God is Rich Because He Has Nothing

In my last post, Love Kills we spoke of God’s one desire to bring us into a full union (or communion) with Him. Now, Let’s talk about how we gain this freeing union.

Saint Dobry

In Sofia, Bulgaria there is an old soldier, Dobri Dobrev (shown above). This man is 102 years old. He lost most of his hearing in World War II. He lives off of his war pension of about 100 dollars a month. He spends his time begging. However, he does not keep any of the money for himself. He gives all of it away to local churches and orphanages to help them pay their bills.

The Generous Beggar

God works much like this good man. Though He does not have to beg for alms, He gives away all He has. He gives away first the complete forgiveness of sins past present and future as written in Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. He also gives away eternal salvation and glorification (righteousness) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

The Children

These beautiful gifts are given only to those who have faith in Christ. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) But what does that mean? Are we to believe Jesus was a real person? Or that he did certain things?

True faith is specifically to believe everything that God has shown us in His Word, the Bible. But also more specifically, we are to believe in such a way that we are totally confident that these gifts apply specifically to ourselves and not just to others. Are you an alcoholic? Then, believe Jesus died on the cross thinking particularly of every drink you were going to take. Do you steal? Believe Jesus was whipped and had flesh torn from His body specifically for every item He knew you would take.

The Whole Book?

Have you ever tried to read the whole Bible in a year? It can be pretty tough. Especially if you miss a couple of days. Trying to catch up could be really difficult. Imagine trying to memorize the whole thing! Well, Christians long since came up with a better solution.

While reading and memorizing as much of the Bible as you can is a great practice, it takes a lot of time and devotion which is impractical when teaching someone what to believe for the first time. So Christians made creeds and confessions, to sum up, the faith. The shortest and oldest of these is known as the Apostle’s Creed because it is said to have been written by all 12 of the apostles. The creed contains a summary of specifically what we should believe and it all focuses around what God has given to us.

Next Time

Today we discussed the general gifts given to us by God through faith. Next time we are going to dive into the Apostle’s Creed and discover the three gifts God gives to us and what we are to believe about them. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Have you ever thought that Jesus suffered and died specifically for your sins? Does this make His story more personal and relevant to your life? I’d love to hear more from you so feel free to post a comment below or send me a direct message through my Contact Page.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

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Love Kills

God is crazy, we are dying, and everything is great!

My previous post Deadly Deliverance spoke on how Christ was the perfect person to pay the debt we owe to God. Today I hope to explain a little more about the nature of what we call the Godhead.

Trinity in Unity

John the beloved was arguably the closest disciple to Jesus. After Jesus ascended into Heaven he wrote this about God, “there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” (1 John 7:8) The phrase “in agreement” in Greek is literally “for the one thing”. That is, God is after only one thing.

God is Crazy In Love

C.S. Lewis wrote, “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them”. We are not worth anything and yet God wants us to share in that Unity of which John spoke.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Towers in New York City destroying the buildings and killing many. At the base of those buildings is St. Paul’s church. This was the church in which George Washington was inaugurated. It was also the only building in that vicinity that was not destroyed. You see, a large Sycamore tree stood next to the building and took all the weight of the debris. It killed the tree but saved the church.

Creating us was not enough for God. As the Church, we have a tree that protected us (and still does). The cross of Christ. Christ left that beautiful unity in order to bear the weight of all the debris in our life, and not only to carry the load for us, but to pull us out of the deepest pits we have dug for ourselves, reaching even to hell to pull us to Himself and then into unity with the Trinity as Jesus Himself prayed that those who believe “may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:21).

We are Dead and so we Live

This great love, caused us to perish too. As Paul says, “if any man is in Christ [that is, brought into the unity of God’s love through grace] he is a new creature [or new creation]”. The old has died, and along with it all of its burdens.

Jesus isn’t all that died on the cross that day. Our sins, death, and the Devil himself died too. They no longer hold any power of us if we remain with Christ. When we sin, it is already covered. Doesn’t matter if the sin is a ‘religious’ sin like not going to church, or if it is a sin in that we miss the goal. Such as believing that we are unqualified for the work we have to do, or thinking that we could never have anything better than what we do now or used to long ago.

Sadly, many don’t think they can believe that because their religion tells them that there are yet more requirements to live up to. Keep these commandments, read these books, listen to this music and on and on. Well, don’t buy it.

Dance like a Fool

2 Samuel 6:14 says “David was dancing before the Lord with all his might”. You are not only saved, you are promised eternity in the communion of God. So go out and dance like King David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Be free to mess up.

You know you are living the Christian life when people think you aren’t saved. When David danced the Scriptures record “that Michal the daughter of Saul [David’s wife] looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart”.

Be like God. Be so crazy in love with Him that you can’t help but be free from everything and everyone that tells you that you aren’t good enough to be loved. Don’t be afraid to die for the love. Die to all that holds you back from being the beloved creation of God. The one thing God is after is you. So run to Him, and never let go.

Next Time

In the next post, I hope to talk more about what God has done for us. He is such a good God, even in the bad times. We often forget just how unreligious God can appear. So let’s explore the topic together next time. For now, I would love to hear from you. Has your understanding of the practical nature of the Trinity been expanded? Do you better appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for you? Do you truly know just how free you are? Let me know in the comments below or send me a private message through my Contact Page.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

Deadly Deliverance

In My Sins, God’s Injustice we talked about why God is justified in condemning those who fail to live up to His standard, the Law. We also learned that there is no hope for us to succeed in following His commandments perfectly. So today we will discuss why we don’t have to.

The Covenants

As we discussed before, God has certain requirements for us. These requirements are ultimately rooted in the covenants (or conditional promises) God makes with us. Such as the covenant God made with Adam to not eat from the tree, or with Israel to keep the Law. All of these ultimately failed because we were unable to fulfill our end of the deal.

The God-Man

This is where Jesus comes in. When a person falls short of their side of a deal with God we end up in debt to God. Just like a person who misses a payment on a loan ends up a little bit more in debt. The problem is, our debt is infinite because the God we offend is infinite. As James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10). So we can’t hope to pay Him back.

But, God can. Since God is infinite He could pay back an infinite debt. Especially since the deal is between Himself and humanity as God said: “Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today”. That would be very merciful! But would also compromise His justice. So to be just God must require the debt to be paid by man.

The Hypo-static what!?

This leads us to what the theologians call the hypostatic union. It is a big word to explain who Jesus is. This concept says that Jesus is God who took up human flesh (“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” Colossians 2:9) in order to both be merciful (by paying the debt Himself) and just (by requiring human nature to pay the debt) as Peter teaches, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.

In the same way that we could not write our name without picking up a pencil God “picked up” human nature to allow Himself to pay the debt in the perfect way.

The New Covenant

In light of the act of Christ God said: “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant’ “. God made a covenant of faith, salvation through the free grace of God. Paul writes it in this way “But now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry, since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6).

Next Time

Next week I hope to dive in a little more into the nature of God and Christ. How Christ is able to be fully divine and human without compromising the oneness of God and preserving the justice of our Father. As well as how this covenant of free grace works. In the meantime, I would love to hear questions and comments from you. Is this the first time you have heard of the hypostatic union? Has the concept of how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and how it frees us ever been explained to you? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message through my Contact Page.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

My Sins, God’s Injustice

In last week’s post, Bold Sinners Saved Freely we discovered our inability to live up to God’s requirements, that God has already met the requirements, and finally, that our relationship to God should be one of gratitude to our Savior. Now we will begin exploring those categories in greater detail. Today, we start with our inability to be righteous.

Be Perfect

God requires us to be perfect, “you are to be perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Lev. 19:2). We definitely fail at this (after all, isn’t that why we are here?). As Jeremiah notes “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” and Paul writes “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”.

But God did not make us this way. We did this to ourselves by choosing sin. When Adam and Eve fell from their righteous state, we fell too. No human could ever be born righteous. Now we must be reborn of the Spirit. But that is a topic for later.

The Big Question

This leads to the big question, Isn’t God unjust towards us? We fell because of decisions our ancestors made, we are required to hold to a standard we did not ask for, and He has promised eternal punishment to any who fail. What kind of loving God is that?

The Secret King

I am sure you already expect the answer to be a resounding NO! You would be right. But why? Though it is absolutely true that in the Fall of Adam and Eve humanity became broken, something else, something more subtle happened. Sin became king.

When God’s command was broken in the garden, the Devil gained dominion over the Earth. And when he gained control, we followed Him. Any time we have ever given into a selfish desire or thought badly of others we acknowledged his rule in our life. We became part of the cancer of sin that infected the world. Paul puts it a different way in Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-“.

Adam and Eve started us down the wrong path, but ultimately we made our own decision to fail God’s standard. A standard God had every right to make since He made us. The inventor is certainly allowed to make the owners manual. Since God is of infinite glory and majesty, disobedience to Him demands infinite (that is, eternal) punishment.

Conclusion

But, our all good God did not leave us in this condition. He gave us a way out to freedom, Jesus Christ. In my next post, we will explore the glory and the wonder the person of Jesus brings to us. Until then, I would love to hear from my readers point of view. Did your parents or pastors ever explain the reason behind our need for salvation? Were their explanations different from the one you read today? Feel free to comment below or send me a private message through my Contact Page.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.