Wednesday, August 29

Grace trumps law

Heb. 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Heb. 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:37-39 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The law kills, does not save, and as part of the covenant given to Moses is now obsolete. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ who guarantees this better and saving covenant. The old covenant depended on mechanical external law keeping that flowed from duty. The New Covenant believer is given a regenerated heart by God's grace and a new attitude that has been wrought by the Holy Spirit.

Paul warns in Galatians that attempts to satisfy the demands of the law out of duty and to be righteous are futile (Galatians 2:16). Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed the law and died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all that place their faith and trust in him and his righteousness. This saving faith gains access to an alien righteousness that is imputed to all that trust him. We are justified before God by the work of Christ and not our own works.

I am in no way suggesting that Christians should ignore sanctification and Christian living. However, grace and truth came through Jesus and believers are led by the Spirit and are enabled by the Spirit to follow and obey Jesus and his teachings. This is a dependence on grace rather than external law keeping. Jesus says that the law can be summed up by the greatest commandment which is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He also said, “if you love me, you will obey my commands.” Notice Jesus does not say, “if you love me, you SHOULD obey my commands.” No, he says you WILL. This is grace and it comes with power. It does not make a redeemed sinner perfect, but unlike the law, it does not have to make sinners perfect because Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe as the great ole hymn proclaims.

Praise God that the New Covenant replaced law keeping with grace and truth. Let us as Christian keep our eyes on Jesus and his grace and not become entangled with Moses and the law. Jesus saves and the law kills.

Saturday, August 25

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:19-24 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The works of the flesh proceed from the sinful nature as naturally as water flows down hill. In this passage Paul mentions many of the works of the flesh that the natural unregenerate man show in their lives. The natural man not only does not feel guilty or ashamed of the various manifestations of these traits, but in many cases is proud to claim them as part of his character. Many for example are proud of their drinking, sexual exploits, partying, etc. Our secular culture even makes heroes out of many who exhibit such behavior. Paul says plainly that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The text then reveals the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. These characteristics are given by the Holy Spirit to those that have been regenerated and redeemed from the penalty and power of sin. They are Christians and have been changed from the inside out, and are no longer under law. They are under grace, led by the Spirit of God, and the fruit of the Spirit will flow from them just as naturally as the works of the flesh flow from the unregenerate. The Bible is clear that a redeemed sinner is not made perfect and can still succumb to the works of the flesh. However, unlike the unregenerate, they will not be proud or indifferent to their sin. They will be ashamed, sorry, convicted by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and will repent and turn from their sin.

The bottom line is that those who habitually practice these works of the flesh without remorse, shame, or repentance will not inherit the kingdom of God, no matter what kind of belief or claim they may have professed in Jesus Christ as their savior, unless at some point in their life they truly come to faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God that He does save such sinners such as this from not only the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. When God does this work of grace, the born again sinner will not habitually wallow in the works of the flesh that Paul describes in this passage. When the son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

Monday, August 20

Beware of another Jesus

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

There is one gospel, one Jesus, and one spirit and Paul is refuting anyone that preaches a different gospel or a different doctrine of Jesus or a more powerful gift of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul admonishes anyone who would preach another gospel and states there is no other gospel. This gospel affirms that salvation is from God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The person and work of Christ as he is presented in the Holy Bible saves sinners that place their faith in his atoning sacrifice as a substitute for their sin debt. This is the good news of the gospel.

When false teachers, cults, and false religions change and tweak the gospel, it is no longer a gospel at all. Paul says plainly that anyone that proclaims another Jesus is teaching a false gospel. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the second person of the trinity and the infinite God-Man that was and is fully God and fully man. Therefore, the Jesus of the Koran, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and others is not the Jesus of the Bible. Such a Jesus is another Jesus and has no power to save according to Paul.

In spite of these warnings by Paul, there are many who deny Christ’s atonement as a sacrifice for their sin debt and prefer to be called a follower of the way of Christ or a postmodern Christian. Still some, of the so-called free grace thinking, assert that the “other Jesus” as he is presented in the Koran is a saving Jesus as long as a person has faith in such a Jesus. It does not require too much logic to discern that a person that believes in Allah of the Koran and denies the trinity is placing faith in a Jesus that is false and what Paul calls another Jesus. A few years ago a Methodist Bishop proclaimed on national television that there were other ways to salvation than faith in Christ. Paul says no. Within the past week a Catholic Bishop stated that Christians should refer to God as Allah to show good will toward Muslims. The list goes on and on as politically correct pluralistic thinking is celebrated in our culture. Such thinking may make a person popular, but it is a disaster for the soul.

I would encourage all Christians to read and apply 1 John 4:1 which states, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Go to Scripture and not to false teachers for the truth.

Wednesday, August 15

The Glory of God

High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


Check out the Bluecollar Blog where Jazzycat is contributor! Latest Post on the Beatitudes.

Monday, August 13

Psalm 100: verse 5

Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

God is good, merciful, and truthful. These attributes will last forever and will never change. While this sounds simple enough, it is not universally accepted by all who claim to be Christians. While there is theological debate among Christians who agree on the truthfulness, inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible; there are many theological liberals and emergent church proponents that even deny the truthfulness of the Bible. Some emergent church leaders suggest that theology and truth is evolving and changing much like the so-called living and breathing constitution view of political liberals. While the presentation of such views are slick and articulate, the bottom line is nothing but conforming theology to fit a man-centered liberal post-modern world-view. The focus is on temporal concerns, which necessitates that theology must fit their world-view.

Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” and Psalm 100 says this truth endures to all generations. Praise God that unchanging absolute truth is available in God’s word. This truth is powerful and sharper than a double-edged sword. May we have eyes to see and hearts to rejoice in the transforming truth of God’s Word.

Wednesday, August 8

Psalm 100: verse 4

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

It is a blessing and privilege to enter the House of the Lord. Thanksgiving and praise should always be in our hearts and on our minds as we enter his presence. Our prayers should flow from hearts full of joy and peace as we express with words the praise we have for our Triune God. Our Heavenly Father, his Son and our Savior, and the Holy Spirit were all involved in our salvation and glory, praise, and thanksgiving should be directed heavenward on a daily and hourly basis as we meditate on our status as sons of God. When we enter his gates these thoughts and feelings should be magnified and brought into a sharp focus of pure worship and love. Praise God for His salvation and His Holy Word.

Sunday, August 5

Psalm 100: verse 3

Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Know that the LORD he is God. The God of the Holy Bible is God and not the false Gods of other supposed holy books, cults, or men’s imagination. The one true God that made the universe is described in the Bible and He is God. Men should not and do not get to construct a God that suits their sinful nature by choosing attributes that meet their carnal needs. He made us and not we ourselves. God not only created the universe, he created everything in it including man. Therefore, we belong to him. He is the potter and we are the clay. He calls on all men everywhere to repent and believe on the LORD Jesus Christ for eternal life.

Wednesday, August 1

Psalm 100: verse 2

Psalm 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

How do we serve the LORD with gladness? Colossians 3:23 makes it clear that whatever we do, we do it for the LORD. We are serving the LORD in everything and not just in religious activities and ministries. Therefore, since everything is ultimately in service to the LORD, we should do it with gladness. Be cheerful and merry as you go about your life and duties. Imagine being cheerful and glad as you mop a floor or do hard labor under the hot sun. The opposite of happy and cheerful would be unhappy and sour. How many people with infirmities would be elated to be healthy enough to mop a floor or do hard labor in the hot sun? All tasks done well with gladness and cheer glorify God. It is all in the attitude and the attitude we should have is one of gladness as we serve the LORD in all that we do. This joyful and glad attitude will enable us to come before his presence with singing. God’s people should be so full of happiness and joy in the House of the LORD that their hearts are literally singing.

Once upon a time, a little girl attended a wedding held in a gazebo on the property of a friend of her father. She asked the man if she could be married there when she grew up and got married. He told her that he would do even better and build her a chapel in which to be married . True to his word, the photo above is the chapel that was built for her wedding.

Praise God that his marvelous grace enables us to serve him with gladness and come before his presence with singing.