The notion that you and I can turn our own lives around, that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and become a better person, is an attractive one. The problem is, it simply isn’t true.

Every Wednesday afternoon, the drivetime host on one of my local radio stations, has a segment called “Self-Improvement Wednesday”. And look, he presents some truly fascinating stuff. But the idea of self-improvement, well, it’s kind of like a mirage in the desert. Just when you think you’ve arrived at “The Better You” – poof – it disappears in a puff of smoke.

Think about it. If you and I could pedal harder to become the perfect version of ourselves, we simply wouldn’t need Jesus. The work of Christ on the Cross would have been in vain.

John Owen, in his 17th Century classic, “Of the Mortification of Sin” puts it like this: There is no death of sin, without the death of Christ. And it turns out, that he’s absolutely right:

Romans 6:3,4 Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ Jesus when we were baptised? In our baptism we shared in his death. So when we were baptised, we were buried with Christ and took part in his death. And just as Christ was raised from death by the wonderful power of the Father, so we can now live a new life.

When you’re drenched – and that’s part of what that word “baptised” means – in the powerful reality of the death of Christ, what He did for you on that Cross, then you can’t help but be transformed – which is the other part of its meaning – as by His power He sets you free from you sin.

It’s not about self-improvement. It never was. It’s all about salvation in Christ.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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