“This Could Be Cancer”

While I have never really been one for making New Year’s Resolutions, God revealed some issues to me over the course of last year that I wanted to address in 2012.  I wanted to make this the year we made better use of our finances, getting rid of debt that kept us from using God’s money right.  I wanted to be a better spiritual leader in our home, getting back to nightly devotions and modeling Christ-likeness to my family.  I wanted to grow more in my walk, not just doing work for work’s sake, but to concentrate my efforts and be more effective in my worship of my Lord and Savior.  So when January 1, 2012 rolled around, that was how I wanted to start the year off.  That lasted about a week, when a curve ball I never saw coming hit me square between the eyes.

On January 4, 2012, I had to do my annual physical for work.  Blood tests, x-rays, hearing exam, the works.  Now for the previous twelve years, all I ever heard bad was, “lower your cholesterol.”  Hey, I like food, this is annual argument we have.  But on January 6, 2012, I got news I had never heard before.  Hilar andenopathy.  That’s what my x-ray showed.  In plain speak, what that meant that lymph nodes (you know those things that swell up when you get sick) in my lungs were enlarged.  What followed were two CT scans, an HIV test, a pulmonary functions test, and PET scan (they shoot radioactive sugar in and make you lie real still while they CT scan you for 30 minutes) and, ultimately, a surgical biopsy.  For two months of my life, this was a nerve wracking series of events.

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The Great Exchange.

Life is filled with unanswered questions. The most troubling of which are questions surrounding the afterlife. For example: What happens to us after we die? Who will find themselves in Hell? How does someone get to Heaven?

We hear many opinions about these mysteries from family, friends, co-workers, churches, religious leaders, psychics, and even television talk show hosts. But the one issue that needs to be dealt with before we die is the one problem that people rarely—if ever—mention. It’s the dilemma they cannot account for, remedy or fix, yet it is the one thing that will determine where each and every one of us will spend eternity. This problem that I am speaking of is sin.

We all do it.

Every person who has ever lived or is living now has sinned (Romans 3:9, 3:23), and as long as we live we continue to indulge in sin (Genesis 6:5). None of us are free of sin (1 John 1:8), and God will judge us for every one of our sins, including the secret ones we thought were hidden (1 Samuel 16:7, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Romans 2:16, Romans 8:27).

Sin results in two deaths.

The sin that we inherited from Adam and the sin we willingly commit every day will result in our physical death (Romans 5:12-17, 6:23), but of greater peril than our physical death is that our sin will result in what’s called the “second death” (Revelation 21:8). This “second death” is better known as Hell, a very real and horrifying place consisting of eternal punishment, darkness, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and an unquenchable fire (Matthew 8:12, Luke 3:17, Jude 7).

Our common denial.

We are all guilty before God, condemned by a lifetime of accumulated sin, but some people aren’t convinced that they’re sinners until they face these four questions:

- 1) Have you ever told a lie, even a little white lie? (Proverbs 6:16-17, Revelation 21:8)

- 2) Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you? (Leviticus 19:11)

- 3) Have you ever lusted after someone? (Matthew 5:27-28)

- 4) Have you ever used God’s name in vain? (Exodus 20:7)

If you answered “Yes” to these four questions then you’ve admitted to being a lying, thieving, adulterous blasphemer. On the great and dreadful day of God’s final judgment, will you be found guilty or innocent? Based on God’s standards (not ours), the answer is obvious: you, like the rest of mankind, will stand condemned.

We’re already under God’s judgment.

Contrary to popular opinion, we do not have to wait until the day of God’s judgment to find out whether or not we’re in right standing with God. It’s not a question of if upon your death you’ll be condemned to God’s eternal, fierce, and terrifying judgment; it’s already your current condition. Because we’ve all sinned, we are already under His judgment and consigned to His wrath (John 3:18, 3:36).

Our obedience and good works are useless.

If you try to pay your sin-debt to God and earn His favor by being a good person and following the Law, then you must follow all of God’s Laws perfectly your entire life without ever failing in one area or you’ll be charged with breaking all of His Laws (Galatians 3:10, James 2:10). If you’ve already sinned in your life—even once—then perfect obedience to the Law for salvation is not even an option for you.

Not only are you under a curse if you sin in just one area of the Law, but you’re incapable of completely obeying the Law even if you wanted to (Romans 8:6-8). And—as if it couldn’t get any worse—the Bible tells us that those who try to earn their salvation by following the Law have fallen from grace and are cut off from Christ (Galatians 5:4).

God expects absolute moral perfection.

Not only does God require us to be holy (Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16), but Jesus said that our righteousness must surpasses that of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20) and we must be perfect just as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

God cannot forgive you and still remain holy.

God cannot simply forgive us of our sin without becoming an abomination unto Himself (Proverbs 17:15, 18:5, 24:24). It would be unjust and corrupt of Him to merely overlook our sin-debt just as it would be for an earthly judge to overlook the transgressions of a criminal in his courtroom. We shouldn’t expect God to forgive our offense to Him any more than we should expect an earthly judge to simply forgive the man who was guilty of murder. If the court judge let the criminal go free because he’s a tolerant, forgiving, and loving judge, then that judge would be as wicked as the murderer who committed the crime. Such a pardon would be the epitome of corruption and injustice, yet this is exactly what most people expect God will do for them when they stand before Him on Judgment Day.

God cannot simply ignore your sin and still remain a righteous and just Judge because justice demands that punishment be carried out. Based on the moral standard required of our holy, perfect, and righteous final Judge, you and I must be eternally punished under God’s relentless, unmitigated wrath because we have sinned against an eternal and infinitely holy God.

What hope is there?

So, what hope is there? How can we be forgiven for our multitude of sins that require punishment? How can God justify the sinner and still remain just (Romans 3:26)?

But God . . .

But God, our Judge, being merciful and because of His great love toward us (even while we were still sinners and dead in our transgressions), provided the means of salvation by brutally sacrificing His own Son so that we may be forgiven and reconciled to Him (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4).

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). The only way for us to be forgiven of our transgressions is for someone to die in our place (a propitiatory substitute) in order to bear the wrath of God that our sins justly deserve. Only a sinless sacrifice could redeem us and bridge the gap between a holy and righteous God and a depraved and sinful people. The sacrifice had to be fully human and fully God in order to qualify to be an adequate mediator to reconcile us to God.

God crushed His own Son (Isaiah 53:10) as He placed our sins upon Him (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus bore our sins on the cross (Psalm 22:16, Isaiah 53:12, 1 Peter 2:24), and He redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).The Father placed the wretched, filthy, and vile sins of His people upon His beloved, sinless Son so that Jesus would become sin on our behalf (our substitute) while simultaneously giving (imputing) Christ’s righteousness to us (Romans 4:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9). Jesus Christ not only paid our insurmountable debt of sin with His own life (a debt we could never pay), but He also credited His own perfect righteousness to our account—the very righteousness that God requires of us but that we could never obtain on our own. This judicial transfer or great exchange meets the requirements of God’s Law and satisfies the demands of God’s justice.

Jesus Christ is the one and only means God provided to reconcile us to Himself. The Son is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and salvation is found in no one but Jesus (Acts 4:12). No matter how “good” we think we are or how hard we strive to follow God’s Laws, no one (not even you or me) is justified by the Law (Galatians 2:16, 3:11) but by faith in Christ alone because, if righteousness could be obtained by following the Law, then Jesus Christ died needlessly (Galatians 2:21).

Once upon a cross . . .

Either Jesus paid for your sins and absorbed God’s wrath for you by His substitutionary death on the cross, and conversely His righteousness has been merited to you, or you will pay for your own sins and endure God’s unrelenting wrath for eternity in Hell. God declares that we should repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world (Acts 17:30-31). It will be a terrifying­­­­ day for you (Proverbs 21:15, Hebrews 10:31) if you haven’t repented (Luke 13:3) and believed/trusted (Mark 1:15) in Christ alone as your perfect sacrificial substitute, Savior, and Lord.

Oh anathema, my anathema.

How many anathemas are you under?

Mark, from Here I Blog, decided to count his:

“I decided to count the number of anathemas that I am under from the 33 canons on justification. My count is 23 anathemas as I understand the canons. I tried to consider any nuances. Keep in mind that this is only 1 of 25 sessions of Trent.”

Read his post and see how many anathemas Romanism has you under here.


What does the Bible say about OMG?

The following is from Growing 4 Life:

“I was sitting at a sporting event, when the lovely, Christian lady beside me shouted, “Oh, my God!” as her child made a mistake.  I cringed inside.  And then I wondered, “does she know?”  Does she know that the Bible tells us not to use God’s name in vain? And honestly, this is not unusual.  I hear Christians do this all of the time.  Many are wonderful people who obviously love the Lord.  Is it because we just don’t hear this called sin anymore?  Are we so hardened to the use of His name due to the company we keep and the entertainment that we fill our minds with, that we just didn’t notice when we started doing it, too?”

You can read the whole piece here.

Sermon of the Week: “The Bible’s View on Missions – Part 3″ by Akash Sant Singh

We are pleased to offer the third of a series of messages on biblical missions from Pastor Akash Sant Singh, pastor of Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. As a missionary to West Africa, this sermon has spoken to my heart and it will be a blessing to you as well.

It is important to remember that every true believer is actually called to be on a mission for the Most High Sovereign Creator of heaven and earth. May Christ be exalted through the proclamation of His word and to each listening ear.

Church description – “The Bible’s view on missions – part 3 a Sunday school message by Pastor Akash – 1. God is self-centered – 2. God displays His glory through our sin – 3. The church is the goal – 4. The church is missionary – 5. We display God’s glory in everything we do.”

The Bible’s View of Missions – Part 3