Tag Archives: through faith

HELPLESS – BUT GOD!

HELPLESS – BUT GOD!

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world be held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

But now, apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify.” Romans 3:19-21.

Doomed! We are all doomed. Paul’s conclusion is both terrifyingly condemning…

Everyone is guilty before God. There is no one privileged enough to escape His judgment and no one righteous enough to evade His scrutiny. No one on the planet, past, present or future, can perfectly measure up to His requirements. God’s holy nature is revealed in His Law. It is inflexible. It is objective. That’s what He demands and anything less is punishable by death.

…and gloriously liberating! So what can we do? The answer is, “Nothing!” We can do nothing and we need to do nothing. Why? God has already done everything; everything necessary to give us hope.

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:22-24.

No one can stand before God in his naked state. Sin has stained and polluted every person, regardless of what he has tried to do to gain acceptance with God. His spirit is dead and that is as final as physical death – unless God intervenes…and He has. Sin killed us, not only because we have all sinned but also because we all have a natural bent towards sin which cannot be cured by trying to obey rules. The law sets the standard but it cannot enable us to keep it. All it can do is reveal our guilt.

Why do people who know God’s law, be it in written form or in their conscience, still think that they can do something to satisfy God’s righteousness by trying to obey rules? Even some of those who claim to be believers in Jesus still try to satisfy God’s holy standards by working hard to please Him. How much better to admit defeat and accept God’s solution!

Imagine your small son, whom you have instructed not to help himself to cookies from the cookie jar, standing in front of you with a cookie in each hand. He has been caught red-handed. He is guilty and he cannot escape. You warned him that he would be spanked and sent to his room for the whole day if he disobeyed you. Now you must keep your word, even if he is sorry and promises never to do it again.

His older brother steps in. He adores his little brother and feels sorry for him. “I’ll take his punishment,” he tells you. Because he has never been guilty of transgressing your rule, you accept his offer. Little brother goes free while older brother receives the spanking and spends the day in isolation in his bedroom.

You have been perfectly just in punishing disobedience and at the same time merciful to the little boy who transgressed your law, because of his older brother’s compassion. That is exactly what God has done, but on a much higher level.

“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness because, in His forbearance He has left sins unpunished – He did this to demonstrate Hs righteousness as the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:25, 26.

All we have to do is to accept His gift by believing what He says. It’s as simple as that. Was Jesus without sin? Most definitely yes! Did He die as a law breaker? Again, yes! He was executed as a blasphemer and as one who committed treason against Rome. Was He guilty as accused? Yes and no! What He said was true. He is the Son of God and King of the Jews…but not as He was judged to be. He said emphatically, “My kingdom is not of this world.” His kingdom transcended Rome and transcends all the kingdoms of this world.

How do we know He was telling the truth? God raised Him from the dead. Death is the punishment for sin, but death could not hold Him in its grip. After three days He walked out of the tomb. He is alive; and He sent His Spirit to live in the heart of every believer so that we are enabled to live the life He wants us to live. All this happens when we put our confidence in Him!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Handcrafted By The Master

HANDCRAFTED BY THE MASTER

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 8-10).

What a different picture from the one Paul painted in the previous verses! We are no longer dead and stinking but alive to God and objects of His grace and favour. How sad that religion drives many branches of so-called Christianity. What do I mean by “religion”? Religion flourishes by rules and ritual. Religion is a “do-it-yourself” attempt to reach God or to satisfy the perceived demands of a god.

Even believers in Jesus often erroneously believe that their response to what God has done for them is to “work for God”. But God’s word tells a very different story. God sent His Son into the world to rescue us from the plight sin put us in, not for our sake but for His sake. He wanted a family of sons and daughters bound to Him by love, not a group of slaves bound to Him by fear.

He did everything necessary to bring us back to His original plan because of His mercy. We did nothing to deserve His grace and we can do nothing to earn it. He did it for Himself so that the minions who rebelled against Him would be confronted with the truth – God is love.

Humans find it difficult to accept a free gift so great that it transfers us out of the devil’s clutches and places us in the hands and under the care of a gracious Father. We would rather attempt to repay God for His kindness in some futile way which does not impress God at all. God is not a tit-for-tat God like the gods of the heathen. If you do this for Him, He will do that for you. Everything He did to save us from self-destruction, He did for Himself, and He gives is to us as a free gift of His grace.

But that does not mean that we simply take everything and give nothing back. As sons and daughters of God, there is a response He requires of us, but it is not a response of repaying our debt. It is the response of the children of God who adore their Father and serve Him out of love and gratitude.

A study of the gospels will reveal that there are five characteristics of a true son which Jesus mirrored in His life on earth.

  1. A son loves his father

A religious leader once asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment?” to which Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Love for God is the atmosphere in which a son of daughter lives.

  1. A son trusts his father

If there is no trust between a father and his child, he then lives like a slave in fear. Love and trust are the bases of the other three characteristics of a son or daughter.

  1. A son submits to his father

Jesus is the perfect model of a submissive son. Even when He faced His greatest battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, He submitted to the Father’s will, and not with gritted teeth but with love and trust.

  1. A son obeys the father

A son does not grudgingly obey or give in to the father under compulsion. Obedience is the hallmark of love. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love me, you will do what I command you.”

  1. A son serves his father

This is not the service of a servant but the service of partnership, doing the Father’s will with Him to fulfil the Father’s greater purpose of establishing His kingdom on earth.

The good works of which Paul speaks are not random acts of kindness because we feel sorry for people in need. They are the integrated actions of God’s people which reveal His character to an ungodly world. When we live in harmony and fellowship with the Father, He will reveal His will to us and enable us to carry out His plans in partnership with Him to bring a wayward family back to Himself.

Whatever it involves in the way of acts of compassion and kindness towards others, God wants to reveal Himself through us so that those who have been deceived by the devil into hating God, will see Him in us and turn to Him in faith.

Paul said that we are God’s masterpiece, handcrafted by Him to carry out His will on earth by doing what He planned for us to do long before we were born.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

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