God doesn’t deal with us according to our sins. Why? Because he paid the price for our redemption in his Son. He held him responsible for them, therefore he doesn’t hold us. He lets us go free. That’s the Good News of the gospel. If you aren’t hearing this in church, in the books you’re reading, among your friends, you’re missing the joy of this glorious truth.
Dance instead of mourn!
God’s grace is bigger than your sin. You can’t be guilty enough. You can’t resolve to do better. Therapy won’t get you out of the hole either. It will just stir things up and muddy your heart.
Instead, look upward. “It is finished,” Jesus cried on the cross. For you. For me.
God put us on the cross with him, then in the grave, and then raised us with him on the third day.
The trash heap of our former lives is gone.
We are new in Christ. Our lives are wrapped in Christ now. That’s our identity.
His forgiveness is what is true of us today, tomorrow, and every day.
Go out and tell others today! Especially other Christians.
Talk to me.
It’s Thanksgiving this week and the focus around here is turkey and being thankful. The turkey part is easy. You go to the store and select the bird you want and bring it home and prepare and roast it.
It’s the thankfulness part that is trickier. We’re not very good at it. If you’re like me, I frequently forget to thank God from one day to the next, and one week to the next.
That’s shameful considering the very air I breathe is his.
Not only that, God did the most scandalous thing in the world. He rescued us from his wrath and judgment and hell. This he planned long ago, before the world was made. Then he sent his Son in time and space to bring us salvation, a gift we didn’t deserve, all because God wanted us in his family. We didn’t ask to be rescued. We didn’t even think we needed to be rescued. That’s how deep sin goes. But God knew our deepest need was to know him and have him as our God. He chose us. We are now new creatures in Christ. And in the resurrection of his Son he is re-creating the world. And one day God will usher in the new heavens and the new earth where we will live forever.
That’s what we need to be thankful for. It should take our breath away.
Not only this week, but every day.
Talk to me.
We were designed to live by the law before we fell in Adam. Had he kept it God would have given us eternal life. There would have been no sin and misery, only grace and approval.
After Adam’s fall we still want to keep the law, it’s the natural man’s default position, but now we can’t because of sin.
There is no way to be saved by the law. It has no life. It can only point the finger and denounce us for our sins.
It’s meant to do us in and draw us to Christ, who was the only man who kept the law after Adam.
He obeyed it perfectly.
He fulfilled it perfectly.
He earned salvation for us, in our place, because we couldn’t do it.
So it’s true we’re still saved by the law, but it’s Jesus’s obedience to it that saves us.
Now that is the best news you’ll ever receive. Today and forever.
You want freedom? Here it is.
Talk to me.
A war movie is an apt metaphor for life because we’re all prisoners of war. Everyone of us, from the rich and famous to the homeless person sleeping in a doorway. We are born in bondage to sin. There is no other identity. We can thank our first parents for that. They threw us under the bus when they chose to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit. Ever since that day all of us are born broken, needy and rebellious.
The bible calls it bondage to sin, Satan and the wrath of God. The trio of horror, except we don’t recognize it as such. We think it’s normal. We have no other reality to compare it to.
Self exacts a gravity that pulls us deeper and deeper into itself. We are the compass we live our lives by. The darkness is light to us. Selfish behavior is the stuff of life. The only god that rules is ourselves.
But God. He has redeemed us.
He’s pulled us out of our misery.
Sin no longer has dominion over us.
Satan’s slavery is broken.
We’re free from the wrath of God.
Jesus paid the price for our freedom.
He has given us his nature.
We live our lives in His light now.
Talk to me.
Christ died so we could be justified. We have all our sins forgiven. He has made us new creatures in our union with Christ, and now God sees us like we had never sinned or had a sin nature. This change allows us to come home to the Father, where we stay forever. God never kicks us out.
Now, as wonderful as this is, I still had a nagging question: Why couldn’t I trust these truths about me? Why couldn’t I settle into God’s love and stay there? What happens to me when I sin again, which I do all the time? Does God stop loving me? Is he disappointed in me? Does he pull out my picture from his wallet and tear it up?
I asked the Lord these questions recently, and this is what the Holy Spirit brought to mind:
If God held even one of my sins against me, he’d be declaring the blood of his Son to be insufficient to cover and blot out that sin. God can never go back on his Word because then he’d be saying his Son’s sacrifice was not good enough, that there was something lacking that I would have to make up for. And he cannot do that. It cost the Father everything to send Jesus to the cross where all of God’s wrath for sin and sinners was poured out on him. The Father crushed Jesus for me. Everything I deserved from God’s hands was put on Jesus. How then could God hold any sin against me?
Not believing this with my whole heart is the greatest sin. It reeks of unbelief. My flesh wants to participate in self-salvation strategies. It wants to contribute to my salvation. It wants me to despair, fear and struggle. It delights in doubt.
But faith says otherwise. The greatest act of faith is to believe God and the Son he has sent! He is the solution to our estrangement from God. He is the answer to our love problems. The longing of our heart is fulfilled in accepting what the Father says of us – we are his beloved children.
Talk to me.
How does one live in God’s kingdom? What does that look like?
If you read Matthew 19: 13-15 you’ll see how Jesus responded to his disciples’ rebuke to parents who wanted Jesus to bless their children. Children had no status in those days. The people of respect were the adults, especially the old men. That was the Jewish culture. But Jesus turned that upside down by insisting that his kingdom was for children.
Really? Children are needy and helpless. They frighten easily. They need protection and care. And they’re messy!
God’s kingdom is precisely for those who are helpless and insignificant and marginalized.
The nobodies are more important than the somebodies. God’s kingdom is not for the movers and shakers.
The kingdom is right-side up while the world is upside down, so no matter what the world tells us is important, or who we should be, it’s probably not true. The disciples reacted as the culture of the day demanded, but Jesus reversed that.
So God’s handbook says, “Become like a little child.” We’re not important. We’re unworthy servants at best. We must look out for others first. Esteem them better than ourselves.
Christ showed us how. He was the king serving his subjects. The saint serving sinners.
We can’t to do it by the law. Knowledge is not enough. There’s something broken in all of us. We don’t need a better you. We’ve been promised a new you in the gospel.
Christ covered our sins by his blood. He’s our Passover. All our sins were imputed to him and he died for them on the cross. And all Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us. The grand exchange described in 2 Corinthians 5:21. We no longer carry the burden of sin and death on our shoulders. We can now skip and dance like little children in the playground of God’s kingdom.
Do you believe this?
If you’re not sure, receive Christ by faith today. It’s not about being smarter. Or stronger. It’s about feeling helpless like a little child and clinging to him for life.
Be helpless. It’s okay.
God’s kingdom is full of needy ones. Stay that way.
Talk to me.