What I Read This Morning;

Genesis 4-6; Psalm 2; Matthew 2; Romans 2

A few weeks ago, in the Democratic debate, there was quite a moment between Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren.  The Senator condemned the Mayor having a fundraiser with high dollar donors in a wine cave.  Warren’s complaint was that the rich were funding Buttigieg’s campaign.  The point she seemed to be making was that Mayor Pete had failed the purity test and should be disqualified from the race in voters’ minds.

Buttigieg, parried by saying that Warren herself had accepted high dollar donations when she ran for Senate a few years earlier. He then responded, saying, “This is the problem with issuing purity tests you, yourself cannot pass.”

The next week it was reported that the Senator not only had accepted high dollar donors during her senate campaign, she also held a fundraiser in a wine cave.

Romans chapter 2 discusses the idea of purity tests.

The Christian community has a whole bunch of them.  Some Christians have recently said that you can’t be a Trump supporter and be a Christian.  Others have said just the opposite, requiring the support of Trump to prove one’s Christianity.  The Catholic Church is currently embroiled in a massive fight between conservatives and the more liberal Pope.  The Methodist church is heading towards another battle between those accepting homosexuals who want to be able to ordain homosexuals and marry them and those not accepting homosexuals who don’t want to marry them or ordain them.

The list goes on and on.

The problem is that human beings like to measure themselves against other human beings.  We want to be able to point to another person’s sin and say, “I’m better than him because I don’t do……….. that.”

Romans 2, however, rejects the notion of comparing ourselves to others.  In fact, the only comparison we should be making is against God’s standards.  When we compare ourselves to God’s standards, then we realize that we don’t measure up.  God’s standard goes deeper than the superficial outward appearance.  It goes directly to the heart of the believer.  It accesses the inner recesses of our hearts and minds.

Once we realize this, our purity tests fall apart.

We’re forced to turn to the Savior and fall to our knees.  We have to come to the understanding that we need Jesus saving grace to measure up. If we realize that we are all failing to measure up, then our argument about being better than our neighbor disintegrates right before our eyes.

But once we realize that, we become free to reach out to our neighbors.  Not with our stodgy rulebook, but with the love that Jesus gives us.  We can now reach out because we know that Jesus has provided a way out for each of us.  We can now reach out because we know our Savior has saved us and wants to save others.  We can now reach out because Jesus has made us pure, not because of how we live or what we do.

The only purity test that matters is the purity that comes from the cleansing of our souls by the very blood of Jesus Christ!

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