I found this fortune cookie wisdom being used to mark my place in a book. I’d put it there some time ago but recently pulled the book back out as I was preparing a sermon. The message of the “fortune” was striking to me in that it is the way most people are told to think about themselves. It certainly embodies the message of our culture and also, to the detriment of the truth, the sub-sect of Christendom when preaches a gospel of self-esteem, a gospel centered around looking good, feeling good, doing good, being good, and having good.
The message was striking because the word of God says that the gospel of lovability is no gospel at all (Gal 1:7). If I placed confidence in my own lovability I would be accursed (Gal 1:8, 9), for the simple fact that I am not lovable.
I am constantly drawn to the stark contrast the apostle Paul draws being someone who has been justified by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ and someone who has not been. In verses 6-10 there are four descriptors used of a person who has not yet received salvation: helpless (6), ungodly (6), sinners (8), and enemies (10). The first adjective shows how utterly impotent we are to earn God’s favor on our own. The second and third adjectives show why that is the case. We are ungodly and He is God. We are sinners and He is perfect, holy, righteous, and sinless. The fourth adjective, then, describes our state before God as a result of who we are. We are enemies. It isn’t merely that we are unlovable people, but we are enemies of God. Continue reading