buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Redeemed”

The Underlying Issue

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about some of the deception that has crept into the church body. It generated a few comments on my Facebook page. I don’t claim to know all the answers to the questions that have been raised concerning church issues. It’s an imperfect world that is ruled by our sin nature.

We don’t like to talk much about our sin nature or our sins in general. I have things I deal with on a daily basis that I don’t really like talking (or write) about. It’s only by God’s grace that I survived my past and live to confess I am saved by the grace of God, not by my works or by my “good” nature. Nothing in me is worth saving, but Jesus sought me and caught me and transformed my thinking.

I couldn’t change my nature on my own. It goes against who I am as a human being. I have proclivities that are natural to me and my nature doesn’t want to change. Yet, I changed. Not because of who I am, but because of whose I am. Jesus bought me at a huge price. It was a very slow process to change the way I think and the way I act. It’s because of Jesus that I live differently today. I’m not perfect. I still fail to live as I should as His follower. When I wake up in the morning, I am given a new day. The old has passed away and a new day has dawned. I can start over with a clean slate. That’s God’s mercy at work.

We have a big problem in this world today. We are all sinful people. The things that hinder my relationship with Jesus are probably different from the ones that hinder you. But we all suffer from our sin nature. In God’s mercy, He sent Jesus – not to condemn the world, but to save us (John 3:16-17).

God could not and will not look upon sin. Sin was introduced to the perfect world and the world has been forever changed. We are condemned to live a life less than what God intended. Sin does that. God cannot overlook our sins. Our sin nature condemns us to live without a relationship with God. Today, the world is going further away from God. It’s like a vortex pulling us down into the abyss. But we don’t have to go as the world goes. Jesus breaks the pull of the abyss and sets us free. Jesus loved us enough to pull us out by His death and resurrection – death was defeated by the blood of Jesus!

If you remember from my previous post, my friend thought God changed with the times. I countered with I didn’t believe God changes with culture. First God is love. True – He is but He also does not love sin. He never has and He never will. Second, sin has always been sin. Sin never changes. Culture just changes what we call sin; it deceives us into thinking we are right when God says it’s wrong.

Jesus loved everyone He met. But He did not tolerate their sin. He told the adulteress woman, to go and sin no more. He told the rich young man to sell all his possessions and come follow me. After spending the day with Jesus, the tax collector recognized his sins and changed the way he conducted business. Jesus told the Pharisees to repent. He cried over Jerusalem because of their unbelief. Jesus grieved over those who were hard-hearted and would not repent.

Some of the folks listened to His teaching and chose to walk with Him; but many turned away because His teaching was hard to live out. His teaching goes against our nature. Jesus’ teaching still tells us to live differently. He calls us to repentance – to turn away from the life of sin and to walk with Him. When we walk with Him, we change. It’s a transforming life, a process to become more like Him.

God does not change and His love endures forever. That knowledge is the foundation of my hope. If He changed, how firm would be my foundation? He doesn’t change like shifting sand. We are told to build our lives upon a rock – one that is unmovable – a sure foundation.

Culture is constantly changing. What’s good today will be old and outdated tomorrow. I can’t live that way. I need something more secure. I have found the answer in Jesus. For this I am truly grateful. My sins of the past have been removed and I have been redeemed for the new life in Jesus. Everyone has the opportunity to follow Him, but not everyone will. My prayer is that you are walking with Him today. If not, then I hope you will be one of the few who find Him today and let Him transform you too.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:18-21

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The Light

What our world would look like without Jesus? What would I look like if Jesus hadn’t come to save me? I have been pondering this question since Christmas Day. I can’t really tell you about my life before Jesus since I have known about Him all my life. However, I can you the difference when Jesus came fully into my heart. It’s when I started walking with Him. It wasn’t on the day of my salvation. I had that long before – whether you believe one can be saved and not actually live like it or not. I know my testimony of God calling me out of my pew that Sunday morning. I also know of His protection when I was walking on a different path than what I should have been as one of His children. I am much like the Israelites and their rebellion. They were still His people. He waited on them to repent. He waited on me too. I am so grateful for my patient God.

I love the story of the prodigal son (found in Luke 15). Demanding, selfish young man decided the grass was greener in the far country. He left and found out; life wasn’t better on the other side. The fun didn’t last. The friends weren’t the best. The community didn’t help him. And when he finally came to his senses, he turned around to go back home. That’s me! It took a few pegs to knock me down so I could finally look up. When I did, I finally saw God waiting on me to return with loving arms wrapping around me. It was His amazing grace that gave me a new start.

I am in another Beth Moore study; this one on the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). She was speaking in the DVD portion of the study about her remembrance of where she was before Jesus reached down to pull her out of her pit. She said “if we remember the bondage, then we must remember the grace; we will also have more grace to give to others.” It sounds like the story of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) who wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus told the parable of two people owing money. One is forgiven a bigger debt than the other. The one with the biggest debt loves more than the other one. Grace and love are shown when we have received it for ourselves. Sometimes I forget where I was. Sometimes I need a reminder; I am the sinful woman who has been given the grace of forgiveness. My debt was high and Jesus paid it all.

Today, because Jesus has come, I am no longer living in darkness. Jesus came to bring light to the world. Without light, only darkness is present. I can see only because Jesus opened my eyes. Where would I have been if Jesus had not come? I would not be here writing these words. I would be right back in the pit of despair wondering how in the world I got there. I would not be in good health because I would still be drinking. I would be living in a very destructive lifestyle. If Jesus had not come, I would not be living with joy and hope of eternity. I would not have the friendships I have today. I would not have the relationship with my family. I would be living in sin with no hope of a future.

When Jesus came, everything changed. What condition are you in today? Do you need Jesus?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25

I written a couple more things about this subject in my monthly newsletter coming out on the first. If you would like to receive it go here to sign up.

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