July 17, 2017
Our best attempts at being righteous through religiosity, self-denial and good works cannot justify us before God. This takes away all human boasting, for humanity is steeped in sin and beyond saving itself. Yet, God has provided a Savior, which is Christ Jesus the Lord. The one who “believes on Him” is made just in God’s sight. The believer’s faith is counted as righteousness by God, for it depends on the righteousness of Christ, rather than his own.
Stop working and believe. Rest in Christ’s work.
July 15, 2017
Paul wrote that the outward signs of Judaism were inadequate for proving their faith. What matters is the inner life, the circumcision of the heart. For “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). This principle is also true for the one who would claim to be a Christian. It’s implications are:
– Outward religion is less important than inner relationship. Have you become a child of God through faith in Christ?
This means that…
– Being born into a Christian family does not make us so.
– Baptism without heart change will not save.
– Profession of faith through creed or prayer alone will not save.
– Church attendance and generosity alone will not save.
As Jesus said, “You must be born again of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Have you received Jesus as Lord and Savior, so that you are born again by His Spirit?
July 14, 2017
Don’t let the richness of God’s goodness, the apparent way that He seems to let those who continue in sin still prosper, and His patience towards evildoers in this world, lull you into doubting His existence. Or worse, despising Him as unjust because He does not judge sin immediately. For it is His goodness that should soften your heart and bring you to repentance, changing your mind on self-rule and surrendering your will to His. And it is His forbearance and patience that should cause your heart to tremble because He is storing up His wrath for the Day of judgment. For God is loving and good, but He is also holy and just. Repent therefore, and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, that you might be forgiven and be accepted on that Day.
August 1, 2016
Scripture contains two streams. One stream flows tortuous and muddy through a valley, filled with real stories of human sin, violence and judgment. Seeing its filthy flow, we are overwhelmed and often disgusted. We wonder why a loving God would allow for such. Why would this stream of stories even be in the Bible? The second stream falls down from the mountains cool and clean, it sparkles in the sun as it gushes down rocky heights with revelations of God’s righteousness, forgiveness and love. Observing this dangerous torrent and hearing its mighty roar, we are filled with a fearful longing. We have a deep desire to dive into its crystal clear depths, yet one inward glance at our fragile fallen selves reminds us that we would be destroyed beneath its crashing flow. Then, as we follow the two streams passing from the Old Testament to the New, we see them converge. The two streams of Scripture crash together at the cross of Christ. We finally understand. Seen through the lens of the cross it all makes sense. Our sin and God’s righteousness collide in Christ. He took our sin, separation and death, that we might have His righteousness, sonship and life. The two streams of Scripture were written for our “instruction,” both for our endurance and encouragement, that we might have hope in Christ.
July 31, 2016
In Romans 14, the apostle Paul addresses how Christians should treat one another concerning matters of liberty and conscience. Specifically, he mentions diet, drink and holidays as areas that should be left up to conscience, but not to let our freedom in these areas cause another brother to stumble. Paul is clearly not speaking of doctrinal matters here. Certainly such things as lying, stealing and immorality are sin. He is speaking of disputable matters, like whether eating meat or being a vegetarian is preferable for a believer. This was an especially relevant topic during Paul’s day as Jewish background believers with their kosher diets were now breaking bread with Gentile background believers who had no such dietary restrictions. What is the timeless principle for us today? Isn’t it to put your brother’s welfare ahead of your own?
July 28, 2016
After Paul described the mystery of God’s salvation for Israel and the fulness of time for the Gentiles, he concluded with an exaltation of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Paul recognized that he was only scratching the surface of understanding God’s plans. He was only able to describe that which the Spirit had revealed to him. Yet, there remains a depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge that would take eternity to plumb, and still not reach its limit. How foolish are those creatures who would question the Creator’s judgments and ways. Their finite perceptions and understanding are so limited that they do not even know themselves, much less their Maker. How wonderful it is for those who have received God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. We have believed that which God has revealed, so that we might trust Him with that which remains a mystery.