September 27, 2013
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)
The gospel Paul proclaimed was the good news that God will not only pardon and forgive our sins, but through our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ God will make it just as if we had never sinned. God will also declare us to be as righteous as if we had never sinned.
In Psalm 51 David literally asked God to un-sin his sin. David was a prophet and when he prayed that petition he knew the fulfillment of the answer would be in the word “justified.“ It literally means that God makes it as if our sin never happened and He declares us to be righteous. If you have ever grievously sinned, you know that the cry of your heart is wishing your sin had never happened!
That is precisely what the good news of the gospel proclaims. Imagine two men convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. After 25 years one of them is pardoned by the governor. Evidence is discovered that proves the other man is innocent of his crime. He cannot be pardoned, he needs to be exonerated as if he never committed the crime.
Man’s law can do that. Only God, however, can declare a guilty man as innocent as if he never committed a crime for which he is in fact guilty. That is what God has done and is God’s only remedy for His wrath.
If you believe the Good News of the Gospel, then open your heart to receive this remedy.
December 1, 2012
“… much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans5:17)
Here the Apostle Paul describes the fourth in a series of four conquerors. Each of these conquerors does three things: they enter, abound, and reign. The first one is King Sin. He sounds like a Chinese King. He enters this world and our lives. Paul doesn’t get into a heavy discussion here of how this conqueror entered this world. He just makes it clear that his intent when he enters is to abound and reign. We can’t co-exist with him. Like a malignant tumor his intent is to kill us.
A second conqueror that always follows King Sin is King Death. Even in these days of economic downturns the wages paid by King Sin are always the same. They are death, or the pits. We might say these first two conquerors are the bad news.
The third conqueror Paul presents is Queen Grace. And the fourth conqueror is King You and King Me. We can definitely say that these last two conquerors are the Good News. Just as Kings Sin and Death enter our lives to abound and reign, it is possible for Queen Grace to enter and reign in us in such a way that we can reign in life through Jesus Christ.
In these four conquerors Paul is telling us what God has to do that we might be justified or declared righteous. Then he tells us how God makes it possible for people who have been declared right to get right, be right and do right ‘til the stars fall.
We can enter, abound and reign in Christ and in life.
March 2, 2012
“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us any good?’” (Psalm 4:5)
David cannot sleep. He is uptight and anxious. From the context of the psalm we know he cannot sleep because he is under great stress. He decides to meditate within his own heart and be still. (He has a little “board meeting” with himself in the middle of the night). If he does the right thing, he believes he cannot survive. He is therefore thinking about doing the expedient thing. But since he is a man of great spiritual integrity he finds himself awake and uptight.
As a result of his meditation he resolves his dilemma. He makes the decision that he is going to make whatever sacrifices he has to make to do what is right and then trust the Lord for his survival. He knows there are many people who are looking for someone who will do what is right even though it costs them everything to do right.
Have you ever found yourself awake, uptight and stressed out in the middle of the night because you are in a crisis? If you do what you believe God wants you to do you don’t see how you can survive. But your spiritual integrity won’t let you sleep if you don’t do what you believe God wants you to do. David models here a prescription for resolving that kind of dilemma.
His prescription is simply to do right. Whatever it costs you, do right and trust God for the consequences. Many people will be blessed, God will be glorified, you will have great peace, and get some sleep.