July 23, 2016
Both we and creation experience an inner groaning, as in the pains of childbirth, awaiting the fulfillment of our redemption. In these last days, as sin and suffering in this world increase, so does our longing for that which the Spirit within us promises. There is coming a Day when all suffering and pain will end. We will receive resurrection bodies like Jesus and we will dwell with Him forevermore. So, may the groaning of your body remind you of this hope.
July 22, 2016
Those governed by the sin nature (“the flesh”), no matter the ceremonial precepts they affirm or the outward religious acts they perform, cannot please God. They are still guided and motivated by a carnal mind. It is their unrenewed state that makes their offerings unacceptable. God cares more for the heart than the offering. It is faith in Christ that pleases God. Those who are in the flesh must place their faith in Christ, so that they are born again spiritually. Those governed by the Spirit will live by the Spirit. It is this new Spirit-filled life that pleases God.
July 20, 2016
“Consider yourselves dead to sin.” Not toiling, nor working, but counting yourself dead to that sin which once enslaved you. And in the same breath consider yourself “alive to God.” Calling upon the Name of Jesus who paid the price for your adoption, be filled with the Spirit and walk in His power. Let Christ remove the grave clothes of your old life. Like Lazarus, arise and come forth! Put on your new clothes of righteousness in Christ Jesus and truly live!
July 19, 2016
If the sin of the one man, Adam, was sufficient to bring death to all humanity, then so much more shall the righteousness of Christ bring life. For Christ is in a sense, the second Adam. We are all born into sin by the first Adam, but only those born again by the second have received His gift of grace. The death and suffering that entered the world through Adam are plain to see. And so too, is the grace of God which was revealed in Jesus to those who believe.
July 18, 2016
This is the doctrine of justification. One way to remember this doctrine is the saying, “Just-as-if-I-never-sinned.” This is about God’s justice and our judicial position before Him. In Christ, we are justified. By faith, the righteousness of Christ is accounted unto us, while our sin is accounted unto Him. This is more than just clearing our criminal record and getting us out of jail. It is accounting unto us the status of righteousness, reconciling us to God and making possible our adoption as sons. The Judge has not only released us from prison, but has taken us home with Him to live in His house as family.
July 16, 2016
What is “propitiation?” In the original Greek, the word is ἱλαστήριον, hilastérion. It is a sin offering put forth to satisfy and appease the wrath of God towards sin. It may also refer to the mercy seat, which was the covering of the ark, upon which the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement. Propitiation involves two parts: 1) It satisfies the offended party’s need for judgment, and 2) It reconciles the offender to the offended party. Since the “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23), the only acceptable justice is death. Yet God, the offended party, put forth His own propitiation for us in the offering of the blood of Christ Jesus, satisfying both His holiness and His love. At the cross we see both the terrible ugliness of our sin and the awesome love of God intermingled. For God’s great love and holiness are there displayed. Those who have “received by faith” this propitiation are now completely forgiven of their sins and fully reconciled to God.
July 13, 2016
The beauty and order of creation points to the unseen Creator, yet sin has lowered humanity’s vision to the visible creature. With an innate need to worship, they praise nature instead of nature’s God. This fallen focus puts a lie at the center of their thinking, so that their thinking devolves into foolishness and futility. This falsehood cannot be exposed without spiritual power. Mere words and human persuasion will not suffice. Sin has blinded their eyes and their minds are darkened. Only the power of God and the preaching of the gospel can shine the light of truth and reveal their need to repent and be saved.
July 12, 2016
Paul expressed his longing to see the believers in Rome. He desired to impart spiritual gifts to strengthen them and to be mutually encouraged by being together. The sharing of gifts and encouragement are what we give and receive when we come together in Christ’s name. And I as I celebrate another birthday (thanks for all the “Happy Birthdays”), I long to see you for the same mutual encouragement.
August 2, 2015
In Paul’s closing remarks to the church in Rome, he shared his prayer that the Lord allow him to visit them. He prayed that he might come to them with joy so that both might be mutually refreshed. There is an encouragement that refreshes us when we fellowship with other believers in the joy of the Lord. We have had this prayer answered as we visited our brothers and sisters in London this past week. It had been our heart’s desire for some time to visit and know this mutual refreshment. And God finally made it possible. Do you know this fellowship that refreshes?