Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DOES GOD OWE SINFUL MEN ANYTHING?


It is often the case that people come to God in prayer with the mistaken notion that they are worthy of an audience with Him and that He exists to grant them all they desire. This is a view of God that delights in His love but excludes His holiness. I confess that for many years, before I gave my life to Christ, I approached God with this self-centered view. The truth is that the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth owes sinful men nothing. Apart from Divine grace, no man is deserving of anything from God but eternal damnation: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). The very fact that a sinful creature can breathe another minute is due to the loving kindness and longsuffering of God: “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). All men in their natural state are estranged from God and under condemnation (Romans 5:12-18), not commendation. None merit God’s approval; all merit His judgment: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). As part of Adam’s fallen race I shared in God’s sentence of death upon sinners (Romans 6:23). How dreadful was my spiritual condition - all the more perilous because of the ignorance of my foolish heart. Satan surely had blinded my mind “lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto [me]” (2 Corinthians 4:4). I was doomed to an eternity without God.

Today, I am new person in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I can approach God with the full confidence that I have “an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) What brought about such a change? I am still a sinner who struggles in my walk of faith. Although I seek, by God’s grace, to live a godly life, I am not yet fully conformed to Christ’s likeness. Why should God now hear me when I pray? The difference is in my position, not my performance. When Christ died on the cross, He paid a sufficient penalty for the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:19). This certainly included me and meant that I could be free from His wrath because that wrath fell upon Jesus: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). If I were to ask God to forgive me on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, He would “cleanse me from all iniquity” and grant me eternal life. Whereas I was once and enemy of God, I could now be reconciled to Him. One day I did just that, and through faith in His Son I have been adopted into God’s family (Galatians 3:26). My eternal destiny is secure. I have been washed in the blood of the lamb (Ephesians 2:13). What a glorious thought! I can say, with the song, “Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.” But it doesn’t end there. As a child of the King, I now go “boldly unto the throne of grace, [to] obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The Scripture says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). All spiritual blessings are mine in Jesus. I can approach the throne of God’s grace with full assurance. When I think about it, I can’t comprehend it. I deserve nothing from God, but He has given me everything in Jesus. He has not only saved my soul from certain death; he has supplied all that I need for a “life [of faith] and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Each day that I live, I thank Him for His rich mercy and abundant grace toward me, which have no human comparison. Such love is beyond description. I am His and He is mine - forever and ever. No one can take this gift away from me. I am truly safe and secure in the love of my Savior: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).

Jesus my Lord will love me forever,
From Him no pow'r of evil can sever,
He gave His life to ransom my soul,
Now I belong to Him;

Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me,
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me,
His precious blood He came to redeem,
Now I belong to Him;

Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Rejoicing in Him,
Pastor Tom

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Absolutely Beautiful and very well written. Thank you for this.