Most of us have no idea of how extensive our sin is. Personally, I can understand it only by realizing that erasing it required nothing less than the innocent blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But I do know that I have absolutely no resources with which to atone for my sin. Any good that I might have done could never outweigh the ways that I have offended the thrice holy God. My debt towards Him is just too formidable.
Thankfully, Jesus is a merciful God Who took my debt upon Himself. He graciously paid the entire price of my sin, leaving me free to worship God with a clear conscience. Throughout eternity, I will praise Him for paying a debt that I never could have paid.
It’s good to face up to the severity of our sin. Sadly, few churches these days teach much about human depravity. Efforts to bolster self-esteem minimize any mention of sin in favor of emphasizing our righteousness in Christ. We nod in agreement that Jesus died for our sins, rarely seriously thinking of ourselves as sinners.
But those of us who actually do understand the depth of our wretchedness run the danger of not speaking enough about God’s grace. This failure is ironic, since our conviction of sin should enable us to have a deeper appreciation of His grace.
What could be more joyful than knowing that the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches even me? How can I resist praising His Name when I think about His grace being broader than the scope of my transgressions, making me God’s dear child? The matchless grace of Jesus fills me with such joy that I want to magnify the precious Name of Jesus!
In 2020, it’s harder than ever to remember that Jesus actually reigns over the earth. More and more people crumble under the discouragement that continues to spread over our globe. Even strong Christians struggle against fear and despair, grieving as our liberties get taken away from us.
At this difficult time, we must train ourselves to focus on the truth that Jesus still reigns over all the earth. From our perspective, He seems to have lost control, but in reality He is working everything out exactly as Scripture predicated He would. That means that we can rejoice in His sovereignty, secure in the knowledge that He hasn’t lost control of His creation.
Hymn writer Isaac Watts once wrote a hymn assuring God’s people of the Lord’s steady rulership over the world. One of the verses encourages Christians to dwell on His love with sweetest song. Perhaps 2020, precisely because of the negativity it imposes on everyone, provides believers with an opportune time to do just that.
More and more Christians can see where Western civilization is going. We see how our politicians exploit COVID-19 to influence America’s upcoming election, to control human behavior and to clamp down on churches. We shouldn’t really be surprised.
I’m only surprised that the LBGTQ agenda got replaced by COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter as catalysts for social revolution. So much for claiming any prophetic powers, right? Nevertheless, the battle against the Lord and His church has intensified markedly in the past five months. I don’t think any serious Christian can deny that fact.
Voting for people who hold conservative values will reflect our integrity, most assuredly. By all means, let’s use our right to vote as long as we still have it!
But we win the ultimate war by obediently following Christ. And He leads us through His Word, not through political means. When (not if) our politics fail, our eternal King will lead us through each battle His way, all the while teaching us to glorify and honor Him.
About 20 years ago, I developed an interest in genealogy. A cousin on Mom’s side of the family sent me some information going back to our grandmother’s grandfather, who came to America from Ireland in the mid 1800s.
As always when someone investigates their family history, there were things about my great-great-grandfather that disturbed me. Having settled in the South, for example, he fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War (Granny tried to get me to call it The War Between The States). I feel embarrassed that he fought for the side that wanted to preserve black slavery, but I can’t change my heritage.
There are things about my personal past that I can’t change my either. The 17 years of my life before Jesus brought me to salvation may have been characterized by socially acceptable sins like my fascination with the occult (which would have pleased my great-great-grandmother, by the way), but I still rebelled against the Lord. I was headed for hell.
Thankfully, Jesus circumvented my path of self-destruction, convincing me that He took my sin on Himself. As I look back on who I was before His Holy Spirit enabled me to trust in Him as my Savior, I feel even more embarrassed than I do about my great-great-grandfather. But remembering where I came from only increases my gratitude to the Lord. I love Him most when I remember how lost I was without Him.
Whether we admit it or not, all of us struggle with the sin of pride. As I confess my sins during my daily prayer time, I often see how they all emerge from the root sin of pride. I also see how pride keeps me from fully appreciating the wonderful work Christ did for me on the cross.
Pride tells us lies about ourselves. It tells us that Jesus saw something in us deserving of His love. It tells us that we participate in our salvation, if only by exercising our wills to accept Him. It tells us that our obedience to Him makes us righteous.
The cross, on the other hand, tells us that the Prince of glory died and turned our richest gains into loss. It tells us that even if we possessed the entire realm of nature, it wouldn’t be enough of a present to offer Him. It tells us that the love of God demands everything from us, even though we have absolutely nothing worthy of His love.
Would you say that many Christians lose their sense of wonder that God saved them? Would you say that sometimes you lose your sense of wonder that He saved you? I have, from time to time.
Yet as we study Scripture, it’s hard to miss His amazing love for sinful, writing creatures like us. How incredible that Jesus would bear the Father’s wrath for us, taking our sin and giving us His righteousness! Nothing in us could ever merit such love, grace and mercy.
To His praise, He faithfully reminds us that He indeed has bestowed this incomprehensible love, grace and mercy on those of us who believe. He fills the pages of Scripture with innumerable examples of His love despite our persistent rebellion against Him. And when we see how undeserving we are of His love, we can’t help but be completely and utterly astounded.
How can it be that God the Son should die for me? I ought to be amazed more often!
We’ve been through another tough week in the United States of America. I’ve been through a discouraging week in my personal life.
Yesterday’s celebration of Independence Day seemed odd, given the apparent direction of our country. I can’t imagine that even John Adams (who advocated for centralized government) would approve of the things that have happened in the last three months.
I don’t approve of what’s happening in my personal life, for that matter.
Life is getting darker than I’ve ever seen it, and it certainly threatens to get worse. Didn’t Jesus say it would? We have no reason to feel surprised by the encroaching darkness, thoughts it grieves and frightens even the most mature Christian.
How encouraging, then, to remember that Jesus is returning to establish His kingdom! We don’t know when He will come back, and we probably shouldn’t indulge in too much speculation about it.
But what a comfort to know that He will come at just the right time! One day, all madness will end and He will reign in perfect righteousness. The violence will fade away, sickness will end and creation will be restored. Best of all, He will receive the honor and glory that rightfully belongs only to Him! Hallelujah!
Do you have an Amazon Wish List? Or perhaps a wish list at some other online store? Shortly after Thanksgiving each year, my sister and I email Christmas wish lists to one another, carrying on a tradition our mom started when we were young teenagers.
I have a spiritual wish list too. Actually, it consists of several variations of only one item. I want to please and honor the Lord.
Of course, I fail miserably at mortifying my sin nature. Just when I think I’ve made significant progress in overcoming a persistent sin (usually anger), I explode again. This past week has been especially bad in that respect, I’m grieved to tell you.
Like all Christians, I long for a heart that praises my God both in what I say and how I live. It disturbs me that non-Christians see me behave in ways that bring dishonor to Him. It disturbs me even more that I dishonor Him in the first place.
Do you also struggle with sin that pops up over and over? I’m pretty sure you do. We can praise God that Jesus Christ took the sins of all who believe in Him on Himself and gave us His righteousness in their place. Indeed, that great exchange motivates me to desire a heart that reflects His character. Is such a heart on your wish list?
When we think of John Newton, our minds immediately go to his beautiful hymn, “Amazing Grace.” But did you know that he wrote other hymns?
Yesterday I poked around YouTube a bit, not sure what hymn to feature today, and I came across one performer by Indelible Grace. I’m certain they updated the tune, but they apparently preserved Newton’s original lyrics.
Right away, I knew I needed to post it!
In this hymn, Newton walks us through the various benefits of Christ’s atonement, continually returning to the glorious truth that He has washed us with His blood. Newton gives lots of good doctrine throughout the verses, introducing each one as yet another reason to worship our wonderful Lord.