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"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." -Galatians 4:4-5

Trying to understand life rightly through a Covenant lens.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grace (Pt 2)

Hebrews 10:19 "We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus."

Something hit me tonight. It's something that I knew before but it was one of those reminding thoughts that God brings up.

Once we confess our sins, God chooses to forget them. We are holy and blameless in His sight.

Think about that.
-a wretch made right in His eyes

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grace

Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

My pastor preached a home-run message yesterday. It was on Ephesians 2. Grace is the central theme in this passage.

I kind of forgot how important grace is when we're talking about salvation. First of all, a good dose of humility is handed out. We don't do anything in the salvation process. Literally. Nothing. We don't even make the decision to follow Christ because He calls and draws us to Himself. I know that I've struggled with that idea. God gave us free will right? (Yeah.) Then how don't we make the decision to follow Christ? But I have to realize that God is Lord over all and while we have free will, He works everything for His glory. We may get what we want and what we think is best for us but God knows better. He often turns our plans upside-down in order to draw us to Himself.

Second of all, not only do we not do anything, we don't deserve anything. There is nothing good inside us. We were made by God and our essence is good because God created us good (1 Timothy 4:4). But inside is our sin nature (Romans 7:18). This created a barrier between us and God. We've disobeyed Him ever since the Fall in Eden. There is nothing good that we do (Isaiah 64:6) so there nothing we can do to earn our salvation.

It's all done by God. He truly orchestrates all things according to His glory. In the end, no matter whether you go to Heaven or Hell, it will give glory to God. If you go to Hell, you will be glorifying Him by satisfying His wrath against sin. If you go to Heaven, then you will glorify Him by choosing to believe in Him and living their life for His purpose.

So I urge you to take full realization of this grace that God presents to us. I pray He leads you to Himself by realizing this truth not even just a little bit, but I'll venture to pray that He lavishes it on you and you'll have no excuse but to respond in obedience and complete submission to Him.

He loves you.

-sam

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Versus: Tents vs. Houses

2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Passing vs. Permanent. Fleeting vs. Forever. Limited vs. Lasting.

A good friend of mine came across this passage just a little while ago and showed me. She pointed out the usage of the words "tent" and "house." "Tent" is referring to our earthly bodies, while "house" is referring to our Heavenly bodies we will receive. That is a good way of putting it. I'm only passing through this campsite waiting for my call to move into my house. Until then, I've got some people all around me in this campsite that are going to stay in tents their whole lives, whether they know it or not. This may be a poor analogy but I'm the spokesperson for the ultimate Real estate agent. That analogy comes short of who God truly is, so I don't mean to take any glory away from Him but I thought it helps a little bit in understanding.

In the next verse, it says that "meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling..." This sums up the human spirit perfectly. Whether we know it our not, everybody knows that 1) there is God (Psalm 14:1) and 2) in some way, they were made for something bigger (hence, the need for religion). I've found that many times my spirit aches to be with Christ that I just want to cop out of this life and go on to glory.

But that's too easy. Christ didn't call us to a life of "easy." It is tough for me to say this because I'm dealing with an instance where I have to be patient and wait on Christ. I'm not one to wait. Like the rest of humanity, I want my reward right now. A lot of times, I selfishly say to God "I don't care, I just want it now." And something terrible happens: He gives it to me. It's not that He's giving it to me to spite me or that He's fed up with me, rather, it's so I can learn from my mistake and realize His sovereignty again. His discipline make the best lessons. Of course when I say "best", it's not always the most pleasurable. It is what is best for our relationship with Christ and it is often painful.

So realize that if you have Christ in your life, 1) realize that you are living in a tent right now so don't get comfy down here and 2) live in such a way as to show others that have something awaiting you. Don't get lazy. Show the love and joy that Christ has given you because if you're not joyful about all that Christ has given you, I would challenge you to take another look at your faith because it may not be there.

For the non-Christians, turn from your sin while there is still time. With all this craziness going on in the Middle-east, it's going to get ugly. I say this with a loving urgency to turn to Christ and leave your life of sin behind. You won't become perfect when you turn to Christ. That's not what it's about. But it means that you are no longer a slave to sin and you now have the opportunity to choose Christ as Lord of your life every day.

love,
-sam

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Versus: Confidence vs. Arrogance

con-fi-dence [kon-fi-duhns]–noun
2.
belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:

ar-ro-gance
[ar-uh-guhns]
–noun
offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Have you ever been in the situation where you feel like someone is really abusing their powers and abilities? For example, there may be a professional football player that is really talking up his ability to play ball. You can't really argue with him because he has the game to back up his talk. Is that being confident or being arrogant?

This is a tough thing to discern. I think the key thing to look at here is the difference in the definitions. They both have key words, I believe, that signifies a difference. Confidence has the word "assurance." It's true that this can be a part of arrogance too but the key word for arrogance is "offensive." If it is abrasive and overbearing, that's a fairly good sign that it is arrogant.

There are a couple times in Scripture that I find some arrogant sections.

The one that comes to my mind is in Philippians. In chapter 3, verse 17 Paul says "Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example." The first time I read that, I was like "Woah!! Paul, getting a little full of ourselves are we?" But after re-reading, I feel like he's being confident in the life he is living. He is confident that even though he is sinful, God is working through him enough to where people should be following his example.

We can and should follow his example too. And that can go for any other solid Christian figure today. We can follow their example in living a holy life, just as long as we realize they're human too and we shouldn't idolize them.

With that being said, are you using the gifts and position in your area of influence that God has given you rightly? Or are you using it to boost your own glory?

-sam

Monday, January 31, 2011

Versus: Knowledge vs. Wisdom

knowl-edge:
[nol-ij]–noun
1. truths, or principles, as from study or general knowledge of many things.

wis-dom:
[wiz-duhm]–noun
1.
the wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.


Growing up in church my whole life, I've acquired a lot of knowledge. Different aspects and stories from the Bible are floating in my head. But what are they if I don't learn anything from all of those lessons I've learned?

It's like eating a lot of food, but never working out. You're going to get fat. So if you start consuming all of this knowledge and don't "work out" by putting it into action (wisdom), you're going to become spiritually "fat."

A side effect of this may be playing the "referee" in certain circumstances. Let me explain. Who likes the referee in a game? You don't hear people rooting for the official saying "Good work ref! Great call!" Well maybe you do, but it probably has a bit of sarcasm added in. These people call out everything that is wrong and they don't do anything about the situation. They have all of this knowledge that they acquired growing up but now they are too lazy to do anything about it.

Another side effect may be complacency. The definition from Dictionary.com goes like this:


pleased,
especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect
.

They feel like they are doing good enough.

This was me not so long ago. I went into a Christian trance where I went through the motions. I looked good on the outside but I didn't let Christ work in me. I wasn't striving to thrive; I was content where I was at.

So I warn you, don't stop "working out" in your faith. Gain knowledge, but don't stop there before turning it into wisdom.

Again, I say this in full awareness that I am one of the more complacent people. I pray you combat complacency with prayers of intention.

-a wretch made right