Friday, July 20, 2018
That would be myself, I am my biggest obstacle. This chapter sets the standards, not The Law per-se but how under His grace I should live. Sacrificing self for others. As it's been said before, the trouble with living sacrifices is they get up off the altar. It's hard to put aside self, hard to forgive wrongs, and so hard to show love to those who do wrong. But these are truly the signs of Christians. It's the woman who looks at the mangled body of her husband and says a prayer for the driver who ran him over. It's the church members who confront the man who shot their loved ones and don't express anger or hatred but express forgiveness. At times in all of our lives someone will do us harm, how will we respond? The flesh wants to lash out, wants to get even. But God says no, vengeance is His, this is hard to take and it's even harder to live it. Thank Him so much for His grace because even though I fail to be what He wants, He still loves me and I can keep on trying.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
I don't understand all of the intricacies of God's relationship with Israel. He chose them for His purpose. I know that part of that purpose was to show Himself to the world through His people. And to come as messiah. Since the advent of The Church, there have been so many men who thought that God was now through with Israel. Even here in the first century were such people. But God is not through with Israel, and in fact He will never be through with them. His promises are forever, that's a long time. I also never could understand the movements of antisemitism, especially from Christians. Our heritage comes from Israel. We would not know The Law and would not have Messiah were it not for God's chosen people. Just as Paul remembers in the time of the prophet, there will always be a remnant of Israel hungry for a real relationship with God. It's that hunger which leads to salvation, no matter who you are, Jew or gentile.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
In a world based on performance it's hard to accept exactly what grace is all about. I think of the man who said to Jesus, what must I do to be saved. So many people ask the same question today, although not always verbally. They spend their lives doing "stuff" hoping that it's enough. But it's not, and never will be. God gave Israel The Law. The formula seems simple enough, keep the whole law and you'll be saved. Problem is that no-one can. So what must you do to be saved? Just believe. So simple yet so hard. It requires an admission that I need to be saved, that I can't do it myself and that God will simply give me salvation. But that's it, confess that Jesus is God in the flesh and believe in your heart that he died for your sins. There is no distinction between Jew, gentile, rich or poor.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
I must admit that I do not fully understand the doctrine of election. I've read about it, heard discussions, and although I understand how some come to these conclusions, I can't quite reconcile election and free choice together. But there are a lot of things that just don't quite fit and the reality is I don't need to understand all of it. If we are truly predestined then what's the meaning of anything? Why preach Jesus to people who are already destined to salvation or condemnation? But clearly there are choices, Joshua's statement of choose you this day who you will serve stands out. Yet still God is sovereign, which means that He alone is in total control of every aspect of creation. So yes I do not understand this. But this I do accept, that God will choose who He desires to do His works. He will bless and curse who He chooses and not us. Yet even in this I think there are choices. When we choose to do His will, we are blessed and contrary when we choose to harden our hearts, God simply makes it harder. I've heard the expression that God will grease the path in whatever direction we choose. But overall the key to remember is that He is indeed sovereign, there are things in our lives that we will not understand until we get home, and my final destination is to be with Him.
Monday, July 16, 2018
This chapter isn't typically associated with prayer formulas, most often it's just one verse that's passed around during times of trouble. Which really irritates me to no end. The last thing I want to hear when I'm dealing with trouble is some platitude. But the prayer formula comes right before this. It starts at verse 26. We don't know how to pray, and as I've posted so many times before there is no formula. We're simply supposed to pray, and the Holy Spirit will clean it up. That's the real formula, just do it, like Nike. No special words, no rituals, just go and pray. Whatever we say and do, when our hearts are seeking an audience with God, the Holy Spirit makes sure it's right. The most powerful prayer I know is when Peter was sinking, he said "Lord, save me!"
Friday, July 13, 2018
Paul makes a point that without The Law defining covetousness, he would not know sin. So does this mean that just because God gave Moses The ten commandments that now Paul knows he's a sinner? I don't think so. I firmly believe there are certain truths which we simply know naturally. Perhaps God has written parts of The Law into our genetics. It's in nature. Through history we see in so many civilizations common prohibitions against things like murder and theft, where does this come from. It's The Law, it's written on nature. Paul may refer to what was written by Moses but The Law exists and existed even before Moses. Regardless of how we find it, it's what convicts us of our sins and shows us that we need a savior.
Thursday, July 12, 2018
I've listened to and read some commentaries on verse 2, in most translations it reads that we've died to sin. That gives me the impression that I am free to not sin any more, but I know that's not true. A different translation, and I think a better one is that we died IN sin. Now that makes more sense, we who were dead in our sins, having learned and been convicted of the transgressions, how can we choose to continue in them? This is such a simple logical argument, why do any of us, when we learn of things which we do that are harmful, continue doing them? I think it's a combination of the broken-ness and rebellious nature of man. The I attitude, I choose this even though you don't want me to do it. Or in some cases because someone doesn't want you to do something, you do it. Overcoming the sins in our lives is a long process, those who claim to live the sinless victorious life are all lying. But it's simply a choice and it's just one day at a time. We choose every day, I will do this and not that today. And because of His grace, should I choose wrong, I can always come back and try again. Under the Law was condemnation, and death. Grace does not give me license to sin but it gives me liberty to live.