You probably can't leap entire buildings in a single bound. You don't have telepathic powers. You probably can't hit a two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port with your targeting computer turned off.
Yet as great as superheroes are, they have flaws too.
"Can you wipe out that much red?"
In The Avengers Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow, tells the story of how Hawkeye spared her life when he was charged with her execution. Now it was Hawkeye, under the spell of Loki, who needed saving. So Black Widow inquires of the villain how to free him from the spell.
Loki chalks this gesture up to sentimentality, but Black Widow says, "It's really not that complicated. I've got red in my ledger, and I'd like to wipe it out."
In response Loki asks her, "Can you? Can you wipe out that much red?" To the dismay of Natasha, he then begins to list off all of the horrific things she did before joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
The normally thick-skinned spy is brought to tears, because she knows that Loki is right. She can never make up for all of the bad things she did in the past (even though she tries).
Our stories are very similar. No matter how awesome we are, no matter how much good we do, we all have red in our ledgers—negative balances in our karmic bank accounts. Though we may not have murdered innocent people, we have all done things we regret—things we know were wrong. We are all liars, thieves, adulterers, and backstabbers:
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20
And no matter how hard we may try, we cannot make up for the evil we have committed.
Depressing story, right? But there is a more excellent way.
He Paid Our Debts
Enter Messiah, stage right.
Despite our sin nature, God provided a path to redemption. Before, the only way to clear our red ledger was by death:
For the wages of sin is death . . . Romans 6:23a
And actually it still is by death. But God sent His son, Jesus, to die the death that we should have died. He has paid our debt; all we have to do is go to the bank and claim the gift. How do we do that? By faith:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
So even if you are as strong, as tough, and as ethical as a superhero you cannot save yourself:
If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? Psalm 130:3
But the good news is that for those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the ledger is wiped clean. So if you're down on yourself for the sins you have committed, take heart. Even superheroes need Jesus.
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