Nothing Good Comes from Inside

How do you handle remaining sin in your life?

What does it look like? It’s what the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 7:15.

“For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

And then again in verse 19: White

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

That pretty much summed up my Christmas vacation.

Stick around long enough with family and friends and eventually you’ll find yourself in Romans 7.

So what’s the solution?

Here it is:

Keep your eyes on the completed work of Christ on the cross for you.

Once that melts your heart, then confess your sins to him.

And don’t look inward for your sanctification – something I do frequently – because it’s not there. You’ll only find a mess.

Glue your sight onto Christ who is your righteousness, sanctification and salvation.

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

 

 

 

Advertisements

Dump the Guilt

A friend of mine is fond of saying, “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.”

He’s right.

We feel it when we violate our own rules. “I should have saved more money this year.”

Or when we don’t do what we know is important. Like go to church. Read the bible. Pray. Igor Mitoraj

How about when we don’t live up to own expectations? That’s a big one. There’s a video making the rounds on social media of a young boy seated at a window seat on a plane. He’s admonishing his father for not living up to his dreams of being a airline pilot. How does the boy know this about his father? “Because I want to be a pilot, and I plan to do it,” he says defiantly.

Wow. I’d spank him for his insolence. But you get the point. We are full of self-salvation strategies, aren’t we? We spend our days doing things to please ourselves in the hope that is also pleases God.

But we know better. Jesus’s perfect life of obedience to God’s law is the only effort that pleases God, and his death on the cross for our sins is the only reconciliation that He will accept.

If you’ve delivered yourself over to God’s plan of salvation for your life, you have nothing to be guilty of anymore. Jesus bore your guilt, your shame, your failure and your sin for you on the cross.

You are set free to love and serve him out of gratitude.

Go out and jump for joy!

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

 

What Sin?

I was in the office kitchen this morning and a co-worker asked me, “How are you?”

Without thinking I usually say, “Fine.” Nobody really wants an honest answer. The few times I’ve tried it, the other person feels responsible to respond in a meaningful way, and who has insights to give that early in the morning when you can barely pour a cup of coffee? So I’ve learned to answer in a neutral way. wool

But this morning I said, “I’m rejoicing that all of my sins are forgiven.”

And that opened up a beautiful gospel conversation.

I continued, “Did you know your sins are finite in number, and God knows every one of them, and they were all forgiven in Christ from the moment you were born?”

That lead to other comments about the wonderment of what God has done for us in his Son.

God purchased your soul before you were even conceived. Ephesians 1:4

God saw every one of your sins before you existed. Psalm 139

Each one was completely paid for before you committed any of them. Ephesians 1:7-10

Even those you haven’t committed yet, every one of them is already paid for, atoned for, and you are declared forgiven.

You’ve been forgiven in Christ from before the foundation of the world right through to eternity. Ephesians 1

What scandalous love!

Questions: How does that truth impact your struggles with sin today? How does it change your concept of who God is?

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tent Living is a Temporary Affair

“By faith he (Abraham) made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.” – Hebrews 11:9 NIV

I read that verse this morning and thought about how this applies today. Nothing came to mind and then, Pow! The Holy Spirit opened up the heavens.

Here’s what he taught me:  Tents

This is true of us post-moderns as much as those tent dwellers in Abraham’s day.

Abraham and his family made their home in the promised land like strangers in a foreign country. While they lived there, they didn’t belong there. Their citizenship was in the new heaven and the new earth, just like ours is. Whatever country we live in, that’s not home. Home is with Christ.

Abraham and his family lived in tents. They were mobile homes, able to be set up and taken down whenever necessary. We live in tents, too. Paul calls the body a tent, and when we die we step out of our tent and into a new immortal body, just like Christ’s. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

We, along with Abraham, the father of the faithful, and everyone who calls upon Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, to be living one day in the new heaven and the new earth, in new bodies, breathing pure air.

And where is this new world going to be? Right here! Every step we take on this solid ground we call earth will one day be renewed, made clean and pure and holy, inhabited only by saints washed in Jesus’s blood and sacrifice.

Don’t think of your salvation as an individual gift only. Salvation embraces the entire universe! Jesus’s perfect life of obedience and death on the cross restored the created order, including you and me.

Question: When you groan in your tent here what do you do about it?

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

 

 

United You Stand

Have you had days or maybe weeks of yelling at your kids over the littlest things, or experienced intense jealousy over your best friend’s gorgeous new house or wanted to curse God because you just got laid off from your job again?

I have. More than once. heart cloud

That’s when you ask yourself, “Am I really saved or is this all make believe?”

If you look at your Christian performance, you’re in big trouble. If you’re honest, you’ll have to admit it’s sketchy at best. Hardly the stuff God is looking for in your life.

So where do you look for reassurance that you belong to God when you are experiencing your worst moments?

No further than the gospel.

Let me explain.

Jesus not only paid the price for your redemption with his perfect life of obedience and then his death on the cross for your sins, but he also secured your perseverance and heavenly inheritance.

You were united to Christ (Romans 6) at the moment of your coming to faith, and once united you cannot be un-united.

You will never, ever, be separated from Him no matter what befalls you.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” – Romans 8:35

What about weakness, failure, deliberate sins, sins of neglect, unbelief, ungratefulness, or a cold heart?

Jesus died for all those, too.

Is it possible for any member of Christ’s body to perish?

Unthinkable!

God guarantees that you will persevere in this life. That’s why he has given you his Holy Spirit to be your guide, teacher, and encourager.

Not one of his children will be lost.

And that includes you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope for the Heart

Do you have a guilty conscience?

Do you look back on your past and cringe?

What if you really committed some hideous things and you continue to live with remorse and shame?

On top of that, the enemy never forgets and delights in reminding you that you’re no good, God never loved you, and everything you believe in is a lie.

How do you respond to these accusations?

Do you get busier than ever at work? photo (15)

Or do you drink more, do more drugs, and entertain your life away hoping this will numb you from the guilt you feel?

Perhaps you’ve doubled up in church attendance, bible studies, and doing good works hoping that these will outweigh your rotten record.

The truth is none of these things is the solution.

There’s only one fix and you know it.

It’s blood of Jesus Christ that blots out all your sin.

Past. Present. Future.

“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrew 10:22 ESV

If you’re in Christ, all your sins are washed away in his blood.

Your rotten record is now a clean record. It’s Jesus’ record and you own it.

Tell the devil that. Out loud.

Now tell yourself.

And then go out and live like the new person God has made you to be.