Do You Ever Justify Yourself?

At the heart of the Gospel, we have this very theological idea called “justification by faith alone”. What this means is that at our first moment of faith in Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross, we are justified, made righteous and brought into right-standing with God.

I can honestly say that for most of my life this was an abstract concept that was an “entrance thing” into Christianity, which after receiving we move onto the big stuff, the important stuff. As in, “I have my justification, I’m good with God, now lets move on.” But little did I know, this idea is profoundly central to every thing we do, everyday.

See, we are always justifying ourselves in every little thing that we do…

It ranges from:
“I took the stairs today so I can have the cookie…” and, “Watching 3 hours of TV tonight isn’t so bad, because I work hard…”

All the way to:
“I can cheat on my spouse, because I’m not loved at home…” or, “I killed a man today in a mob hit, but it was defending my family’s honor, therefore it was a just act…”

But we have a problem:

I can always justify the things I do
But…
the things I do will never justify me.

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The Kingdom Matrix

Jesus said: I am the way the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father except by me.
Paul said the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Paul also said these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Way, Truth, Life
Righteousness, Peace, Joy
Faith, Hope, Love

How are these things connected? These are quite the set of lists… How about this?

Screenshot 2013-05-26 3:24 PM-3

Jesus is the only way to righteousness, and we are connected to that free gift of Grace through faith.
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Freedom 55 (Retirment Planning)? How about freedom through eternal peace with God. That is quite a hope!
Isn’t life the greatest joy! And once we have a joy that is unshakeable, we are set free to love.

Thus meeting Jesus leads to the commandments:

Love God with every fibre of who you are. Delight and trust and abide in Him.
Seek others happiness with the fervour and creativity that you seek your own.

Because, the difference between God’s kingdom and the kingdoms of this world, is our king doesn’t need us, but graciously invites Him into what He is already doing in the world. Christ serves His kingdom and his world and then we get to join in service with Him with his power when He brings us into the kingdom.

I love the Bible… there is no greater intellectual challenge than the Jesus Problem. What are you going to do about Him?

Interesting side note: I made this diagram on Sunday, then on Monday I watched this:

The Gospel Coalition: Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?

I am blown away almost every day, by how God always brings in confirmation of what I am learning.

The 3 Things Everyone Wants that Only Christians Have

Seek ye first the kingdom!

Jesus said seek and you will find. We are to seek the kingdom of God.

So what is the kingdom? It’s not what we get to have for dinner tonight, or what were allowed to drink or not drink. It is…

Righteousness (Confidence)
Peace (Security)
Joy (Buoyancy)

The kingdom is a place of deep unshakeable happiness! And what is very interesting is that these three things are that which everyone is already seeking. Let’s see how:

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Has the Word of God failed?

Has the word of God failed?
NO!
According to Paul.

And then he wrote Romans 9-11, three of the hardest chapters in the Bible. We often wrestle with them, like Jacob wrestled with God. And when we realize we are wrestling with God as Jacob did, as opposed to being “loved less” by God as Esau was, then our only response should be, “Thank you God that I get to walk with a limp for the rest of my life!”

So with that in mind… what is the main idea Paul is arguing for in Romans 9-11?

Read on to see what the main idea is not:

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The 5 Words Jesus Never Said

The funniest statements are often the most profound:

We were having dinner years ago, and laughing and having a good time as a family. My youngest brother got “snarky” about something towards my dad, which I’m sure my dad deserved in part. It was all good family dinner time fun. As a retort to my brother’s witty comment, my dad responded with the 5 funniest words I have ever heard, because they seemed so true:

“Shut up… I made you!”

Which is so funny, because it is so true, and yet so false…

Fast forward 10 years to me on Skype with a student, proctoring a quiz for interim marks, and I see this statement on his T-shirt:

Life isn’t about finding yourself
Life is about creating yourself

How nice that sounds. Go make your own destiny. Be whoever you want to be. You can do it! Follow your dreams!

What a profound lie… what a serpent-eden lie.

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Romans: A lot of big words… and the tenses matter.

There is now no…

Condemnation

For those who have received

Justification

And are experiencing

Sanctification

And are destined for

Glorification

For they follow in the footsteps of their

Propitiation:

Jesus Christ the Risen Lord

Who shall bring any charge against Gods elect?

Is this in your Bible too?