Tag Archives: Faith

Free Indeed?

…Jesus was, is and always will be the only One who has the power and authority to free us from the eternal consequences of our sin.

And if He does that, we will be free indeed.

(Previous Post)

So how?

Who is Jesus, and how can He set us free from the eternal consequences of our sin? Why does He have that power, and how do we get Him to direct it in our direction?

  1. Jesus is Immanuel – God with us in the form of a man
  2. He can set us free because He is God
  3. He has that power because He is a perfect man who gave His life to pay the price for our sin
  4. We ask Him to

Simple, huh?

Well, yes! The truth of the Christian ‘gospel’ is simple. Jesus came to bring us Good News. Humanity had a problem that it couldn’t fix – a problem that would condemn us all to be separated from our Creator forever. Jesus came to fix that problem, so that everyone would have the opportunity to have their individual, personal relationship with God restored! If there was ever Good News, that is it!

Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy…

To me at least, my car is simple. I jump (OK, ease) into the driver’s seat, turn the key, and zoom (OK, trundle) off into the distance. In order to keep my car going, I need to put petrol (OK, gas) in it every week or so, and avoid driving it into a tree. Do I know how all the cogs, valves, springs and things work together to make my car go? Heck no! If I ever have to look under the bonnet (OK, hood) of my car I studiously avoid all the whirring, clanky things and zero in on the windshield wash fluid thing. That, I can just about cope with. I don’t understand how my car does what it does, but it does it anyway and I trust it.

Do NOT make the mistake of rejecting Jesus and the salvation He offers simply because you don’t understand Him or it!

No 16 year old kid thinks they have to take a car apart, understand everything, and rebuild it before even getting into the driver’s seat. So why do so many of us think that we cannot trust God before understanding everything about Him?

If we are honest with ourselves, we all acknowledge the following as being true:

  1. I am imperfect
  2. I have done things that make me feel guilty
  3. If there IS a place that I can only go to if I am perfect, then I am in trouble
  4. I need help to fix my imperfections and take away my guilt

Biblical Christianity is the only solution. The world is full of religious systems that try and teach us how to reach God (or god/gods/purity/self/the universe/nirvana/the force/the FSM…) through our own efforts. Why don’t people accept that it is impossible for the imperfect to make itself perfect?

Pride.

Like I said – simple doesn’t mean easy.

Asking Jesus to save us has to involve an acceptance of the problem. I am broken, and I cannot fix myself. Dear God, please do it for me. I know that I am not good enough to be in Your presence, and to be honest I am so selfish and prideful that I don’t even think I want to be in Your presence. But I’m scared, lonely, and I want to want to be with You. I have heard about Jesus – about how He somehow has made it possible for You to forgive me for being so horrible in so many ways. I try to be good, and sometimes I do good things, but I know it’s not enough to make up for that time when I….

God, please save me. Jesus, thank You for doing what I could never do. I don’t understand You or what You did, but Your Word is enough for me right now. I have no other plea.

Just as I am,–without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am,–and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, Whose Blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am,–though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am,–poor, wretched, blind–
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am,–Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am–Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come.

We don’t have to understand everything. Truth is, no one understands everything. Jesus does it all, including the understanding, for us. But after we have stopped rejecting God’s loving advances and allowed Him to fill our hearts with His grace. mercy, forgiveness and Spirit, we can then slowly begin to look under the hood of our salvation. With righteous fear and trembling, we look at all the cogs and valves and springs and things, and start to get an awed appreciation of who God is, what He has done, and what it all really means for us.

Don’t wait until you know what happens when you turn the key. Just turn the key.

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Whom Should We Fear?

For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: Do not call everything an alliance these people say is an alliance. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the LORD of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe.

(Isaiah 8:11-13)

It is always essential to at least try to understand the context of a verse of the Bible before blithely applying it in any which way. However even when some verses have a very clear primary historical context, it is often still reasonable to apply some if not all of the concepts in a contemporary way as well. Many Biblical principles are introduced to us through historical narrative, and the fact that they are being applied to a specific situation does not mean that they are not generally applicable as well. So what have we got in these three verses that I read in Isaiah this morning?

We have God talking to His prophet Isaiah about how he should deal with what he sees happening to the people all around him. The Israelite people of the Kingdom of Judah are afraid they are going to get severely thumped by the allied armies of Israel and Syria, and their King Ahaz is stubbornly trusting in his own alliance with the Assyrians to protect them rather than trusting in God. So God tells His faithful prophet Isaiah to keep trusting in God’s wisdom rather than blindly follow the direction that the rest of the people are taking.

The first thing that struck me is that God spoke to Isaiah withe great power. Basically, whenever God whispers – we should listen with all our might. What, then, ought we do when God jumps up and down and roars at us? As a Christian, I know that God is right and that (in comparison) everyone else around me is wrong. I know that – but I still often listen to others more than I listen to God! I must be crazy.

As I look around this country I live in, I see turmoil everywhere. Regardless of political or religious belief, it seems that nearly everyone is looking to a Barack Obama or a Ron Paul or a Rick Warren or a Joel ‘Oprah’ Osteen to tell them what is going on and what to do about it. Christian or not, it sadly seems as if we are all placing our hope in the wisdom of certain leaders within our society. Perhaps Christians think that they are trusting God through certain political or church elite. They have faith that the person they have faith in has faith in God.

Well it’s time for us to cut out the middle (wo)man and return to a direct, abiding, personal faith in God Himself. Great and terrible things are going to be happening closer and closer to home here in America. The world at large is reeling from shock after shock, and America is slowly waking up to the fact that these things that are happening MEAN something. 9/11 was devastating, but compared to the natural disasters that are steadily increasing in impact and strength the loss of life it caused was minimal. The Middle East is in even more upheaval than usual, and don’t expect that to settle down anytime soon. One world leader says one thing, and another says another. Some start agreeing with each other for a while, and we all get excited that problems are going to be solved and the stock markets will continue climbing. And then another brick gets thrown through our worldview window, and we get all scared again.

Stop it. If we are Christians, we need to start thinking, speaking and behaving like Christ. Do not fear what the world fears. Pay no attention to who is allied with who. Do not tremble at what is happening. Gaze at God, and His awesome holiness will fill you with worthwhile fear. And when we Christians start to give God the respect, attention and awe that He deserves and demands, we will suddenly find that we have peace within, even as the world falls apart without.

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