“I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” John 12:47
“Preach the Gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
What do these two statements teach us about the heart of God and our proper response to Him? First, I understand that Jesus Christ, who loves me, came and lived the perfectly righteous life that I could not live. He died the death I fully deserved. He took my punishment and credited me with His righteousness. So the Gospel demonstrates God’s righteousness AND His mercy. Just think about that for a minute. Jesus has not YET come to judge, but to save. His selfless act changes my whole outcome, giving me a future and a hope with God, providing me with the indwelling Holy Spirit who guides and empowers me.
Second, Christ’s command to preach the Gospel to all creation calls me into His merciful mission. It requires that I, too, leave judgment of the hearts of others to the One who knows them. I must embrace the truth that the Gospel powerfully convicts of sin and spurs ongoing spiritual transformation. When we find ourselves condemning another, perhaps even ourselves, while ignoring the mercy we’ve been shown, we distort His Gospel! And it’s NEVER just a speck in our eye. It’s always a plank, deeply embedded—often the result of wrongheaded, legalistic thinking. Our goal is to live out the Gospel so that others see and hear the truth that has transformed us. And once others embrace the truth, we are to “spur them on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
It is in our nature to call attention to the specks we see in others’ eyes; we seem to think that we are doing them a favor. But these imperfections, and ours, need delicate treatment! The Gospel transforms our response to the specs we see in the eyes of others. We show grace and mercy where once we would have been critical. We receive instruction with greater humility, aware that we are also imperfect. The Spirit works to perform the delicate surgery that transforms and sanctifies. He graciously and mercifully removes the plank or speck while preserving the sight.
As a surgeon, my husband knows firsthand how critically important it is to remove only diseased and damaged tissue, while preserving healthy tissue. In our personal relationship he often chooses to respond to my “specks” in this same helpful way. I don’t necessarily recognize what is happening immediately because his response is subtle, patient—not pointed. But when I am in the Word, and the Holy Spirit is revealing God’s truth to me, I can see how this man’s gracious love and support is God’s delicate instrument in opening my eyes to the Lord’s goodness and grace, “spurring me on…” instead of carelessly hurting me.
Written by: Nancy Cagle