"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:10-11)
Highlights magazine has a sort of comic strip storyline with two characters, brothers named "Goofus" and "Gallant." In the story, Goofus and Gallant are always faced with choices about things – things like helping their mother, obeying a "No Swimming" sign, or what to do on a test when they do not know the correct answer.
Somehow, Gallant always chooses to do the noble, wise, and good thing. He helps his mom with a sweet attitude. He does not go swimming in the wrong zones. And he would never cheat on a test.
But Goofus always manages to get himself in trouble. How? Well, he always chooses the easy, fun, and foolish way out of any situation. If he has an opportunity to cheat on his test, he probably will think, "It's just for this one time" or maybe "I already know the right answer; I just forget!" If he sees a "No Swimming" sign, he will tell himself that the sign is for little kids, or for really bad swimmers, or just against swimming at certain times of the day. Goofus is quick to think of reasons why what he wants to choose is also what he should choose. Then he goes swimming, against the sign, and gets hurt, or he cheats on his test and gets suspended from school.
When we are tempted to think like Goofus does about sin, it is called "rationalizing" or "justifying" ourselves. We want our decisions to be rational (to make sense), and we want them to be just (right and good). But we also want what we want! So we fool ourselves into thinking that sin is reasonable and makes sense. We talk ourselves into calling sin something other than "sin." We want a way to make our wrong decisions be right!
We cannot justify (make right) our own sin or anyone else's sinfulness, because we ourselves are sinful. But Jesus Christ was not sinful. He never sinned. Do you know Jesus is able to justify those of us who want to be right with God? Even if we were to behave like Gallant all the time – always obeying mothers and signs and rules! – we still could never get rid of our sinfulness. We could never "earn" the right to be called just (right or good). But realize this: Jesus did earn the right to make us just, when He took upon Himself the iniquities (sins) of many. He bore our sins, and that was the only way we could ever be justified (made right or good) before God.
Jesus Christ is the only One righteous enough to make sinners right with God.
» Do I try to rationalize my sin? Do I ever try to justify my sinful choices?
» How does God view any one of my sins?
» Who can make me right with God, even though I'm a sinner?
Truth In Real Life
“I know whom I have believed.”
Daniel Webster Whittle was born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1840. Born to a very godly mother, Daniel Whittle learned about God at a young age. He grew up learning Bible stories and Scripture verses, but he struggled with whether or not to give his life to Christ.
At age 21, Daniel served in the military during the Civil War. In 1861 he enlisted as a second lieutenant and left to fight for one year.
“Major Whittle,” as he would come to be known, was injured in the Civil War and lost his right arm – so he returned home. While in the war hospital, he wanted something to read. He picked up a New Testament to fill his time. While he was reading it, a nurse approached him and asked him to speak to another soldier who was dying. Daniel declined, but the nurse pressed him further. Daniel tells this story:
“I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God, Who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.”
Shortly after this experience, Daniel Whittle met another man who would influence his life deeply. He met D.L. Moody – the famous evangelist. Mr. Moody recognized that Daniel had musical gifts and encouraged him to join him in his work. Daniel agreed. Over the years, he wrote over 200 hymns, including “The Banner of the Cross,” “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing,” and “Moment by Moment.”
How are you using the gifts and spiritual heritage that God has given you? God gives us chances every day to witness. Are you witnessing?
1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.