Monday, September 17, 2018

49. Faith in Christ Means You Have Rested from Your Works

There's nothing you can do to get yourself right with God or keep yourself right with God. There is no work that you can do to earn or maintain righteousness. The only way to be righteous is to receive the free gift of God's righteousness, by grace, through faith. Faith in Christ means you have rested from your works.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

48. I'm Not Ashamed That I'm Righteous Apart from What I Do

Paul boldly declares in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..." Why is he not ashamed?  What is this gospel (good news) that he is not ashamed of?  Many people don't know what he is truly talking about, because they quote Romans 1:16 without quoting the next verse along with it.  To many believers, being "not ashamed of the gospel" means "not ashamed to stand up for righteous, godly living.  While there's nothing wrong with that, that's not the gospel!  Paul explains in Romans 1:17, "For in it (in the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith..."  He goes on to explain in Romans 3:21-22 that this righteousness of God comes apart from the works of the law.  It comes "through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

This is the gospel (good news) that Paul is not ashamed of.  He had formerly been quite proud of his own righteous performance, but then when the revelation of Jesus and the gospel came to him, he counted his own righteous performance as dung and rubbish so that he could be found in Christ alone.  He had formerly persecuted the church for saying that righteousness came from God apart from the works of the law, and now he himself was being persecuted for preaching that.  Paul was preaching the gospel - God's righteousness given freely as a gift to all who believe - and he was making a bold, unashamed stand for it.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

47. Have You Believed in Vain? (No, You Haven't!)

A certain verse that often scares people, or at the very least makes them wonder about the condition of their own faith, happens to be a verse that should actually be a source of great hope.

1 Cor 15:1-2
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.

At first glance, the words "if" and "unless" may make it seem as if there's a condition by which one's faith is actually genuine. But really, the condition isn't about the person's faith being genuine. It's really about the genuineness of the thing that the person has faith in. The people that Paul is writing to do have faith in Christ. So why would he suggest that perhaps their faith would be in vain? Some teach that if they've believed in Christ, but have gone back to a sinful lifestyle, then their faith has been in vain. But that's not at all what Paul is talking about here.

The real point is about whether Christ was raised from the dead or not. Some were saying that there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead. If that's the case, then Christ was not raised from the dead. And if Christ was not raised from the dead, then they are believing in a man who died, and that's the end of the story! If Christ was not raised, then their faith is in vain. It's empty. It's futile. There's only hope for them in this life, but there's no hope beyond that.

That's really the whole point here. This is about whether people believe in a man who lived and died, or whether they believe in a man who lived and died and then rose again! You can rest assured that your faith is in a resurrected Christ, and you yourself also rose together with Him.


Monday, August 28, 2017

46. Sins Not Purged by Our Sorrow; Only by the Blood of Jesus

Our hope really is founded upon nothing less than the blood of Jesus and His righteousness!  We can do absolutely nothing to take away or purge our own sins.  Jesus Himself has already done it and has sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high! (Heb 1:3)  We may feel varying degrees of sorrow for our sins, but no amount of sorrow can purge our sins.  No amount of pleading with God to take away our sins can actually take away our sin.  Again, it's already been done!  It's been done once for all through the sufficient sacrifice of Jesus.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

45. Be Who You Are in Christ's Body and Let Others Be Who They Are

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." (1 Cor 12:12 NIV)

The worldwide body of Christ is one unit - one body - although just like a human body it is made up of many different and diverse parts that all have different and diverse functions.  The Spirit of God has placed each member exactly where He has seen fit to place them.  In the church today, some people feel pressure from other people to function in ways that are contrary to how God has made them to be.  This leads to much confusion and frustration, and to a body that doesn't function very well.

There is one Spirit and one Head to this one body, but again, the one body is made up of many different parts.  Be who you are in Christ's body and allow others to be who they are.  This is how the body is meant to function, and it functions well this way!