RSS

Category Archives: God is good

Lead to Repentance

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:3-4)

Here, Paul is warning the Romans against hypocracy but he’s also reminding them that being a Christian isn’t a “licence to sin”. As he will dress in more detail around chapters 5-6.

First, we must realize what being a Christian doesn’t mean. Being a Christian does not automatically entitle us to the ability to sin without consequence. As Paul puts it (in Romans chapter 6), we have died to the sin nature and even more importantly, we now live in Christ. Yes God is kind, and yes he is patient (more so than either of us can imagine). But God’s kindness does not mean we can “cash in” on it and run around sinning!

Second, we have to realize what being a Christian does mean. Being a Christian means being perfect. Being a Christian means we must live our whole entire lives perfectly, without sin. – Read Matthew 5:48 – Which is utterly impossible to do. – Being a Christian means that we realize we can not be what God wants us to be, and we, therefore, need to have faith in Jesus’ perfection on our behalf.

Third, we must understand what God’s kindness is. The purpose of God’s kindness is not to give us the ability to “sin freely”, but instead to lead us to repentance. But what exactly is God’s kindness? – Quite literally, the embodiment of God’s kindness (and in fact of God himself) is Jesus Christ. How is that? Because God’s kindness is perfectly demonstrated for us when Jesus died on the cross for us. Christ’s doing that wasn’t meant to let us sin and feel there was no consequence to it, it was to bring us to repentance for what we have done!

And that, right there, is the whole point of this post. – God gave his only son to die for us so that we could be forgiven. And that is, I believe, what Paul was getting at as well.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Incurable Disease

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant. Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you. (Jeremiah 30:12-15)

I can never be cured, I’m going to be stuck with it for life. Our guilt is to great, our might to weak, our flesh to overpowering. There’s not even any use in crying over it, we’re stuck with this incurable disease of the flesh for life.

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

I’m cured! The incurable disease has been cured, now I weep for joy; I’m stuck with this Spirit of Joy for life. – Now my flesh is dead, not by my hand, but by the might of God. My guilt has been washed away in the torrent of his love for me; Jesus himself, died to give me new life! No longer am I under the control of a merciless foe, but instead my life is lived anew in the shelter of the rock of my salvation.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Everlasting Reproach; Perpetual Shame; Perfect Memory

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.'” (Jeremiah 23:40)

If you look a little further back you’ll find that the reason for this was that all the other prophets in Jeremiah’s time were prophesying falsely, “shepherds” were leading God’s “sheep” away, and people were stubbornly following ‘their own path.’ and God basically said ‘I’ve had enough.’ So in that light, does that mean everyone who is stubborn will always be remembered for that, have reproached for it continually, and end up with everlasting shame? Well let’s see how Paul addresses this:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? (1 Corinthians 5:1-2)

A man commits incest, and then brags about it possibly leading to other’s falling astray, if that’s not following your own path instead of God’s I don’t know what is. Granted he did it out of ignorance, he didn’t know according to Paul’s letters up to this point that it was wrong. Even so, even if you’re an immoral wretch (pagan, etc) one would think you would know that was wrong. Anyway, Paul addresses this matter as God addressed it in Jeremiah, reproach him, put him to shame (by putting him out of the church), and remember it always. Right?

5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. (2 Corinthians 2:5-8)

It seems to me like Paul is perhaps treating this case differently then God did, at first he said the man was to be reproached, and put out, but it seems he has forgotten the last step; to always remember and never forgive what has happened. Why would Paul, of all people, forget such a basic step as remembering the sin. For that matter, he broke the first two steps as well! He didn’t add the “everlasting” bit or the “perpetual” bit, what’s going on here? Could it be perhaps, that between Jeremiah’s time, and the time Paul wrote this letter that something drastic had changed in his life?

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What reproach is left for us? What shame wasn’t put onto Jesus at the cross? Christ’s becoming sin (for us) will be remembered for all time, yet because of the same act, my sins have already been washed away in his blood. – I suggest you quickly read Romans 6 at this point – There is simply nothing left for us, but the everlasting, perpetual, and perfect love of God our heavenly father.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The First and Last Adams

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:7-8)

And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:9-10)

Grab your popcorn, because I predict the second big bang is about to happen. In which the Earth will be utterly obliterated! … Why are we not all dead, that’s my question. Anyway you look at it, we, as a planet, have done evil in God’s sight. Could it be that God is simply looking the other way? What’s going on here?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Ah, that would explain why we aren’t little bits floating around in space. But how is it that one man dying on a cross, could possibly save the entire world, half (or more) of which isn’t even sure he ever existed.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.  (1 Corinthians 15:45-47)

Conclusion? By one man sin was brought into this world, and by one man sin was taken out of it. – Christ became sin for us; in this way he took on the sin of the world and saved us.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGCISQQ7Zo

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sins Of the Father Passed Down To the Son?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?’ then you shall say to them: ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, (Jeremiah 16:10-11)

Because my dad was at one point “bad” as we all were, that automatically means I’m going to do everything bad my dad ever did in life plus whatever else I’ve already done or will do? Well if that’s the case, I’m also going to copy the sins of my grandparents, great grandparents etc… And if that’s the case, it means, all in all, I’m a hopeless wretch, you’re a hopeless wretch, and we’re all going to hell because at one point our great, great, great-grandfather did something he shouldn’t have.

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, (Galatians 3:23-26)

Ah, so now we’re children of God and not men, but how does that figure? How did we get there, what is this “faith that has come”? And while I’m at it, don’t I still have my own sins to contend with?

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

Conclusion? The sins of the father are passed down to the son! But because our father is perfect, the opposite is true: The glory and forgiveness of the father are passed down to the son.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Great Physician

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? (Jeremiah 8:20-22)

We were wounded, sin had left its crimson stain, but Jesus washed us white as snow. In the old testament; in the old law, we are searching for someone to save us, a “physician” or “balm”… And that’s the way it will always be if we think we can somehow stitch our-self back together, despite the fact that we’re actually dead the whole time and therefore have no control over anything we do.

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

The only way we can ever be whole again is if we don’t “do the stitching”. All we have to do is ask and God, the Great Physician, will stitch us back together again. We “have” both the balm (of the Gospel) and the Great Physician, but we need our eyes opened for us by God’s grace to see that we actually “have” them.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7QQGPv1Ikc

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God’s Wrath; God’s Way; and Back To Wrath

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. “Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. (Jeremiah 6:11)

God’s Wrath (above)

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)

God’s Rejected Way (above)

Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. (Jeremiah 6:18-19)

And back to God’s wrath. Why? Because the law is life, (right?) and they didn’t obey. Speaking of which, I’ve “rejected the law” in a sense because I have no ability to obey it. So why hasn’t this same fate befallen me? After all, I’m deserving of God’s wrath, as are you. So, why hasn’t God burned me up yet?

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:25)

Well If I’m no longer “under supervision”, why not simply go and have a party in the world? … After all, God won’t give me the same fate as the fellas above. What does God expect me to do if I don’t have restrictions; start taking drugs and drinking? Well, obviously that can’t be it because of Romans 6, but what does God want me to do? I feel useless just sitting around.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

So, once again, all I have to do is let Jesus do it.

So in summary:

we no longer have to fear God’s wrath being poured down on us, because Jesus took it for us when he fulfilled the law. And, because Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, I no longer am “supervised” or controlled by the law, but instead by Jesus.

Which in turn all means just one thing: though I did nothing to earn my salvation, in fact though I did the opposite of trying to earn it, Jesus still saved me and you!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: