Monthly Archives: April 2017

Complete Trust or Confidence

NIV Romans 4 18-22…a homemade amplified study using the dictionary.  It’s just another way to establish our confidence in Scripture and enhance our own [1] complete trust or confidence in it.
Definitions
[1] Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire
[2] Faith: complete trust or confidence
[3] Unbelief: lack of religious belief; an absence of faith.
[4] Righteousness: being morally right or justifiable.

18 Against all [1] expectation and desire, Abraham in [1] expectation and desire believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

19 Without weakening in his [2] complete trust or confidence, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

20 Yet he did not waver through [3] lack of religious belief; an absence of [2] complete trust or confidence regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his [2] complete trust or confidence and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

22 This is why “it was credited to him as [4] being morally right or justifiable.

Be Worth the Price

TLB Romans 3:27 Then what can we boast about doing to earn our salvation? Nothing at all. Why? Because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds; it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in him. 28 So it is that we are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.

The mystery of salvation is that giving everything to Christ is really we have “nothing at all” to give. Even our “faith in Christ” is a gift he’s given us. We’re just returning what we’ve been given, a little worse for the wear, so that solves the boasting problem too.

Thank God that he saw something worth saving…be worth the price!

Obedience of the Heart

Romans 2:13 Hearing the law does not make people right with God. It is those who obey the law who will be right with him. 14 (Those who are not Jews do not have the law, but when they freely do what the law commands, they are the law for themselves. This is true even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands. And they show this by their consciences. Sometimes their thoughts tell them they did wrong, and sometimes their thoughts tell them they did right.)

It was only when I pasted these three verses into my digital journal that I noticed the close parenthesis at the end and realized the enclosed explanation was twice as long as the sentence it was clarifying. That simple fact seemed like a Biblical object lesson for me to think about.

Being right with God is more complicated than just knowing what the law is. Obeying the law isn’t a matter of separating the have’s from the have not’s at all.  Instead, God makes a connection to what he’s written in the heart. “They [those who do not have the law] show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands.”

The object lesson: “Right with God” is the complicated relationship between being obedient to what the brain knows about the law and the obedience of the heart desiring to freely respond to it.

Live By Faith

Romans 1:17 The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself—that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, “But those who are right with God will live by faith.” NCV (New Century Version)

“But those who are right with God will live by faith.” That’s the bottom line of belief, beginning to end. Of course we should live by faith. Of course we want to be right with God. Of course, it’s all about faith but what does that mean in day-to-day life? We try so hard to make a right life with God be about what we’ve learned, what we do, how skilled we are and even who we know. Did you notice all the “we’s?” That’s the struggle. It’s hard to avoid inserting yourself into the description of what living a life of faith and being “right with God” looks like.

If you had to come up with a definition of what it means to live by faith, could you? Could you define what faith is in your own words without cliche’s, without inserting what you do or don’t do and even without quoting scriptures? That’s what I’m asking myself as I try to write my definition.

““But those who are right with God will live by faith.”
• With the awareness life will be good, whatever happens
• Knowing having no control isn’t the same as helplessness
• Not needing to know everything about it to be confident in it
• Depending on yet undiscovered reserves of strength

If you try writing your definition of living by faith, please think about adding your results in a comment to me. I’d love to post them.

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He is Risen Indeed!

Promise of Forgiveness

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, [b]weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NASB

Everything that led up to that day of condemnation so long ago has led you to this day we’ve come to call Good Friday. We get a lot of practice learning about the crucifixion of Christ being the bridge of forgiveness between us and God and between himself and us. There’s a third reality to that sacrifice that’s much harder to wrap our heads around. It was a sacrifice to set us “free from the law of sin and of death… free to believe “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

That’s what what this solemn day is about. The sinless Savior did what no law, priest, pastor or counselor could do. He condemned the sin that our human flesh could so easily use against us and replaced it with his promise that we could be free to walk according to his Spirit. This day the promise of forgiveness became our reality.

Repent, Pray and Remember

Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them.

This is our Savior…sweating blood…in anguish…pleading with God to tell him if there’s any other way. This is our Savior completely aware of just how bad it will be to be punished for our sin. This is our Savior who’s repeated concern is still that his disciples “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”

It’s heartbreaking to read later in Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The rooster’s crow confirmed the worst…the Lord’s prediction had come true. They’d all fallen away…and Jesus was going to pay for it.

Repent, pray and remember… Jesus paid for you too.