Tag Archives: justified

A Strange Thing

In Hosea 8, we read that Ephraim had “multiplied altars for sin” (v. 11). They built altars, but they certainly were not worshiping God as He desired. The altars were “altars of sinning.” Oh how the things that could be useful for good can be used for evil just the same. What a great reminder to tread with caution. Thankfully, God has given us His Word so we know what is desired of us.

This verse translates in the NLT as, “Even though I gave them all My laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.” The ESV translates this as a “strange thing.” Like it’s strange to apply the laws to them, like it’s foreign to them. Sadly, the people of this time period were far from God. They were led away. They were sinful, idolatrous people. It did not matter how many laws there are—they would be seen as foreign nonetheless.

For many people today, God’s Law is a strange thing. People are so far from understanding the Truth, they look at what God commands and see it as strange, difficult, demanding, and even unnecessary. People do not understand the reason for the Law. God blesses us with the Law. The Law is actually all about GRACE. It is through the Law that we realize we are sinners (Romans 3:20, 7:7). As a result, the Law leads us to Jesus Christ so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). Without the Law, we would not recognize our need for Jesus. We would not accept the grace of God. We would not be able to have the relationship for which we were created. To outsiders, the Law is a strange thing. To believers, the Law is a constant reminder that we fall short (Romans 3:23) and that we need a Savior. Knowing that He fulfilled the Law and that through Him we have life and life in abundance is a blessing! Today, remember the not-so-strange thing. More importantly, thank the Lord for His unending grace.

“Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing.” – Hosea 8:12 [ESV]

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More Than a Story: Humility

[Two Men Who Prayed: Luke 18:9-14]

“Be humble or you’ll stumble.” – Dwight L. Moody

  • I am the least of the apostles – 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • I am the very least of all the saints. – Ephesians 3:8
  • I am the foremost of sinners. – 1 Timothy 1:15

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14 [ESV]

Humbles HimselfTapeinoó – humiliate, abase, bring low, humble self

Exaltedhupsoó – raise on high, lift up, set on high

“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23 [HCSB]

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:6 [NIV]

We all fall short / Through Christ alone we are justified (Romans 3:23-24)

“Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.” – Job 9:20 [NASB]

You cannot fake it / God knows your heart

“And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NASB]

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” – John Riskin

Bible Study Questions:

1) What are some of the positive attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

2) What are some of the negative attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

3) How would you describe the Tax Collector who prayed? What were his good points?

4) What gets in the way of your humility?

5) What are some things you can do to help you live a humble life?

6) Luke 18:14 says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV).

What does it mean to be justified?

What does it mean that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled?

What does it mean that one who humbles himself will be exalted?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

I Have Sinned

Everyone sins; everyone falls short (Romans 3:23). That’s the bad news. But the good news is that Christ Jesus has built a bridge over the gap that was created by sin. God is holy and He can’t stand sin—sin is anything against God. So as we sin, we are moving ourselves away from God. The blood of Christ was poured out for each one of us to have a way to be righteous (right with God). Only if we believe in Him are we saved from the sin punishment. Even so, we must continue to repent for our sins and recognize our constant need for Jesus Christ.

When David sinned, he recognized that he sinned against God. When Nathan opened his eyes to this sinful act of adultery and murder, David repented. He changed his mind. He said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” He understood that truth and he recognized his need for forgiveness. Nathan revealed to him that God put away the sin.

God has also put away your sin if you believe in His Son. When you believe in Jesus, there is no longer the sin punishment of death. Instead, you are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are justified. Even so, it is important to repent whenever you are convicted of sin. Give it to God immediately. Recognize your need for His forgiveness. Understand He is the only way. Don’t let anything become a stumbling block in your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” – 2 Samuel 12:13 [ESV]

To Make Us Slaves

Because of Christ we are free. We are free from the bondage of sin. As Galatians 5 states: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” (v. 1 NIV).

Earlier in his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul noted that there were false believers who came to spy on the freedom that they had because they wanted to make them slaves again. They wanted to bring them back into bondage. How could they bring them to bondage? The law.

There is grace. There is law. Because of God’s grace, we do not have to focus on the law. We are justified through Christ. “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God… I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (2:19, 21 NIV).  Don’t allow someone to make you a slave again. Do not set aside the grace of God.

“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” – Galatians 2:4 [NIV]

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He Didn’t Leave

    I have two children and one thing they know is that they can count on me. Throughout the years, I have made it known to them that I’m here for them no matter what happens. The other day, my daughter needed help. She tried to do something on her own and things didn’t work the way she desired. She wasn’t afraid though, because she knew that I had not left her.

    In John 8, the scribes and the Pharisees took an adulterous woman to Jesus. When they attempted to get her condemned and stoned, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7 NASB). One by one, everyone left– everyone but Jesus.

    Jesus was the only one who actually could condemn her. He was the only one that was present that was without sin. Not only did He not condemn her, but He also did not leave her. This is an important reminder to all of us. He does not leave us, even when we are not having a good day. When we fall short, when we make mistakes, when we aren’t so pleasant to be around, He is right there waiting for us with open arms.

    At times we need to show ourselves the grace that God shows us. Too often because society is so quick to condemn us, we follow suit. We fear we won’t be accepted or good enough. Today, show yourself some grace. Don’t be afraid. Seek Jesus– He has not left. Understand that no matter what you have done, He awaits with open arms.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24 [NASB]

Removing the Trash

Today I took a walk and the lake I walk by was frozen. What was interesting was the fact that you could see all the garbage, all the trash that had floated to the top of the lake was all standing out. The first thing you would see was the garbage; it stuck out like a sore thumb. It reminds me of how when we sin, a lot of the times that sticks out like garbage too. When we are Christians, people think we can’t do this and we can’t do that. Even so, Christians aren’t perfect and we slip up here and there. That’s what everyone sees all the time. They always see those slip ups. They always see when you do something wrong– when you let a naughty word slip out of your mouth, when at a moment of weakness you start gossiping, when you get in danger of bragging about something, or when you get jealous. There are so many different things and it’s so easy to fall into sin. I am not making an excuse for it, but we all do it and it sticks out.

The thing is with that trash, it was there before. Some of it you could see and some you could not see. Now that the lake is frozen, you cannot get it out. It’s stuck until the ice melts. It’s a long process for it to melt so we must wait. In the same way, we are a work in progress. When you accept Christ, don’t expect the next day you are not going to be sinning at all and you’re going to be the perfect little thing. Romans 3:23 states that we all fall short. We all sin. We all fall short. That’s not something that anyone can argue. We can pretend, but no one is perfect. Verse 24 states that it is by His grace alone that we are justified.

After we accept Christ and we allow Him to chip away at the things that need fixed in our lives and we allow Him to move in our lives and do wonderful things and we transform and we stick to reading the Word and doing the Word, it ends up that there are not so many things floating on top of the water. Perhaps we all have some things that are frozen on the top right now that we are working on. There is great hope in knowing that God loves us anyway and He is right here with us trying to help us to get all of that stuff fixed in our lives, to repair the brokenness.

God is working in our lives as the ice is slowly melting. He is there right with us. He doesn’t turn His back and say He is done dealing with all of our garbage. He sticks there right with us. It’s a long process. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time. There is no greater time than the present to allow God to help you with the trash in your life. He’s willing to help, it’s just a matter of will you have Him or not. There’s no way to get rid of the trash without God.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24 [NASB]