There are at least two beloved hymns that contain the word "wretch" within their verses. The context of that word in those hymns denotes the spiritual condition of unbelievers before Jesus enters into their heart and life.
"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound - that saved a wretch like me!"
Victory In Jesus
"How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me."
Wretch is an ugly word - describing a person who is miserable, despicable, vile, or outcast. Perhaps many would say, "Whoa! I was bad, but never like that!" But wait...the Bible tells it much differently.
God loves us, He created us, and His desire is for us to walk with Him, to serve Him, and to worship Him. However, the Bible is clear that all mankind is dead in sin, therefore, it's impossible to have a personal relationship with Him and please Him without a spiritually cleansed renewal of the heart. Our God is a holy and righteous God Who cannot look upon sin, and as unrepentant sinners, we are wretched to Him - not fit for His kingdom.
Although all are alienated from God, it's through Christ's shed blood on His cross and His death that we can be reconciled to be presented holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight (Col. 1:21,22). We become worthy in the eyes of God only through the redeeming blood of the cross. Our worthiness is not a result of anything we do to gain God's approval.
However, many are deceiving both themselves and others by acting out Christianity - doing those things Christians are supposed to do. Most are kind and love one another, they regularly attend church, they sing in the choir, and they even attend Bible studies. They have religion in their life, but don't have Jesus in their heart. Their names are recorded in a church membership book, but not in the Lamb's Book of Life. They have never experienced a born again, spiritual re-birth of the heart. That describes many in our churches today - they are wretched in the eyes of God, but don't know it.
The Apostle John recorded the messages of our Lord Jesus to seven churches of Asia. His letter to the church of Laodicea also describes many of our churches today as well as individuals within the churches. They are repulsive to the Lord and damaging to His purpose. In short - they make Him sick. The church, so wrapped up with their works and material things, does not recognize its true condition. John wrote in Rev. 3:17 that they claim to be wealthy and in need of nothing, but don't understand they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Because of their pitiful and lukewarm condition, Jesus said in Rev. 3:16 that He will vomit them out of His mouth. Rev. 3:20 reveals that Christ is being kept outside of His church, but He stands there calling and knocking at the door to be heard - longing to be invited in to fellowship with them. It's sad, but the Jesus they claim to love and worship is not the Jesus of the Bible. The real Jesus is not at the forefront of their lives.
The sin of pride and self-sufficiency has blinded some people preventing them from humbly submitting themselves to the God of all creation - the One Who is in control of all things. Romans 12:3 warns that we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. James, the brother of the Lord and a man of noted authority, wrote in James 4:10 (NKJV), "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:16 that the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Perhaps many who have never thought of themselves as wretched have never been truly convicted of their lost and sinful condition. They have never been humbly on their knees in repentance - crying out with a remorseful, broken heart to Almighty God. They may have never prayed something like this: "Oh God, help me! I'm a lost sinner and need the Savior in my life! I'm so sorry for what I've done, for my unbelief, and for not trusting in You! I repent of my sins, Lord - forgive me! I believe Jesus suffered and died on that cross for me, in my place. Lord Jesus, come into my heart now, this very moment, and help me to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name. Amen!"
The Bible tells us in Luke 15:10 that when one sinner repents, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God. Just imagine...there's a massive victory celebration in heaven the moment each one of us places our faith and trust in Him! Also, as born again believers, we instantly become royalty. We become sons and daughters of the most-high sovereign God Who rules today and will rule and reign forever. As a child of the King, we become worthy heirs to the kingdom of heaven. Revelation 3:4 promises that the faithful in Christ will walk with Him in purity and righteousness, for they are worthy.
We can have absolute assurance of our salvation through the promises God provides for us in His Word. God's Word is infallible, and we must trust His promises through faith in Him.
John 3:16 (NASB) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Romans 10:9,10 (NASB) "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
1 John 4:15 (NASB) "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God."
Isaiah 43:1b (NASB) "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine!"
From wretched to worthy...only by God's amazing grace!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!
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