Our shop has been quiet. Our town has been quiet. Rumour has it that even the taverns have been quiet. If people don’t have money to drink, they really don’t have money. Just thinking something like that makes me sad, but unfortunately in the times we live, it is true. When times are tough you would expect people to reach out to God. Unfortunately many reach for temporary solutions that the world offers. In Romans Chapter 1, Paul speaks of people who are unrighteous and verse 28 – 32, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled up with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of god, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
This is such a mouthful! Then Paul goes on to say that we are not allowed to judge because everyone who judges also does the same things that he is judging. To me this means that I cannot judge sin, because I also sin. It might not be exactly the same thing that someone else does, but it is sin, nonetheless. Nobody is perfect and without sin. We are not Jesus. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and the very next verse, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God sent as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
If I think about Jesus dying for me I really struggle sometimes to believe that He really would do it for me, but because I believe every word of the Bible, I have to believe it. I have to believe that it doesn’t matter how bad my life was; it doesn’t matter what I did or said or thought, Jesus took all that on Him and said to me that because God loves me, He was willing to die for me. Whether my sin was small or big it doesn’t matter. He did it for a gossiper and a murderer alike. The whole concept of a person laying down his life for someone else is huge, but being willing to die for someone who is inherently bad, is very hard to understand. That’s how profound God’s love is. Romans 5:18-19, “Therefore, as through one man’s offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
We cannot make ourselves righteous. Jesus did that. Without believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on a cross to save us from eternal damnation, we do not have access to God, who is a loving Father and who is longing for a living, breathing relationship with Him. Now, if Jesus was so obedient that He allowed Himself to be nailed to that cross so that you and I can be forgiven of our sins, which are ongoing, how obedient shouldn’t we be? We know that we should be obedient, and we know that we should be on fire for Jesus and we know that we should be reading our Bibles and spending daily time in prayer. We know that we should be nurturing the relationship that God wants with us, but do we do what we know we should be doing? How often don’t we become cold, especially when we become so busy in our daily activities that we tell ourselves we are way too busy to spend time with God. I resolve to spend more time communing with God and I put the challenge out there. We can do it, we can get closer to our Redeemer, particularly when we are reminded of how much our salvation cost Him.