In politics, opponents will often accuse each other of having an inaccurate view of the past. Whether they are wanting to disavow a now unpopular position, or they want to claim affinity for a suddenly popular one, its not uncommon for political figures to exhibit selective memory…and to hope their constituents do the same.
What’s common in politics in also common in the rest of the human race as well. Ask people whether they think they will go to heaven, and a majority will probably answer “I hope so.” When probed deeper and asked why they believe they will gain admittance, it is common to hear “Because I’ve lead a pretty good life.” Of course, the benefit of this type of statement is that its very hard to prove the alternative in that moment, and so the questioner will assume that the person’s life has, in fact, made a positive contribution.
Rarely, however, do we give an accurate account of the life we’ve lived. Even our overt actions are often insubstantially justified. When you include our hidden thoughts, feelings and emotions as well, it seems ludicrous that any of us can claim to have “lived a good life” let alone a life that is good enough for a holy God.
The apostle Paul, however, runs counter to this tendency. Here was man who repeatedly listed his iniquities and gave an account for his sinful actions. He did this, not to boast in the deeds he had done, but in the grace he had been shown. He did it to demonstrate that only God can truly revise a person’s history.
Let us follow the apostle’s example. Let Christians acknowledge their sin and the grace that has been showered upon us. And let us thank our God who intervened in history and change our future.