Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simplicity

First off, let’s face facts, we all need a savior. We’ve done nothing in our entire lives that qualifies any of us to inherit eternal life with unspeakable joy/bliss in the presence of the most holy and righteous eternal GOD…the creator of the universe and everything in it (and more)…period. Right? If any of us think we have, I’d love to know what it is you think you’ve done that qualifies you for such a valuable prize? Yeah, by our works, there is no way whatsoever we deserve much more than punishment/destruction. If we take the good we’ve done, and subtract all the crap (there’s a ton of it whether you know it or not), I suspect that any of us will have a deficit beyond what the USA does…and that’s substantial to say the least. So we all need some help if we are to have any chance of redemption. We are on the way to prison, or destruction, or worse! Who could possibly bail us out, pay our debt, and for that matter, why would they? Well, no typical human being would be able to pay our debt, that’s for sure. Very special arrangements would have to be made, but why would anyone bother? Now that’s a great question! Why would they? The answer to that is because they possess unimaginable mercy, love, generosity, forgiveness, and goodness! Yeah…it’s all those and much, much more. Remember, GOD IS LOVE! From the beginning HE devised and implemented a plan. Let’s prepare a sacrifice that is worth so much that this sacrifice alone can pay the outstanding debt for all the sin that has taken place. Guess who that sacrifice was? Yeah, that would be JESUS. Unlike the rest of us, He lived a sinless life…even though he was tempted just like the rest of us. Well, actually, I think He was tempted far more than any of us have been. Satan wanted Him to fail so badly, and tempted Him with tests and promises that you and I have NEVER had to deal with. Unlike the rest of us, Jesus stayed true to the will of His Father. He didn’t bend, He didn’t compromise, and He didn’t fail. Our lives hung in the balance. He chose US and the will of His Father over everything else. There’s only one thing you can do to fail. Reject it. Reject the grace and mercy and love of the only true GOD and the means by which HE accomplished this task…who is CHRIST JESUS THE LORD. He’s the free gift of eternal life with unspeakable joy for eternity! The only requirement? ACCEPT HIM!

Mark 14:65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.

Mark 15:19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spat on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.

Matthew 26:67-68 Then they spat in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?"

Luke 22:63-65 ¶ The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?"  And they said many other insulting things to him.

Luke 23:33-34 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

1 Peter 2:22-25 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who are we to condemn anyone?

In Christianity, there’s this whole ‘condemn not’ thing. It’s there for a reason. We’ve all heard the old adage, if you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes, you are in no position to judge. Imo, this is a wise adage. Who knows what any of us would be if our initial circumstances would have been different? If you had been born into a different family, would you be the exact same person you are today? Of course you wouldn’t. Very likely, all of your influences would be different, and many of your experiences would be different as well. Because of our ignorance, we have to trust GOD’s judgment in these areas. If GOD chooses to forgive, are we in any position to argue that? Of course we aren’t. GOD knows all the circumstances, we don’t. Depending on our upbringing, it IS possible that we can discern (biblically) right from wrong. That doesn’t mean we can condemn anyone. Every one of us have sinned, even those of us that knew that what we were doing WAS sin. You’ve lied…right? Did you know that lying was wrong? Ever steal anything? Did you know that was wrong? The OT law is interesting. If you sinned in any area, you failed…you did not gain eternal life through the law if you failed in any area….period…end of story. It didn’t matter in what area you failed. You could only earn eternal life via the ‘law’ by never failing, never sinning. It was a win or lose proposition. Everyone lost. The law, itself, that offered eternal life, was the same law that put you to death. And then came CHRIST. HE put to death the law…and gave life. That life was in HIM…as HE was the only one that lived a sinless life. He created an ‘ark’ of sorts. By your own merits, you don’t qualify for eternal life. CHRIST qualified us. The only thing that we really have to do….ACCEPT THAT….ACCEPT HIM…ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST….ACCEPT GOD’S FREE GIFT. JUST HUMBLE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO ACCEPT GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS. That’s it…that’s all you have to do. The rest is up to GOD.