Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bad News, Good News

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. -Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)

Often, maybe more often, "life" doesn't seem to go as we plan. I'm not certain what that has to do with God ...but maybe it has everything to do with our relationship with him ...for better or worse. Our best laid plans are trumped, things go "wrong" least in our view. Read the Scriptures, specifically Romans chapter 3, verses 21-26. While these passages may sound "lofty", merely displaying God's Hoy disposition ....I would contend that it shows you and I much, much more.

I believe 2 basic principles about Scripture.

  1. Scripture shows us who God is.
  2. Scripture shows us how we can, how we should, respond to Him.
If you've read this far ...then I suppose you're at least remotely interested to hear what Scripture indicates about that relationship. Let's observe....

  1. Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot to speak. -  I find myself constantly using this metaphor while trying to communicate to my children the simple principle that ....if you REALLY want to "get your way", then simply be obedient to what you're asked / told to do. From a very human level will earn the priceless interest income of "trust", which will ultimately lead to "getting your way". To the contrary ...dis-obedience, while seeming to be a hill worth dying on at the time, simply affirms why trust is withheld in the first place. THE ETERNAL: What does all that mean in relationship to Christ? Faith in Christ, and the reward which comes from that trust / faith, are not dependent on "what you or I have done", or are going to do. Far more ...the reward of His eternal presence is dependent on our "submission". Don't just say "I believe in God." Of course you do! Even the demons believe that God is one, and "shudder" ...says the scriptures. If you "believe" in God, you must believe in the Son; lest you dispose of the scriptures altogether. lTHE TEMPORAL: On a purely earthly level ...this should comfort us. It should relieve much of the stress of daily living ....if we dare trust in Christ. Read Rom. 3:21 again.
  2. We're all in the same boat - the later text of verse 22 indicates "there is no distinction." The Apostle Paul was surely recollecting the pharisaical view of "justification". They thought they were completely justified by their belief (rightly) and observance (rightly) of the law. They completely missed Jesus Christ ...and also missed the rock solid, real-world, truth ...that NO ONE can live up to the perfection of the law.
  3. The bar is set high - Verse 23 of Romans 3 indicates that "ALL have sinned and fall short of God's glory." The original language of scripture (Greek, in this case) indicates this term "fall short" displays the idea that we "continue" to fall short ...every day, consistently. Is the bar set too high?
  4. The bar is un-reachable... - In the same book and chapter, the Apostle Paul indicates "none are righteous, no, not one;" (Romans 3:10 ESV).We've all fallen short, and due to original sin ....we are left hopeless, helpless to save ourselves. If the bar is set so high that it is un-reachable .....then why bother trying??
  5. ...except through Jesus Christ - That's just it! Bingo!! Jackpot!! The bar is set high! Would you serve a God of less? That bar is un-reachable by our own standards. If we had what it took ...would we need God? Well my friend, He created you and me, and whether we really like it or not ....He "is the standard". That is as softly as I can state it. This is reality. Ever heard the old saying ..."I'd rather be lucky than good"? Well I can say, stripping away all of my own pride, that I'd rather be called righteous, than be righteous in my own eyes ...any day! Stop "trying" to be God-like ...and start surrendering to be Christ-like!! Jesus said, Himself, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 ESV) Praise God!! I've been wrong so many times ...I'd hate to think I, or anyone, should follow "my way" to  eternity! Jesus Christ is the only way!
In the Old Testament it is indicated (read Leviticus) that during the "Jewish Day of Atonement" two goats were presented at the alter. One goat was slain, and that goat's blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat ..that gold-laiden lid which covered the Ark of the Covenent. The blood "temporarily" (emphasis) atoned, or covered, the sins of the people. This "atonement" was short-lived. The Jews knew this. Therefore, they practiced this ritual regularly. The atonement was only temporary ...awaiting the coming of the Messiah. That is ..Jesus Christ.

As the title of this post indicates .....there is both "bad news" and "good news". The bad news is .....we've all sinned, all fallen short, and are helpless and hopeless dependent on our own means. The good news?? In a phrase ....the eternal, once and for all, price-paid-in-full, blood-bought, atonement of Jesus Christ ...which offers all of mankind complete redemption for our sin-nature.

Stop stressing over life's shortcomings. Start loving God for His long-suffering believing in, and living your life based on, Jesus Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment