A better master

Let not sin therefor reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof. Romans 6:12


Once sin reigned over the believing sinner like a tyrant reigns over a city. His laws and design are to enslave and hurt the people under his tyrannical reign. But when a better king comes and tares down the tyrant from his occupied throne and sets himself up as ruler over the people, he brings in justice and mercy. The once ruling tyrant is no longer master and is now an outlaw. He may remain in that city but only as an annoyance seeking to trouble the people with lesser power. So it may be with the Christian who was once governed by sin as master but when Christ came, He defeated sin and set up His rule and reign in the heart and life of the believer. Sin may remain, but not as master. Just as the new and better king will use his power to drive out the old tyrant and all his remaining effects, so Christ in sanctification drives out sin and its remaining effects in the life of the believer. Thus we must give no place to that old tyrant of sin in our mortal bodies. His rule and power has been broken by Christ triumph on the cross. The war is won but battles remain. The fight against the enemies is one of guaranteed victory. Just as God  told Joshua “I have given the enemy into your hand” (Joshua 10:19) but commanded Joshua to pursue and destroy the inhabitants of Canaan , so we, having Christ as our victor who has already won the victory, still commands us to fight sin with encouraging words like “Sin shall not have dominion over you.”(Romans 6:14), and “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). We must continually look to Christ for all comforts and strength is the remaining battle against sin. His promise to never cast you away (John 6:37), and to “Never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) based on his covenant promise should be your strength in the easy times, as well has the tough times of the battle. David says “I have hid your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalms 119:11). We should make the word of God our constant diet in all times, not just desperate ones. We must know the word in order to be able to use it in every season. Above all, be encouraged and rejoice always because in Christ all grace is afforded to you! God is for you, even in your sin. He is either calling you out of it(Repentance), or sustaining you in the battle (perseverance), either way, know Christ is your final hope and salvation. He has accomplished all that was and is necessary for your salvation. Trust in your new King! He has you covered!

Christ died for the ungodly

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” -Romans 5:6

What is required of man to obtain the joys of Heaven and the eternal fellowship with almighty God? You may just get a different answer for every one person you ask this question too. Most answers will have something to do with what man must do in order to be made right with God, and some may even balance the effort out on the part of God and of man; meaning that God does His part and man does his part and then they both can live in harmony. This is not the gospel. The verse above states clearly that we were ‘without strength’, that is when Christ came in the appointed time of His Father to die, it was when we had no strength. We were weak and could not do anything to save ourselves. Christ came in our place, a place we deserved, a place of wrath and punishment, and Christ died as a substitute for the ungodly. That’s right, God died for the ungodly! Not only were we without strength, but we were ungodly. It would only seem “natural” and “super hero” like if Jesus came to save people who were weak and needy, and who could not help themselves, and yet the verse says Christ died for the ungodly!

Have you grasped the implications of this yet? How often have you turned to God because you felt weak and without strength, but ran from Him when you felt ungodly? Our verse tells us that God planned “In due time” that His son, Jesus, Christ, the Savior, would come and die when we were both without strength and ungodly. His death was for sinners. Sinners like you and me. At times we feel ourselves to be weak and broken, needing grace and this we expect from our loving Father in Heaven, but there are times, more often the you or me would like, when we are just ungodly and rebellious, but need to remind ourselves, from the gospel that CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY!
Turn to Christ for every need. His death was the demonstration of God’s love for you (Romans 5:8). Whether weak or sinful, His grace is sufficient for all who come to Him seeking mercy and rest.

The God-fearing Mother

Proverbs 31 say’s “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” They are in fact rare because unfortunately we don’t find them in every home. I suppose the same could be said about faithful men in our day. But every so often I come across an article or story about a women who lives, or had lived, who was one of those rare jewels of the Christian faith. Now only God knows the heart of any person, but we have the privilege of observing the fruit of God’s grace in these individuals. Perhaps your own mother, or your wife is one of these women who, by God’s grace, stand out in Christian love and virtue. The reason for this short blog is to direct your attention to a woman who recently went home to be with her Lord, Jesus Christ. It is the mother of Dr. Joel- Beeke who has created a series of blog post entitled, The Legacy of my God-fearing Mother. 

Do yourself a favor and read through them and be encourage and challenged in the Lord by this woman’s life and love for Jesus.

VBS and Evangelism

It’s vacation Bible school at our Church this week and we are having a great time teaching children about God being the creator and savior!

I had a thought one evening as we were teaching kids about the gospel. Now, we weren’t doing this, but I thought about how when children hear that God loves them and sent Jesus to die for their sins so that they can “go to Heaven”, and it struck me as odd that anyone would make the gospel all about getting to Heaven. Because that’s what many do! They make the gospel about a destination. It becomes more about getting to Heaven or getting out of Hell, and the whole idea of the here and now of salvation is not elaborated on.

Imagine being a small child and hearing that if you believe in Jesus you get to go to Heaven when you die. The clever child might ask “Okay, so in like a eighty years I get to cash in the decision I make tonight?” The same goes with our evangelism. We tell the average person that the decision they make to believe in Jesus will “get them out of the line going to Hell and into the line going to Heaven”, and they walk away waiting for some future destination that doesn’t impact them now.

Now I understand that most Christians reading this would say that is an extreme exaggeration, and that they would never not mention following Jesus in life, but that is a whole other point. Some teach that we must follow Jesus in life to get to Heaven. Same thing! It’s all about getting to Heaven, and don’t get me wrong, Heaven is a great expectation of all God’s people.

But the gospel is the good news of our being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. That happens the moment you believe. The great chasm that existed between you and God because of your sin is filled with Christ atoning work on the cross. The gospel is the good news that through faith in Christ you are now His child, adopted into His home, and beloved by God forever.

One of my favorite verses is John 17:3, which sums up what eternal life is all about. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer He says, “And this is eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

You see here that it is knowing God that Jesus says is eternal life. Heaven is wonderful because it is eternity with God, the God who called you while you were yet dead in sin, but now alive in Christ through faith. But all this happens in life.

So in short, when it comes to evangelism, whether with children in VBS or a stranger on the street, give them the gospel of reconciliation. Remember the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

The gospel is not about a place, it’s about a person, namely Jesus Christ!

Look to Jesus

Oh the white washing blood of Jesus Christ! The power of His death to justify sinners! Wretched, weak miserable rebels called by God to be clean! What a gospel!

What a privilege to be called by God when He, being holy, would have justly condemned us for our sin. Is there any greater Man or God than Jesus Christ? (In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him all things were created, that are in Heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for Him)…This is indeed where we must stop and worship, for this glorious one named Jesus is not only the one who created all things listed here in Colossians, but it says at the end of verse 16, it was all created not only by Him, but for Him!

Did you read that dear believer!? All things are His, they were created for Him! This speaks of the amazing value of His person. That everything, Sun moon, stars, mountains, creatures great and small, All are for Him. And this is the one who hung on a tree for you. Almighty God in the flesh, torn and bleeding for the sins of His people, taking the place of all who would believe in Him. Taking the wrathful justice of God upon Himself and punished in our stead. Surly He accomplished His work there! Surely sins where truly forgiven there. Do not doubt that He dealt with your sins there at Calvary. He was able bare the wrath in your place and was raised to life to proclaim its efficacy. What sin did He not atone for? What sin is greater than such a price as this? Fall head long before Him and worship in the security of His salvation. Are you sure yet, are you at rest? Paul writes in Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand. Notice here our access and standing with God is through the one, Jesus Christ. Faith in Him alone, not our abilities, pedigrees, privileges, status, works, nothing adds to our right standing with God. It is Christ alone who died making reconciliation between sinner and holy God. If you say you have faith and yet struggle with assurance, find out where or in whom your faith lies. Is it the person and work of Jesus Christ or another, namely your own? Is it your own ability to believe or obey? Or do you look upon Christ crucified and say in your heart by faith, “there is all my sin done away with”. “There alone my victory won”. Know this; that if you are saved it is because there on that tree Christ died for every one of your sins in particular. If even one of your sins past, present, or future, was not laid upon Him at that moment of His atoning death, it is not forgiven. Jesus said Himself about the work of atoning for sin and satisfying Gods just and holy wrath against sin, “It is finished”. Rest assured that it truly is finished and put your hand to the plow by faith that Christ has won the victory for you….because He loved you with an everlasting love fully displayed in the cross.