Sunday, December 20, 2009

Got Ya Covered.

The bad news: Due to the fact that every infant conceived and born into this fallen world has a heart turned against his or her Creator. This infant is enslaved to sin and cannot through any action he or she takes get free from this enslavement. This bad news is appalling and is in much dispute for that reason. However, no matter what ones opinion is of a particular teaching of scripture it is true and it is seen daily in the lives of each of us. Each of us, when we are honest even with ourselves, knows how far we have fallen from the glory of God.

So what of this bad news? Does one live in denial? Spend our lives in the wringing of our hands? Will God be pleased merely with the emotion of disappointment and worked up sadness over it? Do we work hard to mend our ways in order to hopefully curry God’s favour?

The good news: No, God did it for us!

Galatians 4:4 4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. ESV

Jesus came to earth as a conceived infant. This way we are covered all the way back to our conception. Our inherited guilt is covered by Jesus’ perfect life. An infant will cry when wet, dirty or hungry. He or she will also cry for no reason then wanting attention. This is one way the baby demonstrates original sin later he or she will find other ways of proving it. As an infant Jesus communicated need by crying, unlike the away in a manger song says, but never in a sinful way.

Jesus’ heart was pure and at all times turned toward God his Father from his conception as recorded:

Hebrews 10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Jesus came in the form of a little baby in order to be sacrificed for our sins. We are covered through our entire life with his holiness. Our sins are paid for on his cross. The fruits of his cross are delivered to us in our baptisms. Jesus preceded us into death and because of his promise that we will join him in his resurrection unto life eternal that is covered as well.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. ESV

In the name of Jesus. †

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Much Closer Relationship

Some of the parables Jesus taught has led many to think of God only as a slave owner, employer or some other demanding task master. Such a parable is found recorded in Matthew 25: 14-28. This is usually called the Parable of the Talents. Perhaps a better title would be The Absentee Property Owner. It is not a hint on successful business or how to be a good trustee. When examined living solely under the law those teachings will be understood in that way. Two faithful slaves went out and did business and were rewarded. The unfaithful slave hated his master and hid the trust in order to save his neck lest he lose it in poor business dealings. The point being is that the unfaithful slave did not understand his master as being kind and forgiving.

However in Jesus we have a much closer relationship with God:

John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. ESV

Not because we go after it. No thanks to what we do or do not do. We have a Heavenly Father by birth. Rebirth actually. Adoption through water and Spirit. We have a loving Heavenly Father not a task master who will hold us to account at the last day. So many do not have this peace because of the faulty teaching that God expects a certain level of effort from each of us. These will say we are not saved because of works but we will lose something if we don’t get a move on it. The teachers of the law state we must work hard at making Jesus Lord of our life not just to trust in his finished work on the cross. As if one could add any value to what Jesus did in his perfect life in active obedience to the law. And the whipping, torture of the cross and finally, which we cannot understand, his being separated and forsaken by his Father. How can one God be separated like that? We do not have the answer but what a wonderful gift we have been given to have our eternal debt paid.

Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ESV

This is one of the places Jesus summed up the requirements of heaven. Not only perfection from this time forth but to have always have been perfect. Our Father looks at us through Jesus and his righteous life is credited to us. This has been referred to as the happy exchange. Jesus takes our sin and gives us his holiness. Now how can anyone add to that?

In the name of Jesus. †

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Christian Life is More Than Merely Forgiveness of Sin.

The response in the title came during a conversation with a professing Christian about what he referred to as the demands of the Gospel to stop sinning. It appears to be quite a bit of false teaching that still maintains that now we are saved we have power to stop sinning. This sounds reasonable and it would be grand if it were true. After all who would be in gratitude to our Saviour and want to keep on sinning? And isn’t God powerful enough to keep us from sinning?

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Many times we will hear believers use vv 5& 6 to show that we have to quit sinning to be honest about our faith. It is thought that walking in darkness is sinning up a storm and no one that sins each and everyday can say truthfully that he or she is saved. But one should keep reading to find the close context to clarify what is meant by not walking in darkness.

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

So walking in the light we can see to walk in fellowship with other believers. In this way one is never wanting to do the oneupmanship so common among people. We see clearly our sin and need of the perfect life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and we are all in this together. For to live in denial of our sin has this result:

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ESV

Lying to ourselves is to cast out the truth of scripture which clearly teaches that no matter the outward sins we forsake which is needful and we will forsake them We still have sins of the heart which are just as damnable. We now have forgiveness through Jesus even before we ask. This confessing is in contrast to living in denial of sin. We have the promise that God forgives and forgives and forgives. Instead of seeing scripture accusing us of covetousness and thinking but I gave up something else we say yes Lord I’m an idolater forgive me in the name and for the sake of Jesus. This sets us free indeed. Merely forgiven? Lord have mercy!

Psalm 32:3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

In the name of Jesus.†