Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:4-17)'
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Is it so important that Jesus became a human? This is a question that has been asked within Christendom for centuries as many have struggled with the concept of Jesus being both fully God and fully man. For some, trying to understand this union was too difficult, and it was far easier to simply dismiss the notion that Jesus was human in the first place.
However, the fact that Jesus became human is as equally important as the fact that he was God. For if Christ was not incarnate, having not taken on human flesh, then he would not have been able to rescue humanity from its sins nor, consequently, been able to reconcile humanity with God. Yet, this is exactly what he was called to do. The apostle Paul states "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).
Christ came to rescue a humanity which was under indictment by the law of God because of sin. Sin which, having been inherited from one man – our father Adam –marred all with a sinful nature so that are guilty of transgressing against God (Roman 5:12). Yet, since sin was brought into this world by a man, it had to be removed by a man and only a perfect man born under the law could perfectly keep and fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from the guilt. Thus Christ came in the flesh and under the law, in order to fulfill the requirements of the law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17).
This leads us to another reason as to why Jesus had to be fully human. It was necessary for the Saviour to shed His blood for the remission of sins, as Hebrews 9:22b reminds us "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."A blood sacrifice, of course, requires a body of flesh and blood. If Christ had solely been a spiritual being—and not fully man—He would not have had any blood to spill, and thus we could not have been truly cleansed from our sins as there would be nothing to satisfy the requirements. However, Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His human life and shed His human blood to cover the sins of all who would ever believe in Him.
Furthermore, because Christ was fully human, we are reminded that we can relate with Him and He with us. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials that we face. He was tempted; He was persecuted; He was deprived; He was despised; and He suffered great physical pain. Subsequently, He is able to sympathise with us. As Hebrews 4:15 puts it "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin". Only a human could sympathise with our weaknesses and temptations, as only a human can experience these things.
Believing that Christ was fully human is a foundation of the Christian faith. The apostle John states in 1 John 4:2-3 and 2 John 7 that to reject this is to reject Christianity in its entirety. Denying the incarnation of Christ is to effectively undermine the ability to Christ to redeem humanity. If Christ was not human, it means he could not really die, and this would mean that that cross is worthless.
Because the Son of God became human, and if we have our faith in Him, we are now redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus became fully man so that we may be fully saved. Now that is something worth celebrating!
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Thursday, December 3, 2015
If you are called by God then God renews and powerfully determines your will so that you are willing and able to freely answer his call to be a Christian. Instead of rejecting God grace, you accept and embrace it.
Why do you need a renewed will? The Bible is clear that before God calls you, you can only reject God's message – the good news about Christ falls on deaf ears – in fact, spiritually 'dead' ears. But when God effectually calls you to belong to him, then he gives you a new will that does respond to his message.
The prophet Ezekiel speaks of this change in your will as being like a heart transplant. God says: 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws' (Ezekiel 36:24-27).
Meanwhile the prophet Moses describes this change in your will as being like a circumcision of the heart. In Deuteronomy we read: 'The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live' (Deuteronomy 30:6).
The apostle Paul reiterates this truth about the circumcision of the heart in the epistle he wrote to the Roman Church: '…circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God' (Romans 2:29).
Both of these images of heart transplants and circumcision demonstrate that, when God calls you, something radical takes place inside. You become a different person and are attracted to the God that you previously repelled. Instead of wanting to disobey God's word, you begin to love the Lord and follow his decrees and laws.
Thus the apostle Paul can tell Christians that God is doing a powerful work within them: 'Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose' (Philippians 2:12-13).
Paul calls Christians to do work for the Lord. But he understands that if they do good work, it is purely because the Lord has worked in them to will and act accordingly.
Do you want a renewed will so you can be willing to answer God's call to be saved from your sins? Beg the Lord to renew your will today.