Category Archives: April

Who Can Stand Up?

“No one is righteous – not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. (Rom.3:9-20) (Psalms 14:1-3)

There are people who do not accept they are sinners. Also there are those who feel they are doing what is right. There are philosophies that tell us that if our good deeds outweigh our bad, then we stand a chance to be earn merits from God. However, deep in our hearts we know we can never attain that standard God expects-100% holiness. So, when God call for the sinless one to stand up will there be anyone?

Nobody Can Claim Sinlessness

God observes from His throne that there is no one righteous in His estimation, not even one that meets His standards. To those of us who claim righteousness in ourselves God says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind”
(Isa.64:6).

Nobody Can Save themselves

No one can obtain salvation by the observance of the Law. Neither can anyone satisfy God’s justice by good deeds. God’s justice demands that a sinner be condemned to eternal death – permanent separation from God’s presence. Religions and philosophies may suggest ways to overcome this. But none of it is capable of satisfying the righteous demand of God’s Law. This leaves mankind in a dilemma.

Only God has the Solution

God alone can provide a solution when all human attempts fail. That is what God did on the cross of Calvary, when He allowed His Son to be the ransom for us all.

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Is God Just?

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality…. (Rm.2:1-16)

God’s anger toward those who ignore His commands burnt on the cross of Calvary. Those who hide behind that cross will be spared from the heat of that wrath when it will burn for the last time.

God is the Creator and owner

God is just and fair in judging the wicked because He is the Creator and owner of the whole creation. He has absolute right and authority over all that he has made. He loved mankind, the crown of His creation, for whom everything else were made. He gave them freedom but wanted them to willingly keep His instructions. But man decided to chose otherwise and landed in the resultant disarray of wickedness and sin. He had laid down the rules of the game right in the beginning itself and only the mankind is to blame.

God the Son is the Judge and the Penalized

As the Law giver, God is the judge. He will judge everyone according to what they have done while alive. The one question around which the judgment will revolve is “What did you do with my Son Jesus?” The answer to this simple question will determine the destiny of mankind. Bible says, “If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished” (Rom.8:1). The Bible also says that Jesus Christ is coming back as the Judge. In order to save the criminal, the righteous judge Himself paid the penalty. Now all who wish to avail the benefit can do so by believing on Jesus. Judgment is for not accepting the provision God has made through the death of His dear Son, and attempting to reach heaven through their own ways.

No Excuse

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Rom.1:18-32)

God is just in whatever He does. Look at what’s going on in the world? Much of the world is walking on four legs in the name of post modern culture. God knew it well ahead of the ‘intelligent’ man.

God has revealed His glory

God had revealed His glory through His creation. The nature and all that has life reveal the wisdom of God. The more we discover about the mysteries of this universe the more we should admire its Creator. But, people instead are trying to prove He doesn’t exist. The human brain is still a mysterious super computer no scientist can replicate. They can imagine how the world came into being on its own through a big bang but they cannot explain why nothing falls into order by itself today. They can see deterioration happening and things going out of control, but are not willing to accept the proposition of an intelligent Creator who put everything in order. God’s Word says that no one can excuse himself by saying he was not aware of a Creator.

God is Right in condemning the wicked

Can anyone blame God for what is happening in the world? For the global warming, for the wars and killings, for the epidemics, for the upcoming holocaust? God is giving up on man because of the extreme wickedness in which they indulge. They are crushing the truth with wickedness. What was considered evil is acceptable today. They keep God away from their lives because they feel sufficient in themselves. They trust their genius and their ability to create. They feel they have discovered the secret of life and they can do without the Creator. They swept the Bible and prayer out of their schools and colleges and brought more rational curriculum. God ordained relationships are out of fashion and disapproving homosexuality has become human rights violation. They discourage Christian activities and glamorize pagan cultures in the name of meditation and New Age Movement. They violate every principle in the Word of God and accommodate all forms of vulgarity. They do all these and blame God when their children involve in wicked practices and murder other children. No one can plead ignorance before God’s judgment seat. He is justified in giving people up for their wickedness because it is after enough of warning.

The Product Power

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times;…. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom.1:8-12; 14-17)

Paul sets and example for all servants of God to follow, concerning their occupation and attitude.

Occupation of a Servant of God

The primary occupation of a servant of God is praying and preaching – praying for God’s people and God’s work. Whether they are directly involved in the action or not they should be offering thanks for what God is doing in the lives of people. As we browse through various posts, read mission news, or hear encouraging reports, praise and thanks to God should emerge from our hearts and lips. We should also be proclaiming the Gospel to people irrespective of their background or response.

Attitude of a Servant of God

Preachers and pastors who are involved in teaching the Bible may feel it humiliating to admit that they too need fellowship and encouragement. Still worse is the thought that young believers and lay people can teach them a lesson or two and encourage them in faith. We need to be humble enough to accept encouragement and support from ordinary people. We should also feel proud of the message that we preach, because it is the message from Almighty God. It is packed with the power from God to convict the sinner and lead him to salvation through Christ Jesus.

The Product Power

Marketing staff of a company are most effective when they are motivated by the quality and effectiveness of the product they promote. This is when they feel proud to be associated with a product that has a perfect and proven track record. Apostle Paul was aware of this truth that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the unfailing product of the God of heaven, that is the ‘dynamite’ of God. We don’t need to worry about convincing the listener or satisfying him. Whether listeners agree with you or not your product is still the unfailing dynamite of God. No wonder, Paul was proud (not ashamed) about it.

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God’s Sovereign Choices

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Rom.1:1-6)

God in His wisdom chooses ways and means to accomplish His purposes. He has planned eternity, and time in between. He planned time in detail, such minute detail that man took  several millennia to unravel some of the simplest of things He has designed.

The Choice of God’s Son

The Triune God chose God the Son from among themselves to be the Savior of the world. God promised this Good News from the very beginning of creation, right in the garden of Eden itself, when He announced the destiny of Satan (Gen.3:15). The “seed of the woman” would crush Satan’s head, which Jesus did on the cross. There was a graphical display of this in the garden when God killed an animal to clothe the sinners (Gen.3:21), a foreshadow of the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the entire mankind.

Then, the promise of the coming Son of David was repeated through prophets and recorded in the Scriptures so people can refer back to it and see the plan of God. Paul reminds us that this was a mystery until it was revealed through the life, death and resurrection of the son of Mary, descendant of David (Rom.16:25; Eph.1:9; 3:3-9; 6:19; Col.1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3). He was full human as he was a descendant of David and proved his deity by being raised from death as the Son of God.

The Choice of God’s Servants

God has chosen people to be His servants and messengers from time to time. Paul talks about his being chosen and sent to be a messenger of this good news about God’s Son Jesus Christ. He was drafted by God as an apostle to carry this message when he was an enemy of this message. Paul takes credit in the fact that he is a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Choice of God’s People

Other believers in the churches that he planted were called by God through the obedience of Paul to his call. All those who were willing to listen to the Gospel, believe in God’s Son and obey the call of God were chosen to be God’s own people. Peter describes them as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”. This choice is absolutely God’s initiative and we can have no claims whatsoever.

God is calling people unto himself through His beloved Son Jesus Christ wherever the good news of the Gospel is proclaimed.

Conditional Promises

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.“I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. (Ex.23:20-22, 27, 31)

God initiated a Covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, the effects of which will remain true to his descendants for all generations. There God asked Abraham to let go of all his earthly possessions and to follow His directions. At this point nothing was clear about God’s directions, but there were few solid promises. God kept reassuring Abraham, and his descendants later, about these promises as He elaborated on His directions little by little. God spelled out conditions and demanded compliance from all Israel.

Several generations later, when the Israelites were heading towards the land of Canaan, God was fulfilling His Covenant promise to Abraham. He still kept elaborating His directions in the form of laws and instructions as seen in this passage.

God Our Defender

God promised Abraham that He will bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him. Now God tells Abraham’s descendants that their enemies will be His enemies and He will oppose Israel’s enemies. He will destroy their weapons, arrest their advances, and chase them away. They will fear the God of Israel, not Israel, and thus, God will get the glory. God promised Abraham a geographic territory for his descendants. Now God describes the boundaries of that land to the people of Israel. The land was their’s to possess. God promised to drive away the inhabitants and cleanse the land for their occupation. All these are dependent on their faithful obedience to God’s directions.

God Our Guide

Here, God reveals a bit more of His directions. He promises to send an Angel (Messenger, Representative) to go before them and instruct them, to protect them and guard them. He will not tolerate rebellion but expects submissive obedience. God keeps His promises and we need to keep ours too.

The Angel points to the Lord Jesus Christ and more to the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. In many places we see the Angel of the Lord is the Lord Jehovah Himself. Here, the Angel has God’s Name in Him-Elohim, Yhwh, Adonai, the eternal I AM. God tells the people: “listen to this Angel and do all that I tell you”. Interestingly, God was pointing towards the coming of His Son and then the ministry of the Holy Spirit in preparing God’s people outside Israel to inherit the ‘promised land’.

God’s Laws

And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; …”You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, …”Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Ex. 20:1-11)

This is the first part of the Ten Commandments God gave to His people through Moses. This reveals God’s demands regarding His people’s relationship with Him.

God’s Laws are for God’s people

This is not emphasized as a universal code of conduct, though God is the Owner and Master of everything. It has specific reference to God’s own people, people chosen by God to be His own possession from among all the peoples of the world. This is not for them to observe, and by doing so, be adopted as God’s people. Rather, it is for them to live up to because they have been chosen to be God’s people. In this case, one had to be born as a descendant of Abraham to be a member of God’s people.

So in the Church, the body of Jesus Christ. One has to be ‘born again’ as a child of God, by the regenerating power of the Spirit of God. Those who are thus born into the family of God are given the Word of God. Others can go through it and find the God it reveals. No one can gain acceptance into God’s family by trying to follow the book. Obedience is the prerogative of God’s people. Others are brought into the family through the obedience of His children.

God’s Laws reveal God’s standards

This reveals God’s heart, His plan for His own people and the rest of the world. It reveals God’s holy standard and calls us to grow towards it. It is God’s expectation of His people. God made it clear that by obeying the Law no one could be justified before God. What was revealed in the Old Testament was a foreshadow of the final and perfect, revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ. His blood alone, not that of animals, could atone for the sins of mankind.

They should not give the place of their God to anyone or anything else. This is blasphemy because their God has no equals, He is the Creator of everything, the Eternal One. They should not be carried away to make models and images of mysterious or incomprehensible objects. They should not take the name of their God lightly, for He is an awesome God. He should be worshiped and time should be set apart to be away from all other occupations and to be in His presence together as a community of God’s people.

Covenant People

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

And the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. (Ex.19:4-6, 10-12)

The Lord God brought the people of Israel out of bondage and set them apart to be His people. This was a choice God made and established through a covenant between Him and the people.

God Initiated Covenant

It was God who initiated this covenant and not man. Thus, it is founded on God’s faithfulness rather than the efficacy of human deeds. God is calling people to keep the covenant conditions as He does. He wants them as His treasured possession out of all the peoples of the world.

But, Israel blew it, for our good of course.

God Imputed Righteousness

Today the church, the body of Christ, is invited into a relationship with God through the covenant initiated at the cross of Calvary. Our sin has been transferred into Christ’s account and His righteousness credited into ours. To meet with the Holy and awesome God we need this righteousness. He is a consuming fire as much as He is love. Sin will never be tolerated and permitted into His holy presence. So, purify ourselves or be ready to face the fire.

Will He say, “I did everything on my part but you blew it!”

Height of Humiliation

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” (Lk.22:63-67)

Jesus gave Himself into the hands of the religionists and allowed Himself to be ill treated by His own creation.

God Emptying Himself of His Glory

Jesus was the very God who stepped out of eternity to enter time. The ‘infinite one’ willingly limited Himself by time and space. His own creation insulted Him. The one who opened the eyes of others was blind folded and beaten up. The ‘omniscient one’ was asked to name the soldier who slapped Him. When they arrested Him in the garden, at the mention of His name they fell backwards. But, He gave Himself into their hands to be offered as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”.

Men Blinded by their Religious Fervor

Though they had the prophecies about the Savior, the religious authorities could not see beyond His humanity. They took His words as blasphemy, His miracles as works of demonic spirits. Still they are asking Him whether He is the ‘Son of God’, not for their own confirmation, but to use as evidence against Him. Jesus gave indirect answers because He knew they would not believe.

However, to those who believe, He is the glorious king and the ultimate judge, seated prominently with God the Father.

Disowning the Master

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” (Lk.22:54-56)

There are times in the life of every Christian when he/she is tempted, tried and pulled apart by circumstances. During these dark hours, our closeness to the Savior alone can keep us from disowning Him.

Following at a distance

Peter was grieved and terrified at the arrest of Jesus. Those were moments of confusion. Everyone ran to safety. Peter followed at a distance.

Following Jesus at a ‘safe’ distance will be more disastrous than following Him closely. When we try to protect ourselves, we land in danger. If we lose our lives for His sake we will save it, said Jesus.

Warmth of the World

The fire place was an ideal one to keep himself warm while watching the events. But the company among which you seek this warmth can be the wrong one. There is the challenge of being identified and picked out as a follower of the Lord Jesus. That could be the worse place for being a witness for the Master.