"If you look for Me wholeheartedly,
you will find Me."
Regardless of what any church leader, pastor, or anyone else says... your final authority should be: "What does the Bible say?"
Paul taught that some things he was teaching are hard to understand, "which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Pet 3:16
The Apostle Paul also warned that in the last days, not every minister would be teaching the truth of God's Word. "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Tim 4:3-4
"I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Col 2:4
"The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress."
- Psalm 46:7
JULY 31, 2021
TODAYS BIBLE READING:
Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes
THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. ~Psalm 51:10
TODAY'S WORSHIP SONG:
In Christ Alone
Why can't God just overlook our sins? Because then He wouldn't be fair and just, if He overlooked some sins and not others. Why can't He just punish us for every sin, as we deserve? Because then He wouldn't be a God of love, mercy, and grace. Also, if He punished every sin, none of us would still be here. So, what is the solution to God's Divine Dilemma: how to satisfy His own righteousness and its demands against sinful people, and at the same time how to demonstrate His love, mercy, and grace to restore rebellious, alienated humanity to Himself? The sacrifice of the Innocent Lamb, His perfect Son, came in humanity to pay the price. There was no other way. Cliff Barrows, song leader of the Billy Graham Crusade ministry, tells a story about his children when they were younger. They had done something that he had forbidden them to do. They were told if they did the same thing again they would have to be disciplined. When he returned from work, they had done what was forbidden, but his heart went out to them, and he said, "I just couldn't discipline them" We can all see and understand Cliff's dilemma, like God's Divine Dilemma. He called his two small children in the room, took off his belt, and then his own shirt. With his bare back he knelt down at the bed. He made them both strap him with the belt ten times each. The children cried terribly; they didn't want to do it. But he told them the penalty had to be paid and so through their sobs and tears they did what he told them to do. He concluded by saying, " I smile when I remember the incident", he said. "I must admit I wasn't much of a hero. It hurt. I haven't offered to do that again. It was a once-for-all sacrifice, I guess we could say, but I never had to spank those two children again, because they got the point. We kissed each other. And when it was over we prayed together."
An important term to understand is justification. Justification is the act of God whereby He declares a sinner righteous by faith on the merits of Christ's sacrifice. Some miss this point stating it is just as if I'd never sinned, by using the syllables (just-if-ied"). But that is too shallow and doesn't say enough, because though we are terribly sinful, He declares us righteous, not just as if we'd never been sinful. We read in Romans 3:21-26, about justification, "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." This is a powerful portion of Scripture and worth reading over a few times slowly. If some of the words you don't understand, such as propitiation, redemption, etc; please take the time to look them up, it will be worth it for you. In a much more condensed version, we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Was this solution foretold? Yes!! We read in Isaiah 53:5-6, "But He was wounded for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah wrote this around 700 years before they were fulfilled through Jesus. The point of justification, or our righteous standing before God, is that it is available to everyone. It is based on what Jesus did, not by what we do. We could never be good enough to deserve such a gift. The reason Paul begins the book of Romans with condemnation is to make sure everyone reading this knows that this gift is unmerited. Yet, most believe they are heaven-bound because of their goodness. We can't come to Him unless, with a repentant heart we come to Him broken, realizing the impossibility of the Divine Dilemma outside of God's provision. Once we realize this, resting on His grace and mercy through faith, and only after this, can we accept the provision of Jesus Christ's sacrifice as payment for our sins? May we meditate on this and realize the awesomeness of our God.
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