if you hide them? “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Mt 9:12).
“God sent his Son not to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17). But in the next breath, the Gospel declares that the one who doesn’t believe in Jesus is already judged. “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19).
Those who welcome Christ know their weakness. They know that the light of the cross is their salvation, and that the revelation of their sin is a mercy. But there are many who will not accept that they are, or ever were, sick. There are many who will not come to the light, lest they be seen to be evil. But there is no healing in the darkness. And what a foolish death it is to refuse life and happiness only so as not to have to admit that you are dying and sad. Do not hide from the doctor! Stand in the light, return to your conscience, see and confess your sin, and Christ will heal you!
Photo by Max LaRochelle