Set Free

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.-Romans 6:18

Have you ever set your sights on a goal?  You labored, studied, spent many sleepless nights, but in the end you came up short?  This situation is nothing new in the history of man.  This short scenario may help shed some light on today’s verse.

Before we become Christians we may do everything we can to reach God.  We may give away all of our possessions, fast, and do countless other things.  All of these things have some benefit, but if we are slaves to sin we will eventually end up either at the beginning, or maybe even lose ground. This is what happens when one is a slave to sin.  We are doing things out of our own selfish ambition, because in the end we are looking to get something.  It turns into a business transaction of sorts.  When we give our lives over to Christ things change.  We now have a heart of flesh that was once a heart of stone.  It is the grace received through faith in Christ that is the bridge to our ultimate destination.  We begin to do things not because we are trying to earn something or out of a selfish or sinful ambition, but because we are thankful of what we have been given.  We must choose sin or righteousness.  True righteousness can only be attained through faith in Jesus Christ.  Through Christ we are truly set free from sin.

It’s Time

“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”- Luke 15:32

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a very powerful story and is found in Luke 15:11-32.  A son wants the inheritance of his father, leaves for a far away country, spends foolishly of on prostitutes and wild living, runs out of money and eats pig slop, and eventually comes to his senses and comes home.

This man showed tremendous disrespect for his father by requesting the inheritance.  In a way he was wishing his father were dead so he could fulfill his selfish desires.  He left for a far away land which means he went into gentile country.  Not only did he turn his back on his family, but on his faith.  We have all done things in life that are sinful, but there is good news.  The father in the this parable represents God and today’s verse describes the joy that He has when we come to our senses and realize there is no life outside of Him.  Today is the day to ask forgiveness for the things we have done and come home.  Likewise we must also rejoice when others have this “aha” moment and come home.  The story of the prodigal son is one we can all relate to.  Have you come home?

A New Life

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.- 1 Peter 1:23

Everyday I speak with someone who has deep regret about something in their life.  It could be a relationship that has soured, a lost business opportunity, or guilt about a sin that was committed.  We all have regrets.

Today’s verse tells us a couple things that are important for daily application.  The first is when we hand over our lives to Christ and repent.  Peter says that when we do this we are born again through the Word of God.  Though we have sinned we are now forgiven and are given a clean slate.  Secondly we are to act as such.  As Christians we must remember who we represent.  We represent the living God and our actions speak volumes to those around us.  In regards to our previous sin God is faithful in cleaning us when we confess (1 John 1:9), but we are hardest on ourselves.  We often hold over our own heads what Christ has forgiven us for.  Look to today’s verse as encouragement for this Christian journey.  We will be attacked, we will face trails, and the enemy will try to say we are not good enough.  You have been born again!

My Lord and my God

Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”-John 20:28

At the point in John’s Gospel Jesus had been executed.  He was resurrected and appeared to many of the disciples, but Thomas was not among them.  He therefore did not see the appearing of Christ after his death.  Thomas said he would not believe it unless he was able to stick his finger into the side and hands of Christ.  Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas was present, and that is when he said the words in today’s verse.

The story is important because it shows us that even one of his closest followers doubted what Jesus said he would do.  How many of us does this apply to?  Sometimes we try to make contractual agreements with God.  “If you do this then I will believe in you.”  Is this any different than what Thomas did?  That means there is hope for me and for you.  Doubts, hardships, and trials will come.  We serve a master that knows what we go through and has promised to be with us every step of the way.  There will be times when we will be tempted to be like Thomas and doubt unless something happens for us.  May we be strong in our faith and declare the words of Thomas in today’s verse.  May we believe and proclaim “My Lord and my God!”

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.- Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations is a book of the Bible that speaks volumes.  It was written by Jeremiah after the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and the Israelites were put into exile.  Though it was written in a very difficult time it speaks of the mercy of God, and his plan for his people.

The prophecy given to Jeremiah involved the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that the people would be given yet another chance.  The love of God is not consumed, or in other words, it is without end.  Though we may be going through rough times his compassion never fails.  We can always go to him no matter what the situation.  In so doing we encounter the creator of the universe who will be with us every step of the way.  Many in my family are going through rough patches, and odds are it is the same in yours.  May we never forget that our God is loving and compassionate, and loves us with an everlasting love.  No matter what the situation or circumstances He is there.  May we always remember to go to Him in good times and bad.  Great is His faithfulness!

The Righteous Will Live By Faith

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:  “The righteous will live by faith.”- Romans 1:17

About one month ago I was talking with someone at work.  Many people tend to discuss religious topics with me, which is great, but this one was different.  She said what many us have probably said at some point.  Her words were “I have done a lot of bad things.  I need to clean things up before I come to Christ.”

Does this sound familiar at all?  I know it does for me, but the reality is that cleaning things up without Christ is like eating oreos while trying to brush your teeth.  It just will not work.  There are times where it may seem like it, but in the long run we are just covering up the dirt.  In today’s verse the Apostle Paul writes that the righteousness of God is through faith.  It is our faith in Christ that makes us righteous before God.  It is faith in Christ that will take the dirt away and turn our heart of stone into a heart of flesh.  Let us examine our lives today.  Are we just covering the dirt, or are we allowing the savior of the world to take away the dirt and give us a new start?  Live by faith in Christ!