Your works don’t make you righteous

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…” (Ro 3:21-22)

Paul’s letter to the Roman’s is a theological masterpiece. It highlights who we really are and what God has done so that we might have a relationship with Him. We are sinners through and through. Our sin has so corrupted us that we cannot nor do we desire to live for God. Using Paul’s term — we are not righteous. We do not live morally upright lives, nor are we in right relationship with God.

We cannot earn a right relationship with God through the Law, whether that be God’s law or our own moral code. There is absolutely nothing we can do but there is something God does. He sends His Son — Jesus — who is the Christ. Jesus is the God appointed Savior of the world. Through His life and death on our behalf, we can experience a right relationship with the Father. Not by emulating Jesus or sacrificing to Him, but through faith. Simply trusting that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provides you a right relationship with the Father, provides you a right relationship with the Father.

All those who believe in Jesus’ cross-work experience salvation. Through Jesus, the Father establishes the righteousness of man.

Trust in Jesus and not in your own work. Your works don’t make you righteous.

Unity is a blessing from the Lord

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Ps 133:1)

Because of God’s presence and provision, we are able to dwell together in unity with one another. Unity in community is a blessing showered down on us by God. God is the One who transforms our hearts — our will, wants, desires — so that we can live in unity with one another.

Unity requires self-sacrifice and forbearance. Only a heart that has been transformed by the Lord will be willing to sacrifice and forbear with another.

Where there is unity, there is the Lord’s blessing, His provision. When we experience unity with another, we should praise the Lord. If we desire unity, we should seek the Lord. Out of our relationship with the Lord, our growth in Christ, we experience unity with one another.

If you desire unity, turn to the Lord, seek Him, grow in Him, and you will experience the unity you desire with other brother’s and sister’s in Christ.

For indeed, unity is a blessing from the Lord. May we praise Him when it is present in our community.

Advent proves God’s promise is a reality

“The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.” (Ps 132:11)

Our God is a promise keeping God. He made a covenant with Abraham and reaffirmed that same covenant with his sons. He also made a covenant with the nation of Israel when Moses led them. Then again with David, promising that He would always have a son on his throne.

The covenants were unconditional and conditional at the same time. The next verse says,

“If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.” (Ps 132:12)

Many of us know the story of the kings. Incase you have forgotten or are reading about them for the first time, they did not obey the Lord. They didn’t keep His laws. Sure, some of them led the nation to repentance. But one good apple among a sea of bad ones will not do. The overall trajectory of the nation was bent toward’s idolatry and injustice.

The Lord, however, had made a covenant with His people. He promised to be their God. He promised one of David’s sons would sit on the throne. God fulfilled that promise Himself.

During Advent we are anticipating Jesus’ coming. He is the Son of God who did what Israel and the kings could not. He perfectly fulfilled God’s law, living for the Father’s glory and according to His will. He never sinned against the Father. As a result, He was granted the right to sit on the throne of David forever.

Advent anticipates His first coming and it points to His second coming where He will bring the kingdom in all its glory. To be sure, Jesus reigns and rules now. But in the future His reign and rule will be consummated. His kingdom will come and those who oppose Him will be cast out of the city gates, so that those who align themselves with God’s will can live securely inside the city of God for all eternity.

Will you be a citizen of the kingdom to come? Do you hope in Jesus’ second Advent? Will you celebrate His first Advent this year, worshipping and praising Him as the shepherds in the field did that glorious night? Would you travel half-way around the world like the wise men to lay gifts at His feet? Do you know the Savior? Do you have a love for Him? Do you bow to your King, recognizing that Jesus indeed is Lord?

There is hope after this life has ended

“Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8)

In Paul’s defense before King Agrippa he asks the question posed in verse 8. Why is it incredible to believe that God raises the dead? God is the all-sovereign, all-powerful, ruler and creator of the universe. Why is it so difficult to believe that He has the power to raise the dead.

Not only does God have the power to raise the dead, but it also fits His purpose. He promised we would experience life in a new heavens and new earth. One free from sickness and death. One where we worship King Jesus for all eternity for His glory and our blessing. For millennia, God has been calling a people to Himself to give to His Son. His Son, God Himself, came to die for these people. He will raise those who have died so that they might join Him in His kingdom one day to worship and serve Him for all eternity.

Why is it so difficult to believe God can raise man from the grave. It is within in His power and it fits His purpose. The resurrection is a reality. It is our only hope. Death is not the end. There is hope after this life has ended. But only for those who believe Jesus was raised from the dead as the first fruits of a new creation.

Do you believe in Jesus’ resurrection?

Do you know the forgiveness of the Lord?

“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” (Ps 130:3-4)

There is a wonderful truth in this verse. One we couldn’t live without. One that would keep us from hope and lead us into despair if it weren’t true. With the Lord there is forgiveness.

Despite our sin our against him, which is plentiful and heinous, the Lord offers forgiveness. He doesn’t hold sin against those who repent and seek His face, desiring to walk according to His ways.

He forgives because He absorbs the cost. He can absorb the cost and be just because of Jesus. Jesus has always been the Father’s plan to deal with our sin. He is not plan b. He is not an afterthought. Jesus is plan A through and through. Because Jesus was coming and the Father’s plan would come to fruition, the Psalmist can write 1000’s of years earlier about the Father’s forgiveness.

Do you know the forgiveness of the Lord? Is Jesus your Savior? Your hope?

God showers blessings on those who align with His will

“Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!” (Psalm 128:1)

Blessed means that God looks favorably on you. You experience divine favor. The psalm highlights God’s blessings. You are able to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Life goes well. You wife is fruitful and your children are like olive shoots. In other words, your family is growing and operating well. You experience prosperity and long life. Those who follow the Lord, who live aligned with His will experience peace and a good life as God showers His divine favor on you.

Aligning yourself with God’s will, then, not only pleases and glorifies God but we also experience benefits from God’s pleasure and glorification. These benefits are not earned per se. God is not in our debt because we align ourselves with His will. He instead willingly pours out blessings on our life at His pleasure and for our benefit.

Our God is a loving Heavenly Father who desires to give good gifts to His children. Those who desire Him live in a loving relationship with a generous and caring Heavenly Father, experiencing His blessings on their life.