“So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.”
Have you ever thought about why we sign legal documentation when we get married? Well, quite simply, it is to show that ‘legally’ two people are joining together to become one. It is almost like a ‘binding contract’ between two people. Moreover, in God’s eyes, until that ‘contract’ is broken through the passing of a spouse, marital unfaithfulness is adultery.
The writer of Romans, alludes also to the picture of marriage to explain how the power of sin and the law is broken. Before Christ, the law was the standard and guideline for holy living and ‘spiritual faithfulness’; almost as if we were married to it. Step outside of it, break it or abuse it and it was classed as ‘spiritual adultery’ of which there were severe consequences. Yet when Jesus died and rose again, His death separated us from the bind of the law, ‘trying to do good and keep all the laws’, and instead we were given new life, raised in Chrisr, because of Christ. Simply put, Jesus’ death broke the power of sin and the law, and His resurrected life has set us free and allowed us to be united to Christ, not to sin and the law.
It is Christ in us that produces good works for His glory. Not ourselves, not our ‘contractual’ obligations to be faithful, but a right standing and liberating relationship with our Heavenly Father. We are free from ‘doing’ because we have to be good! We rather now do good because we are free!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”
When Jesus came to the earth, as mentioned yesterday, He didn’t just come as a ticket to Heaven. He came so that we could live life to its fullness here now on this earth. When we pray ‘Lord let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven’ we are praying for every blessing that is in Heaven to become real on this Earth in our everyday lives. Jesus came to bring peace in our troubled world, life where there was only death and joy when there was despair. He came to penetrate every part of our thinking, choices and actions with His glory. This is life in its fullness. Living in Him and for Him. Life without Christ is not worth living. It becomes only temporary satisfaction. It is only Jesus that can fill our hearts to overwhelming. Invite the life giver into every part of your heart and watch and see Jesus’ blessings overwhelm your souls.
25th & 26th November
“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
1 John 1:9
Isn’t God’s love and kindness incredible. He forgives us when we don’t deserve it and instead of punishment, He gives us freedom. His grace sets us free; not only from the punishments of sin, but from the condemnation of it and the guilt. It is a daily challenge to accept this though, as as humans, accepting something so big for free is not easy, especially when we feel undeserving of it. John clearly states in his epistle, that if we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us of every stain of it. This is where grace comes in. The cleansing and the purifying are free gifts of God. His love covers all sins. No matter what we have done, if we confess to Him, His grace forgives and removes the condemnation of it: even when we don’t deserve it. No sin is out of God’s reach. His grace covers our shame, our guilt and even our remorse. He can restore and heal you and make you whole again. Confess to Him and watch your life change.
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for the followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”
God created us wonderfully. We are all different but the same human beings. We breathe the same air, eat the same food produced by the earth and feel the same emotions. Of course wherever we live the air and food may be different, and even the way we express our emotions are different across the world. Yet when it comes down to it, we are the same. This being said, rather than focus on our similarities, we often pick fault with each other’s differences. Even in the church, because someone doesn’t worship the same way as us or doesn’t dress in the same way as us, we can cause conflict and division. Yet the church should be the beacon of difference in this world; a place that the world can look at and see harmony and unity in-spite of our differences.
The writer of Romans was addressing this very issue too and encouraged us all to live in complete harmony, not for ourselves but in humility and serving others. Christ was our perfect example who humbly lived for others and not ourselves. Let’s strive for harmony and unity. Rejoice in our differences and accept each others faults. As the writer of Romans says,
Therefore, accept each other as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy. For You bless the Godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield.”
David knew the benefits of God’s gracious love. He knew that he could call upon the Lord in both his time of need and in peace. He had full security in who he was in the Lord. Moreover he had full assurance that because of God’s unfailing love towards him, he could enter into God’s presence and rejoice in the fullness of God’s love.
We too can have that same assurance, security and peace knowing that we are loved by the creator of the universe. We are protected by the Saviour of the world. In addition, we can find rest for our weary souls, in the refuge of our Father’s loving arms.
May David’s blessing, in today’s verse, be relevant for your life. May God truly bless you. May you find refuge in God’s presence. May joy fill your heart. And may you find protection from the enemy as you are surrounded with the Lord’s shield. The Lord is for you and not against you.
May “all who love Your Name may be filled with joy.”
“….. “Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals…and they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered – to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.””
If you were to think of two clear opposites in the animal Kingdom, you would probably say the lion and the lamb. The lion is the King of the Jungle. He rules with prowess, courage and power. He is the epitome of strength. He roars and others follow. Yet the lamb, is a gentle, meek and mild animal. An animal that follows the orders of the shepherd’s call and the dog’s order. Yet isn’t it incredible that our Lord Jesus Christ, is called both the Lion and the Lamb throughout the Bible?
In truth, many of us seem to see Jesus as either one or the other. If we see Jesus as the Lion figure, we see power and strength, righteous judgement and we revere and serve Him as our Holy God. If we see Jesus as the Lamb, then our image of Jesus is as the humble Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. We lean more on His grace and forgiveness, knowing that He paid for our sins sacrificially with His life.
An unhealthy balance of either of the two images tends to cause a mis-conception of how we see God and how we think He sees us. Leaning too much towards the Lion image, we tend to strive only for holiness. We beat ourselves up when we fall down, and are constantly trying to ‘be’ better, more holy and right before God, trying to gain His favour. On the other hand, those who lean too much towards the Lamb image, tend to say ‘everything is permissible’. It’s ok, God’s grace will cover my sins. I don’t need to keep my life in account. God loves me and that is that. Both are equally damaging for our walk with God. In order to live our lives as God wants us too, we need to have a healthy balance of the two. Both revere God as Holy, Mighty and Great, serve Him as King but also trust Him like a friend, and accept His forgiveness and grace in all we do. We must live holy lives, but knowing that when we fall, God’s grace and mercy will lift us back up. The Lion is on our side and our best supporter and the Lamb is our Mediator, giving us the grace to stand firm.
“When God our Saviour revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”
Salvation is a win win situation. Not only are we saved from our sins and the subsequent judgement of them, but we are forgiven completely; not by our own good or right things but because of the mercy of God. Not only are we forgiven, but we are given a new life through the Holy Spirit, as if unrecognisable from our previous life. We are given what we don’t deserve, His mercy and grace, and spared from what we do deserve, punishment. It is an upside down Kingdom. In society, when someone breaks the law, punishment follows; and rightly so. Yet how often do you hear of someone taking the punishment for someone else. Never right!! Yet this is exactly what Jesus did for us and that is why it is such wonderful and exciting news. We are loved that much by a Father who would allow His Son to take our place and suffer what we should have. His Kindness, His love and His mercy; That is why we worship Him. We are saved!