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The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough When We Sin?

January 23, 2019 3 comments

God has never forced us to sin. To our shame, we sin willingly and gladly. If the truth were known, there’s a part of us that quietly loves depravity. We may hate its consequences, but if left to our own devices we gravitate away from God. All of us have been smitten with the sin virus (Romans 6:6); it is, so to speak, lurking in our blood, continually spawning its foul children (sins) (Romans 5:12).

The awful problem with sin, however, is that it brings separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). God is holy and because He is holy, He hates sins and hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). It may seem like a foreign concept to our ears to associate ‘hatred’ with the God of love but before objecting to this picture, let me warn against the subtle sin of idolatry.

Idolatry?

Yes, idolatry! When we reject God’s self-declaration and substitute Him for the God we’d like Him to be, we have become idolaters (see Romans 1:21,25). Much as we would like God to be simply the God of love who is never angry at sin or sinners, we must not project this false picture onto Him.

Here’s a word of warning that comes from antiquity; “If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you dislike, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself” (Augustine).

God refuses to fit our concept of who we want Him to be, … in fact, He won’t even try. He’s got better things to do! As for us, the best thing we can do is bow before, worship and enjoy Him as He is and for who He is.

God is Holy, and we are not. This knowledge is where false religion finds a natural breeding ground as it germinates in the fears and guilt of sinful man. We really are laughable; we cannot create ourselves but think that by practicing some religion or other, we can save ourselves. Yet, no matter how involved we become in our religion, no matter how zealous we are, we are impotent to stop the tendency towards sinning … and sins separate us from God.

Religion cannot remove the virus of sin. Although for the follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will limit and restrain the production of sins, we remain sinners until the day we die. Remember this, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

The good news for sinners (us), however, is that God is not only holy, He is also just. But how is this Good News? I can take some comfort knowing that He is loving, but surely there is no comfort in knowing that, in His unswerving justice, He will punish us and our sins?  A just God will surely mete out punishment. This is far from good news. So then, how can God be just, and yet save me a ruined sinner?

Which brings us back to the Gospel, the best news, the old news and the ever-new news—Jesus!

Only in Jesus is God discovered to be both loving and just. Between the all-holy God and sin-filled believer, there stands the remarkable sinless person of the God/Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is enough for both the sinner, and the Father. God punished our sins on Him, the beloved son (Isaiah 53:10). In grace, He became accountable for us and poured out His blood for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7).

Jesus, the Lord of glory, became a surety (Hebrews7:22) and substitute for His people (1 Peter 2:24). He took our place in his doing, dying and rising again.  He then ascended to the right hand of the Father (the place of cosmic authority) for us. And now, because of Jesus and His accomplishments, not only love but also justice endorses our acquittal.

Jesus is Enough.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 2

It is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is, everything we do is flawed! But does that matter? It certainly does if we are relying on our religious rituals to get us to Heaven. However, if we are relying exclusively on Jesus, His person and performance, then we are already saved. We have no need to work to gain something from God. Christ’s perfections and righteousness have now delivered and set us free to enjoy Him. If we truly believe that Jesus is enough, then we must accept that we have been brought out from the dreary treadmill of religious performance. Now, as those who have been delivered from the tyranny of having to impress God with our works, we find that there is life abundant in the Gospel.

Will everything we do for Jesus from this time onwards be perfect? It’s exceedingly doubtful (Jeremiah 17:9). Will those around us who are following Jesus do everything correctly? It’s not likely! If this were continually remembered, then there would be fewer fussings and fightings among the followers of Jesus. Disappointments would diminish, and disillusion would disappear. So many have broken off fellowship and gone out on their own because another flawed, imperfect Christian, just like them, hurt them. Or maybe it was the Pastor! He ran off with the piano player! So let’s all quit! Wait a minute, is Jesus not enough for us? He didn’t hurt us or for that matter run off with anyone. He is faithful, loyal and genuine! Are His faithfulness and loyalty enough for us?

In times like those, I’d forgotten that Jesus is enough!

Remember this, the church, although it is comprised of followers of Jesus, is really a hospital for hurting people; it’s full of the walking wounded. Don’t be surprised, then, when one of them turns around and bites you. But as for us, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. He did no sin, there was no deceit in Him, yet He, “was numbered among the transgressors. We all deserve condemnation, but we have been acquitted by mercy, love and grace working together in concert with God’s justice. Now we are pronounced not guilty, not because of our religion, but because of the person and performance of the Lamb.

Let me ask you then, what do we have that we didn’t receive by grace? He was condemned, we got the acquittal! He suffered, we got the peace. He was put to shame, we inherit glory! He was put to death, we got the abundance of life. Our sins were imputed to Him. His righteousness is imputed to us. This is Amazing Grace!

Why then are we so judgmental towards other weak, frail and flawed followers? We need grace, so do they! What’s so special about us that our rights must be preserved? Jesus had rights, yet He laid them down. He went to the cross where He was mocked as an impostor. He had the right to save Himself, but He laid it down. So now, all that we have, and are, and hope for, is due to the doing and dying of Jesus. That’s the kind of religion’s that is enough for us.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 1

Romans 10:3-4 … “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.”

All of us are religious by nature. After all, religion is man’s system and way of approaching and worshiping his God. Religion, is the expression of worship and belief. Religion is man’s way of doing the things he feels his God wants him to do. Religion expresses all that a man believes about his God and how he should be served.

As believers, however, we need to be so very cautious of our religion: unknowingly and invariably, our system of religion can unintentionally replace the Gospel.

When our system of religious observances substitutes itself for the Finished Work of Christ, we are in trouble. We may be sincere, decent, reliable and religious and yet have nothing that God recognizes as being valid or acceptable. We may be very ardent about our religion, but our zeal will not gain us Christ’s righteousness. If Christ alone is not our way to the Father, we have, as yet, not come to God. At the end of the day, it was Christ who said, “No man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). So long, therefore, as we are mistaken about the way to God, we are in darkness. If we do not know the way to approach God, our worship, sincere as it is, is unacceptable. Indeed, we ourselves are unacceptable. We have missed the Way…the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 3:12)! To replace Christ with our system of religion is both toxic and lethal. Religion does not and cannot give us a Righteousness that fits us for heaven!

To have access to God, we must have Jesus, His doing, dying and rising again. He is supremely superior to our system of religion. For access to God, nothing more than Jesus is needed, but nothing less than Jesus will do. He is enough!

We cannot work our way into God’s favour by our religious practices. Try it, if we must, but it’s a wasted effort. We, by doing so, are relying on man’s religion, not God’s. To try to work our way into heaven’s favour is to entirely miss the mark. To attempt to work our way into God’s approval is to actually fly in the face of the Gospel. Such religious behaviour, whilst commonplace, has no basis in gospel reality and no resemblance to that in which God delights.

The problem happens, when a person thinks that his religious system will ultimately give him favour with Heaven. But here’s the difficulty. Such a person, by his religious activity, admits to being on a quest for forgiveness and acceptance. He has, therefore, got things upside down. The gospel truth is this, acceptance and forgiveness begin our walk with God, they are not the end result. Our acceptance is secure only through the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12). The only acceptable works which impress the Father are the works of His Son. The Father is well pleased with Jesus. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of good works! We do not need, therefore, to attempt to be saved by anything we do. As believers, we have already been saved by works; Christ’s works, not ours.

Our salvation is discovered in Christ alone, not in ourselves. It is through Christ alone that we are saved. Jesus is the Saviour. He is God incarnate. It is, therefore, of no surprise that He effectively carries out His work of salvation. In Christ, we have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7). It is by grace alone that the people of God become accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). It is Jesus alone who is the Saviour of men, and, no matter how religious we become, we are not, and cannot be, our own saviours.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

If thou join anything to Christ, thou wilt soon go into sin

December 21, 2015 Leave a comment

SpurgeonAnd, mark thee, once again, if thou lookest at anything save God, thou wilt soon go into sin. There was never a man who kept his eye on anything save Christ, who did not go wrong. If the mariner will steer by the pole-star he shall go to the north; but if he steers sometimes by the pole-star, and sometimes by another constellation he knoweth not where he shall go. If thou dost not keep thine eye wholly on Christ thou wilt soon be wrong. If thou ever dost give up the secret of thy strength, namely, thy trust in Christ; if thou ever dalliest with the Delilah of the world, and lovest thyself more than Christ, the Philistines will be upon thee, and shear thy locks, and take thee out to grind at the mill, till thy God give thee deliverance by means of thy hair growing once more, and bringing thee to trust wholly in the Savior. Keep thine eye, then, fixed on Jesus; for if thou dost turn away from him, how ill wilt thou fare I bid thee, Christian, beware of thy graces; beware of thy virtues; beware of thy experience, beware of thy prayers; beware of thy hope; beware of thy humility. There is not one of thy graces which may not damn thee, if they are left alone to themselves. Old Brooks saith, when a woman hath a husband, and that husband giveth unto her some choice rings, she putteth them on her fingers; and if she should be so foolish as to love the rings better than her husband; if she should care only for the jewels and forget him who gave them; how angry would the husband be, and how foolish she would be herself! Christian! I warn thee, beware of thy graces, for they may prove more dangerous to thee than thy sins. I warn thee of everything in this world; for everything has this tendency, especially a high estate. If we have a comfortable maintenance, we are most likely not to look so much to God. Ah! Christian, with an independent fortune, take care of thy money, beware of thy gold and silver; it will curse thee if it comes between thee and thy God. Always keep thine eye to the cloud, and not to the rain, — to the river, and not to the ship that floateth on its bosom. Look thee not to the sunbeam, but to the sun; trace thy mercies to God, and say perpetually, “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

If thou join anything with Christ, thou shalt have the whip for it

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 6Mark thee, again, Christian, I would bid thee never put anything else with Christ; for as sure as ever thou dost, thou wilt have the whip for it. There never was a child of God who harbored one of the Lord’s traitors in his heart, but he always had a charge laid against him. God has sent out a search warrant against all of us: and do you know what he has told his officers to search for? He has told them to search for all our lovers, all our treasures, and all our helpers. God cares less about our sins as sins, than he does about our sins, or even our virtues, as usurpers of his throne. I tell thee, there is nothing in the world thou settest thy heart upon that shall not be hung upon a gallows higher than Haman’s. If thou lovest anything but Christ, he will make it to do penance, if thou lovest thy house better than Christ, he will make it a prison to thee; if thou lovest thy child better than Christ he will make it an adder in thy breast to sting thee; if thou lovest thy daily provisions better than Christ he will make thy drink bitter and thy food like gravel stones in thy mouth, till thou comest to live wholly on him. There is nothing which thou hast, which he cannot turn into a rod, if thou lovest it better than him; and rest assured he will do so, if thou makest it anything to rob thy Christ.

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

If you join anything to Christ, you can not see him so well

Spurgeon 1I beg thee, mark also, one reason why thou shouldest not look at anything else, and that is, if thou lookest at anything else thou canst not see Christ so well. “Oh!” thou sayest, “I can see Christ in his mercies.” but thou canst not see him so well there, as if you viewed his person. No man can look at two objects at the same time, and see both distinctly. You may afford a wink for the world, and a wink for Christ; but you cannot give Christ a whole look and a whole eye, and the world half an eye too. I beseech thee, Christian, do not try it. If thou lookest on the world, it will be a speck in thine eye, if thou trustest in anything but him, betwixt two stools thou wilt come to the ground, and a fearful fall wilt thou have. Therefore, Christian, look thou only on him. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Christ is grieved if you join anything to Him

November 30, 2015 Leave a comment

CharlesSpurgeonAgain, Christ is very grieved if you do it. Assuredly you do not desire to grieve him who shed his blood for you. Surely there is not one child of God here who would like to vex his blessed elder Brother. There cannot be one soul redeemed by blood who would like to see those sweet blessed eyes of our best beloved bedewed with tears. I know ye will not grieve your Lord; will ye? But I tell you ye will vex his noble spirit if ye love aught but him; for he is so fond of you, that he is jealous of your love. It is said, concerning his Father, that he is “a jealous God,” and he is a jealous Christ you have to deal with; therefore, put not your trust in chariots, stay not yourselves in horses, but say, “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856