All Hail the Sinner

Last time in God Gave Us Debt and Taxes we talked about how God’s creative work continues to bless us today in our daily life. Today we cover the second part of the Apostle’s Creed covering Redemption. The second part of the creed is:

And [I believe] in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

This is the longest section of the creed, but also the most wonderful.

The Pain of Love

The first portion of this section covers the belief that Jesus is also the God Who created us.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority

Colossians 1:16, 2:9-10 NASB

The very God that created us, came and paid the penalty for our sins. What great love this should work in our hearts for Him. That He Who needs nothing, gave everything just to be with us. Yet, how often do we feel we have not been given enough?

What is Certain

Taxes

There was a man who, after attending church and hearing a sermon on greed could not sleep. For a week he had restless nights worried by what he had heard. So one night he wrote a letter to the IRS saying, “I have been unable to sleep for the last week knowing that I had cheated on my income tax. Please find enclosed a check for $200”. Beneath his signature was written, “P.S. If I am still unable to sleep, I will send the rest.”

Death

They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Apparently, for the man in our story, taxes were semi-optional. Christians tend to add a third thing to that list though, guilt. If you listen to most Christians today you would think that you are an unsaved heathen if you do not writhe in guilt for one hour every day (three on Sundays).

Also, you can’t just have any kind of guilt. It must be Christian guilt. Don’t worry about your sins. Jesus has taken care of them. But don’t you dare miss the church potluck, or skip that Christian band playing downtown on Tuesday evening. But worst of all, do not, under any circumstance say “No” to the little old lady at church asking you to volunteer to hand out bulletins, vacuum the floor after service, and change the light bulb in the light fixture on the highest point of the fifty-foot sanctuary ceiling. God just can’t tolerate that.

Freedom in Death

Those are lies straight from the pit of hell. The next time someone tells you anything like that, look them straight in the eye and say, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

Jesus died for you. You do not have to live a certain lifestyle to get His blessing. He took care of that for you. It is done. In your baptism, you died with Him and now He lives in you.

Crown the Sinner King

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus was made sin on our behalf to die on the cross and save our poor wretched souls. But it did not end there. God raised Him up to reign forever:

But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.

I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

Psalm 2:6-7 NASB

Jesus is King! Not in the future, at some distant day of rapture, but today and now. He reigns, He rules, He governs everything. So don’t be afraid. You are a member of His kingdom. He has brought you into His fold and He will never send you away (John 10:28).

Not only do you belong to Him, but He belongs to you. You can never cry out and not be heard by your Savior. He will always come to you. It may not be how you expect and He may not do what you want. However, He will be there all the same.

So rest in the arms of the Lord. Trust in Him and ignore those silly guilt-laden Christians. The Lord loves them too and He will save them in spite of their misguided attempts to help.

Next Time

I hope this post will help many of you out there to get past some of the lies well-meaning Christians have been spreading. In the last post, we covered what God has done in His creation. Today we covered what He is doing for His people. Next time we will cover the work God still has to do. But for now, I would love to hear from you. Has this post been helpful to you? Have you been encouraged not to give up on God? Feel free to 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.

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God Gave Us Debt and Taxes

Last week in God is Rich Because He Has Nothing we discovered that God has given us forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation freely. But what good does that do us today? It doesn’t pay our bills and it does not help us get a more comfortable lifestyle. So what good does God do for us here and now?

The Creed

Last time I said we would start going over the Apostle’s Creed. Today we are going to look at the first of the three sections:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth

It is short, sweet, and to the point. But there is a lot more to it than just another debate on the origins of the universe.

Debt & Taxes

There was once a woman in court because she had failed to pay her debts. Over time she had racked up thousands of dollars on various credit cards. The judge, surprised by how extensive the debt was, asked the woman “Can’t you live within your means?”. The woman, in all seriousness, replied, “No your honor. In fact, it is all I can do to live within my credit”.

Isn’t that the way? Every day there is a letter from someone wanting money for some service. When there isn’t, the government is knocking at our doors for their ‘fair share’. It seems like no matter how hard we try there is never enough to go around.

But that is not how God wants it to be.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.

Psalm 104:14-15 (NASB)

We Believe

You see, when we confess that we believe that God created everything, it goes much further. We profess that God also sustains His creation with everything they need. He gives us our clothes, food, and drink (Gen. 3:21, Deut. 10:18). He gives us a home to live in (Ps. 68:6) and most of all a family (Pr. 18:22, Ps. 127:3).

What is more, we believe He does this freely out of His own goodness, not based on our performance (Acts 14:16-17). Have you ever been told that if you aren’t good enough you will not be blessed by God? There is a kernel of truth to that but it is often carried too far. God does not remove the basic blessings of life as a punishment for not being perfect. This is the teaching of Jesus: “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45)

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NASB)

Contentment

Now, this is the part where I am supposed to tell you not to be like the woman in the story above and live within your means. I am not going to tell you that though. I am going to say, live without your means.

That’s right, if you are hungry, give your food to someone who is even more hungry. Are you tired? Give rest to someone who is even more tired than you. God does not give us the blessings of this life so that we can be comfortable. He gives them so that we can be a blessing to others. By so blessing others we will receive the blessing, “Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.” (Ecc. 11:1)

Paul learned to be content, not because he learned to do without (an important lesson in itself), but because he learned our goal is not to accumulate blessing to have enough, it is to give away blessing to have a superabundance (Prov. 11:25).

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

Philippians 4:11-14 (NASB)

Believe You are a Blessing

So look around you and see the blessings God has given you. Then go out and be a blessing to others. If you can’t see the blessings you have (go find a homeless person and they will point them out to you) but also go to church and swear. Show those stuffed shirts your freedom in Christ! If that is not a blessing, nothing is.

Next Time

Today we learned just how good God is to His creatures in this life. Next time we will go more into our freedom in Christ in the second part of the Apostle’s Creed. For now, I would love to hear from you. Have you lived believing God will smite you if you put one toe out of line? Do you have the guts to swear in church? Has this helped you in any way? Feel free to comment down 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.