dailybiblereader2012

Putting God's Word into Practice…

James 2:1-13 Know Mercy

Showing partiality and favoritism is an evil sin! (4,9) Not even one judgmental thought is acceptable! (1)  These actions disgrace the Lord who died for ALL people, who’s blood is able to cover ANYONE’S sins.

In James 2:10 we learn that breaking one commandment is the same as breaking all ten commandments, therefore we all come to the cross of Jesus on level ground–all sinners.  All who are redeemed are equally redeemed only by the mercy and grace of God.  When we realize that truth, it leaves no room for self-righteousness and judging others.

MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT.  James 2:13b

Mercy is showing compassion and/or forgiveness to whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  Mercy triumphs–conquers, prevails, takes first place, subdues–judgment.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful for they WILL receive mercy.”  Isn’t that what I want from God and others??!! Mercy instead of judgment!  Then I must freely offer mercy (compassion and forgiveness) to ALL others.  The truth is, I don’t have the power to punish anyone.  That’s God job!  If he shows mercy to all He has made, then I need to as well.

Is there anyone from whom I’m withholding mercy?

THE LORD IS GOOD TO ALL, AND HIS MERCY IS OVER ALL THAT HE HAS MADE! PSALM 145:9

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Hebrews 9 ~ Eager Longing

I love spring cleaning!  Although throughout the year I try to maintain surface cleanliness, there is nothing like the clean feeling once a year from deep, thorough, every crack and crevice cleaning!  That is kind of how the old system of sacrifices were set up.  The priests offered daily sacrifices on behalf of the people, but one day a year, the priest prepared himself to go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all sin–especially unintentional ones.

Then along came Jesus!  He was a perfect–completely perfect in every way–priest who offered His own life once and for all as the perfect sacrifice to thoroughly clean away the sin of all mankind.  His death on the cross–the blood He shed–secured eternal redemption, purified us into our deepest conscience, forgave every sin, and provided us with an eternal inheritance!  Just like in an earthly will, the inheritance can only be passed on at death.  Jesus’ last will and testament was for us to inherit His righteousness upon His death.  His death brought us so many good things, and His life brings us even more!

If you were prosecuted for a crime and found guilty.  Then someone came along and took your punishment and paid your fines/fees.  Wouldn’t you want to know and see them?

If you were taken from your family and someone had to pay a ransom to your kidnappers to get you back, wouldn’t you anticipate when they came for you to take you safely home?

This chapter ends with this:  “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting FOR HIM.”

After all Jesus has done for me–the freedom and forgiveness He bought with His own blood–why would I long eagerly for anything/anyone else?  I need not long for the redemption of my mortal body; or long to be in a place where there is no sin, sadness and death; or yearn to see the loved ones who have gone on before me.  My eager longing should be to see the One who purchased my salvation face-to-face!

Lord, let all else melt away except the surpassing joy of seeing you someday–looking into your eyes, touching your nail-scarred hands, hearing your voice, and seeing you smile.

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Romans 3 – Bad News First, Then Good News

This may be the most doctrine-rich chapter in the whole New Testament.  So many key principles of faith are taught, and it is teeming with attributes of God.  God is faithful; He is true; God is righteous; He is a just judge; God is glorious; He is a grace-giver; and my favorite, He is divinely forbearing!

The Bad News.  Although created in the very image of God, we have defiled and distorted that image and do not look like Him anymore.  Humanity is condemned under sin.  We are unrighteous liars.  We sin with our hearts, our mouths, our feet, and our eyes.  People do not fear God.  God in His grace, gave the law to the Jews and wrote it on the heart of everyone else not for our justification–because no one can keep the law–but to point out our sinfulness and God’s holiness.  We stand condemned and hopeless before a just and perfect Judge!

“BUT NOW GOD has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law…” (Romans 3:21a)

The Good News.  God sent His one and only perfect Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17).  The only way that Jesus could save us was to rectify our sinfulness by making atonement for it with the shedding of His own blood.  At the cross God’s anger against sin and His love for His created people came together in a painfully, beautiful moment of justice and victory.  EVERYONE who believes by faith in Jesus Christ is made right with God.  There are some big words used in these verses to describe the outcome of believing by faith in Jesus that I’d like to share some thoughts on.

1) Righteousness-We are not righteous, but Jesus is.  When we humbly recognize our sinfulness and lack of righteousness, then He imparts His righteousness to us and when God looks at us to judge us, He sees Christ’s righteousness in place of our sinfulness.

2) Justification-being declared “not guilty” by God “just as if I never sinned”

3) Receive gift of grace–undeserved kindness from God

4) Redemption. I have heard this term in context of Olympic victories several times this week.  I think in our culture we have watered down the meaning of the word “redemption.”  To redeem something means to buy it back.  In the spiritual setting, this means that we belonged to God, and we gave ourselves over to sin and consequently belong to His Enemy.  He had to pay a price to buy us back–the blood of Jesus.  That is what each of our souls cost–the priceless blood of the innocent God-man.

5) Propitiated by His blood.  We have been freed from the penalty of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus.  Jesus’ shed blood satisfied God’s wrath against sin.  Jesus died in our place.

What can I boast in?  Nothing!  All I am in Christ cost me nothing.  Jesus paid the way with His own blood; Jesus made the way for my sins to be obliterated.  I cannot earn redemption or righteousness.  I can only boast in Jesus Christ!

If you have believed in Jesus Christ, I encourage you to spend time thinking about what that really means  with fresh perspective.  Praise and thank Him for all His death and resurrection means to you!  If you have not received the good news and see your sinful nature for what it is, there is hope in Jesus.  Ask Him to forgive you and trust that He paid the price to make you right before God.

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