Archive for July, 2011
Sin is much like an infectious disease. It is putrid, painful, and spreads. There is no cure without the correct medicine. Without the medicine, death is inevitable. I praise the Lord that our disease of sin is not incurable! He has provided the remedy!
Who needs God’s remedy for Sin? Everybody! The Bible confirms it in the Book of Romans with these words:
Sin is an unavoidable condition of the human heart. Our hearts are wicked says the prophet Jeremiah. (A prophet is one who speaks God’s words.) Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 19:9-10:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
What is the penalty Jeremiah speaks of? It’s revealed in Paul’s writings to the Romans in chapter 6:23a:
“For the wages of sin is death…”
That’s a pretty steep penalty. We might think that someone who commits a heinous crime is definitely deserving, but God says all of us deserve this terrible penalty. God’s meaning of death is not just a physical death, but also a spiritual death–eternal separation from God.
Many look for ways to avoid the inevitable consequence of sin, but there is no way to avoid God. God knows our heart. Everything is revealed to Him. Luke reveals what Jesus told the Pharisees:
“And He said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
Paul told us in his letter to the Romans that all will give an account to God. Consider these words:
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:11-12
He also adds in verse 20:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
He goes on to explain…
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” (Romans 3:21)
This means that the law of Moses and the words of the prophets testify to the reality of sin and the truth of the penalty of sin. But there’s more…
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is not difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:22-24)
Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, the righteousness of God. He is the remedy for sin. The remedy, Jesus, provides salvation from the penalty of sin that the Law requires.
Good news! There is a solution to sin!
What’s more, God changes hearts so those who receive the remedy are no longer comfortable sinning. The cured have peace with God through Jesus! The Bible confirms it:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
God knows we need help, so He gives us the Holy Spirit. Consider Paul’s words:
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:5-6
Wow! If you know someone who needs the remedy to cure that infectious disease called sin, I pray you will consider having an important conversation to share this good news.
That would be Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old who has confessed to taking at least 76 innocent lives apparently because he doesn’t like Muslims living in Europe.
But why would the Times brand Breivik a Christian? He is not attached to any church, has no history of Christian activity, has openly criticized the Protestant philosophy and has admitted to committing acts counter to all Christian teaching.
Defenders of the headline point to a Norwegian police officer who reportedly described Breivik as a Christian who desired to be a member of the Knights Templar, a medieval society that avenged anti-Christian behavior.
Perhaps The New York Times might watch out for the Knights.
According to reporting by the website NewsBusters, the Times wasn’t so quick to brand the men who killed 52 people in the London subway bombings back in 2005. The Times story on that terror incident described the situation this way: “(T)he plot was carried out by a sleeper cell of homegrown extremists rather than highly trained terrorists exported to Britain.”
Homegrown? The four London killers were all Muslim extremists, yet the Times avoided the religious label.
If the paper were consistent, it would have described Breivik as “homegrown,” right? The guy was born and raised in Norway.
So why are The New York Times and some other liberal media playing the “Christian extremist” card?
Two reasons. First, some on the left want to make an equivalency argument between Muslim terrorism and other kinds of violent acts. The Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was often branded “a right-wing terrorist” in the media. Terrorism is terrorism the analysis goes. It’s not fair to constantly emphasize Muslim terrorism without acknowledging the others. Besides, bad men like George W. Bush hype the Muslim threat and use it to do evil things such as invade Iraq.
The second reason is purely political. The left well understands that Christian opposition to things like abortion, gay marriage and drug legalization makes those liberal causes more difficult to achieve. Thus, anything that diminishes Christianity is fair game to be promoted. Every newsworthy sin committed by a Christian is highlighted with a sneering reference to hypocrisy. Any whiff of Christian intolerance is celebrated in the press.
Breivik did not kill in the name of Jesus. He was not a member of a Christian-based al-Qaida-like group. He was not funded by Iran or enabled by Pakistan. It seems he is simply a murderer, a man devoid of any spiritual conscience, a direct descendant of Cain.
Yet, somehow, Breivik is now a member of a peace-loving, compassionate group, at least according to some media. He’s a Christian.
I am so glad someone finally stood up for Christians! Why label this killer a Christian, when he didn’t label himself one?
2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am so glad people are starting to realize babies have feelings, and they are killing them through abortion. I wonder how the abortion doctors thinking, when they wonder what would be, if their own mothers aborted them.
7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
11As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
12A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
I read this in my devotions yesterday, and verse 11 really spoke to me. Have you ever wondered why so many young people are dying today? I have, and most of the ones that are dying, are the ones that do crimes, just so they will have wealth. They are the ones that die early, or they kill others, in order to increase their wealth. Life has no value with a lot of the younger generation. They show no repect to their elders, when/if they go to church, at school, etc.
We need to start depending on the words of the Bible, bringing up our children the way God has told us to from old. If we keep pushing the Bible out of every place in our lives, how can we think God will bless us? We need God more now, than ever before. We need to get down on our knees, pray to God for guidance in our lives, and show us how to live, and raise our families. We need to value the life God has given us, ours as well as those we meet on the street. We need to wait on the Lord for what he will give us, not assume we are entitled to anything. We are in a “I want it now” mentality, instead of having patience, working for what we need, and want.
Let’s all kneel, and pray, for guidance, and forgiveness in our lives. Always remember, you are stronger, and stand straighter, when you humbly kneel before God asking for his help and guidance.
Have you ever offended someone? Ever been offended? I’m guilty on both counts.
Just before I came to Christ, I didn’t much care if I offended another person. If they interfered with my goals or ambitions, look out. I didn’t care how carefully I talked when I was treated unkindly. Turn-about was fair play as far as I was concerned. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” I was so truthful I was brutally blunt. I remember challenging a Christian over lifestyle choices and know I was not the most diplomatic of people at the time. I rarely weighed my words. I did what I felt like doing.
After Christ, I changed. I began to care that I didn’t offend others with my words and actions. I considered the feelings of others even when I was hurt. I was careful with my words. I thought seriously about doing to others as I wanted others to do to me. I must have read 1 Corinthians 13 a hundred times and took it to heart that love was not rude, nor did it keep account of wrongs. It took work on my part to break some of my impulsive habits and to practice love that the Apostle Paul urged we practice in Chapter 14. But in time, the LORD worked in me and I know that my conscience began to be clearer and clearer. At the end of the day, there were fewer and fewer times I felt guilty.
Since becoming a child of God, I pay more attention to how I speak to others…how I treat them. I find myself looking for more ways to encourage, than denigrate. To praise than criticize. To control my emotions than letting my emotions control me. The beauty in being a Christian is God shows us so much mercy and grace in our slips and stumbles. He cleanses us from all iniquity and has already paid the debt for our sinful nature.
With this in mind, it behooves me to show mercy and grace when another offends me. I usually get a bit more uptight when someone offends a friend or loved one of mine, than myself. But I have to bring all these feelings to God and recognize them for what they are. Pride. The how-dare-they attitude really has no place in the thought patterns of those who follow Jesus. After all…what did Jesus do when criticized, rejected, scorned, and mocked? He said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Sadly, some folks today know exactly what they are doing when they say things to offend, when they do things to get a rise out of us, to incite others to anger. Some folks have no desire to be less offensive, or render mercy. But I can only control me and myself. I can only come to Jesus with my own weaknesses and flaws. Others must answer for themselves.
PRAYER: LORD, help us master the offensive nature we battle. Let us so fill ourselves with your grace that we pour out kindness, peace and love to others. Give us more of You, LORD. Let us so shine before man that we bring glory to You and You alone.