SERMON – November 03, 2019

When God Shows Through

 

On the way home from church, a little girl told her mom that she was confused by something the preacher said in his sermon. When mom asked what it was, she said, “Is it really true that God is bigger than we are and that He lives in us?” Her mom replied, “Yes, it’s true.” With a confused look, the girl said, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us…then wouldn’t He show through?”

Well, she’s right and the Apostle Paul thinks so too and that’s what Romans 8 is all about. Perhaps that’s why it’s called the ‘most wonderful chapter’ in the Bible. This morning, I’m going to ask you to stand as we read from Romans 8:1-6.

In our ‘Roman Road’ series, we’ve learned what “Justification” and “Santification” means. This morning, we’ll add another “ation” word to our Biblical vocabulary.  “Condemnation” comes from the word “condemn” which the Bible says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but He who does not believe is condemned already…” (John 3:18)

We hear “condemned” used in our legal system (“condemned to die”). And just like in a courtroom, the Bible says that every person will stand before the judge on Judgement Day. It says , “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

But true believers need not be afraid. Because of our “justification” and living in “santification”, we will have “no condemnation.” In other words, on judgment day, Christians will be declared “not guilty”. (“ation” joke)

So is Romans 8 the ‘most wonderful chapter’ in the Bible because believers will be innocent on judgment day? Well, that’s part of it. But wouldn’t it be great if we were innocent now? Well, that’s what Paul says in v1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” So “no condemnation” means believers are innocent and they will not be condemned by the judge.

You see, you don’t have to wait until judgment day. Today, by the grace of God, you can be pardoned and set free. Paul writes in v2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Now understand, Christians will sin. But they will not longer be adicted to sin, no longer will they be a slave to sin. Let me explain.

In Romans 7, Paul describes the struggles that Christains will have against their sinful nature. And to help the Jews and the Greeks in the Roman church understand, he reminds them that Greeks are born under the Roman Law and the Jews are under the Mosiac Law. As long as they are alive, they’re held to the law of their land, the law of sin and death. But neither law…has any power over a dead person. So when you died with Christ you were now under God’s Law.

That’s what Paul is speaking about in v3, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.”

Now even though Christians will sin, that is no longer who we are. Verse 5 tells us, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is a life giving, life changing force. Throughout this chapter Paul says  the Spirit:

  • can help me control my mind and give me peace in v 6,
  • in v 11, the Spirit will give me a renewed “life”,
  • in v 13, the Spirit helps me control my sin,
  • and in v 16, the Spirit testifies that I am a child of God.

 

As believers, we don’t have to fear condemnation because we are a child of God. Verses 15-16 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by who we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

But many Christians forget they are a child of God. They beat themselves up everyday. They live in shame and guilt over bad choices, over past failures and over ruined relationships. But rather than hanging on to the past, they should be standing on wisdom of Philippians 3:13, which tells them that they should be “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”.

And what’s ahead? What is there to look forward to? Isn’t life filled with the same old..same old? You see, when we understand that who lives within us is greater than he who is in the world…then everyday is a new day. That’s why v6 says, “…to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” We have a peace, a new found joy and the love of being adopted into God’s own family. And would you like to be royality…the child of a King? Heir to the throne? Verse 17 says, “…and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

So God’s Spirit wants to change me. He wants to change how I ‘look’ at life…how I ‘live’ my life. The Spirit wants to control my very thoughts. And if I do that, then the little girl was right when she said, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, then wouldn’t He show through?” He would and He will!

Does He show through in your life? If not, then verse 9 tells you why. “… if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” The Holy Spirit is God’s brand on us…it’s our family name. Verse 16 says, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

Being a child of God assures us that when God looks through His book on judgment day…that our names are written there and we’ll be able to walk right into heaven. Is your name in the Lambs Book of Life?

SERMON – October 27, 2019

Burying The Dead

I read about a preacher who decided not to baptize a young girl on a Sunday because it was October 31. He was concerned because Halloween is a day that focuses on ghosts and goblins. It’s a day that many people celebrate death. Now most people don’t mean anything evil by it, but the fact is… Halloween celebrates death.

So, this preacher was concerned that if he baptized her on Halloween, a day that celebrates death, that it might make the wrong impression upon her. Well, I can understand his dilemma. But I think he’s lost his focus. You see, baptism IS all about death. Paul makes that very clear in our scripture (Romans 6:1-7).

Last Sunday, we explained how Biblical Christians are “justified by faith.”  Meaning they’re saved by God’s grace as a result of their faith and not by their works or deeds. Well, Paul is faced with a false teaching that is now going around in the church.  As we’ve said, Rome was the center for the intellectual community. So they reasoned if you receive God’s grace for the forgiveness of sin and if grace is good, then the more you sin…the more good grace you’ll receive. So go and sin…a lot!

But Paul confronts the false teachers asking, “Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?” And he answers it by saying, “Absolutely not!” So the question of day is, “Can a justified person live the same way as they did before justification?” Remember, a simple definition for ‘justification’ is “JUST as if I never sinned.”  You have been justified, forgiven, saved by the grace of God.

So, can a saved person continue to live the same sinful life once Christ moves into their heart? Let me quote Paul, “Absolutely not!” Why? Because true believers have “died to sin.” Verses 3-4 tells us, “.. don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

In order to become a Christian… you have to die. Isn’t that what Galatians tells us, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” You have to die to the past. You have to die to your old way of life.

That’s why Paul wrote, “…We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” And v6 says “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”

A Biblical scholar once said, “Christ’s death for sin…becomes our death to sin.” Beloved, we were once ‘alive to sin and dead to Christ.’ But now we’ve been justified…been made right by God’s grace.  We’re no longer ‘alive to sin and dead to Christ’ but instead we are ‘dead to sin and alive in Christ!’

Throughout the NT we’re told that to belong to Jesus we have to die. We have to die to our old life…to our old way of living. And what do you do with dead people? You bury them. And baptism is God’s way of showing us that our sinful past is gone…it doesn’t exist anymore…it’s been buried.

Next Sunday, we’ll be baptizing a couple. We’ll baptize them into Christ by lowering them into the water as we would a grave. But do I leave them there? “Absolutely not.” We’ll raise them up. You might say that we raise you up from the dead. And that’s part of the genius of God.

He designed your baptism not only to represent your death but also to reassure you that one day you will rise from the dead and be with Him. That’s His promise. That’s what v4 means when it says, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” So, that preacher was wrong about baptizing on Halloween. Baptism IS all about death and burial and resurrection.

And even though baptism doesn’t give us salvation, it is an expression of our faith. The Bible says, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

To be baptized without faith, without repentance and without confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior is just taking a bath…all you did was get wet. Faith and baptism make up the salvation package.

This morning, let me ask you to close your eyes and think back to your time of salvation. The time when Jesus Christ came to live within you. Can you see it? Now fast forward to today. Has your life changed? Has Jesus made a difference?

This morning, God has a gift that He ‘bought’ for you. A gift that’s very precious and dear to Him. Because it cost Him the life of His Son. But you can’t buy this gift… because it’s free. All you have to do is accept it. All you have to do is:

  • Admit that you’re a sinner.
  • Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God.
  • Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

SERMON – October 20, 2019

What Do You Believe?

How would you reply if someone asked, “What do you believe?” Do you know that what a person believes dictates how they behave. Last Sunday, I quoted former atheist Lee Strobel who wrote “…other religions are spelled “D-O” because they teach that people have to DO a bunch of religious rituals to try to please God. But Christianity is spelled “D-O-N-E” because Christ has done it all on the cross and we just need to receive Him.” Receive Him by faith. When it comes to Christianity, people believe one of two things:

  • Their FAITH in Jesus will make them acceptable to God or
  • Their good WORKS will make them acceptable to God.

At the church in Rome, there were those who believe that eternal life was obtained by  faith in God while others believe that they could work their way into heaven. Even today, people have a hard time with ‘faith’. Yet we live by faith everyday. For instance: When folks get ill, they go to the ER and see a doctor whose name they can’t pronounce. He gives them a prescription they cannot read. Then they take it to a pharmacist they do not know who gives them medicine they do not understand and yet…they take it. Now, that’s living by Faith much like it says in today’s scripture (Romans 3:21-31).

It seems the Jews in the Roman church believed that if they obeyed the Law (10 Commandments) that it would make them acceptable to God. That if they worked at being good, if they did good things, then it would get them to heaven. But Paul wrote in v 28, “… a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Basically, we are  justified by faith… not works. So, how does this “justification by faith” really work?

Well, in truth the teaching of “justification by faith” is what separates biblical Christianity from all other beliefs. In all the other beliefs, man is working his way to God. Only in true, biblical Christianity is man saved as a result of God’s grace through faith. The Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

If you believe that you were saved by faith in God’s grace and not because you earned it, not because you deserve it, not because you’re good enough, then you believe in “justification by faith.” Justification is being saved. And then “sanctification” is when we strive to become more like Christ. The Bible says, Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”” (Matthew 16:24)

Basically, Jesus is talking about who’s in control. But most people like to be in control.  That way, they can determine if they are “good people.”  And being in control makes a lot more sense than “denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Jesus.” That requires putting Jesus first and giving Him control of their life.

That’s one of the reasons the other religions teach that unless you do good works you’ll never please God and you’ll never see heaven. Because they teach the holier you are, the more God is going to love you.

But when it comes to getting into God’s family and spending eternity in heaven, “good works” won’t do it. Unless your soul has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus then you’ll pouring “good works” into an unclean vessel. If you want your good deeds to please God, then you’ve got to let Jesus cleanse you on the inside first.

So how do you get cleansed? As we discussed last week, it’s by accepting  God’s free gift of salvation through hearing the Gospel, faith in His Son, repentance of your sins, confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior and being baptized. We read in v 25, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood –to be received by faith.”

Now someone may ask, “If faith is all I need to receive Jesus, then why should I deny myself, take up the cross and follow Him afterwards? Why can’t I just live the way I want to?”

Well, Jesus is way ahead of you. That’s why He said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) Now keeping His commandments won’t give me salvation. So why should I keep them? Because I love Him. If you don’t love Jesus, then you really don’t believe in Jesus. To believe in Jesus is to live for Jesus. And to live for Jesus is to suffer for Jesus. So if we love Him we’ll keep His commands like   He asked us to.

So if you do things for those you love and if you love Jesus, then shouldn’t you do things for Him? Such as being in church? Didn’t He tell us “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together”? (Hebrews 10:25) And if you love Jesus shouldn’t you be studying your Bible? Didn’t He say “…but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” (Joshua 1:8)

And if we love Jesus, shouldn’t we be seeking Him in prayer? Didn’t He say, “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalms 105:4) If you love Jesus you’ll be careful what language you use, what kind of friends you hang out with, what kind of movies and TV shows you watch? If Jesus is living in you, then you must always be asking, “What would Jesus do?” in all that you do.

In our recent trip, we used the GPS to find our destination.  The GPS allows us to know exactly where we are and where we want to go. And now, you can use a chip and your GPS to keep up with your car, your pet, your kids, well just about everything.  We can know exactly where they are and so they’ll never get lost.  Well, the Bible tells us that God has placed His own GPS chip inside of us: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

With Jesus in you, you’ll never be lost and God will always know exactly where you are!

SERMON – October 13, 2019

If It Weren’t For Grace

Last Sunday, we spoke of a “feud” between the Jews and the Greeks in the church at Rome. And we mentioned how the Jews were having a hard time of accepting Christ as their new Messiah and letting go of the old “Law”. I think we could all admit, that at times we all struggle with the law. You see, we don’t mind it when someone else gets stopped by the police but we’re not real happy when it’s us. I read a true story of a woman who called the police about speeders in her neighborhood endangering the lives of children walking to school. Well the next day, she was stopped for speeding. She even told the officer, “I’m the person who called yesterday to tell the you about the speeders.” And as he handed her the ticket, he replied, “Well, then you should be happy…we caught one.”

The law is the law, and if we’re caught breaking it, we pay a penalty. And that is the same message in the Bible. The Law of God is the Law of God, and if you break it there’s a penalty as it says in our text (Romans 3:19-24) this morning.

How many of you have ever gotten a speeding ticket? Me too. Do you remember thinking, “Was I really speeding?” Have you ever thought that you really didn’t break the law…maybe just bent it? Well, that’s what Paul’s facing with the Jews. Because they believe they’re not “law breakers” maybe just “law benders”. Besides, they thought ALL they had to do was ‘obey’ the Law and they’d be ‘acceptable’ to God.

But Paul’s letter says that “through the law we become conscious of sin.” (v 20) Meaning that the purpose of the Law was to make them aware of just how bad they really were. And why did they need to be reminded of just how bad they were?  Because “…the wages of sin is death” and it’s important that they understood that “All have sinned…” And what awaited them was an eternity separated from God. Besides, the Law was never a “means to salvation”. The purpose of the law was to reveal sin and to expose the real destructive power of it.

Now it’s important that you notice 2 simple words at the beginning of v 21…“but now.” It’s here that Paul shifts from the old to the new…from death to life. Paul says that despite the past…God reveals His righteousness. So what is God’s righteousness?  It’s having the right relationship with Him and with others.

The right kind of relationship with others is when we love them as we love ourselves. And God’s righteousness is His gift of salvation that is given through faith in Jesus Christ to anyone who believes in Him. The Law’s main focus was not to cleanse people…but to point out the need to be cleansed. So how can you be cleansed?

Well, the Bible says that you are “saved by grace.” But if you want to be cleansed by grace, you have to do something.  The scripture says you are saved by grace through faith, so God expects you to:

  • Hear the Gospel
  • Believe in His Son,
  • Repent of your sins,
  • Confess your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior,
  • Be Baptized

All of these things are part of your response. But none of these will actually save you! If it weren’t for God’s grace, if He hadn’t freely offered to save us, then you could believe all day long…you could repent til the cows come home…you could be baptized a 100 times and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Why?

Because it was what God DID that saved us. It was what God DID on the cross that gives us salvation. The believing, repenting, confessing and baptizing is just our way of signing up.

Former atheist Lee Strobel once wrote “…other religions are spelled “D-O” because they teach that people have to DO a bunch of religious rituals to try to please God. But Christianity is spelled “D-O-N-E” because Christ has done it all on the cross and we just need to receive Him.”

Let me show you the difference. In the Buddhist faith they teach a parable about a prodigal son who rebelled and left home. But when he returns and wants to rejoin the family, the Buddhist teach that the son must work off the penalty for his behavior by spending years as a slave. But in Jesus’ parable, the prodigal son is warmly welcomed home by his loving father and given undeserved grace. Grace? What’s this Grace?

Well, the Bible says that “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

So, ‘grace’ was when our loving Father reaches into our dead sinful souls and brings us back to life. But let me ask you, “Could your soul have done anything to save itself?” The answer is “No.” Because it was dead. Because the “wages of sin are death.” So you had no hope for salvation…except through Jesus Christ.

And so Paul writes: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) God did it for us because we couldn’t do it ourselves. And just how did God do that?

Paul writes in v 24 that we are “… being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” When did Christ give us redemption?  On the cross. “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.”

 

 

 

 

SERMON – October 06, 2019

The God Who Is There

By definition, all of us are involved in a feud of some kind. Since the definition of a ‘Feud’ is a “prolonged dispute or quarrel”, I’d say every believer has a feud with Satan and every non-believer has a feud with God.  Today’s scripture (Romans 1:16-25) was written to the believers in Rome that are feuding within the church.

In our last sermon, the Children of Israel were with Moses at Mt Sinai as he received the 10 Commandments or “The Law”. Now about 1,400 years later, the Jews are torn between “The Law”… a new Messiah…and new believers that are not Jewish.  And this seems to be reason for the feud.

  • In the church there were 2 types of believers: the Jews and the Gentiles or Greeks. The Jews believed “they were God’s “chosen people” and He loved “them more than anyone.  But the Gentiles thought that if the Jews were God’s chosen people then why’d they crucified His Son?
  • Through all the feuding Paul knew two things: That in times of peace and in times of disputes…God is always there. And at all times…we must never forget that our mission…is to serve God…and lead others to Him.  So Paul diverts their attention…by saying, “I am not ashamed of the gospel…”  Now why would anyone…be ashamed of the gospel?
  • It’s been about 25 years after the life of Christ and the message was still hard to accept in both Israel and Rome.
  • The gospel was about a Jewish carpenter and a teacher who was put to death on a cross by Roman
  • Now the message says this man ‘Jesus’ was raised from the dead and is now called Lord or ‘Kurios’. But Kurios is what they called Caesar but now the Romans are to call a Jewish carpenter ‘Lord’  Can you see the confusion?
  • That’s why Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:23, that the gospel would be a “stumbling block” to the Jews and would seem “foolish” to Gentiles.
  • The “crucified Messiah” was a stumbling block to the Jews

because it’s a contradiction in terms to them.

  • The “intellectual” Romans thought it “foolish” that the Jews

the “Chosen People” would crucify God’s Son.  Only the ‘scum of society’ was crucified.

  • Paul knew he couldn’t change generations of beliefs but the Holy Spirit could!
  • So with their focus on sin, Paul warns the Jews and Greeks to cling to the gospel because they’re under “God’s wrath.”
  • Throughout the OT, mankind knew God, they fellowshiped with God and they betrayed Since the Garden of Eden people have been unholy, unrighteous, and ungodly.  And still today people continue to “suppress the truth”.

But what truth are people suppressing?  It’s the simple truth that God is the Creator!  God created the heavens and the earth and He created you and me! But the “intellects” choose to dispute the Word of God.  But to them I say, “The earth wasn’t created by planets colliding and mankind didn’t fall out of a tree or crawl out of the ocean. We were created by the hand of God.”  That’s why Paul wrote in v 25, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie… and worshiped and served created things…rather than the Creator…who is forever praised. Amen.”

You see, when someone doesn’t have God in their heart mind and in their mind it causes them to replace His truth with a lie.  And the lie causes them to worship and serve the created and not the Creator. So what does mankind serve?

And what does mankind worship? Mainly “themselves.”  People are caught up in vanity and looks but so was Lucifer.  People actually believe they’re smarter than God but so did Lucifer.  Now why would anyone think they have all the spiritual answers? Because if they didn’t they’d have to admit there really is a God.

And a lot of people don’t want to do that.  Because if they admit that God exists then they’re not in control anymore.  And if God is in control then He has the right to judge us.  And only the Creator has the right to pass judgment.  And people don’t want that.  Why?  Because they don’t want anyone passing judgment on them.

But here’s the truth God is the Creator and He does stand in judgment.  And as He looks down upon His creation, He knows one thing for sure, they’ve “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Paul tells us in v 20 that “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  The problem isn’t that people don’t know the truth it’s that they’re determined to oppose the will of God!  They choose to go against God’s moral standard. They choose to go against His Word. And when they oppose Him they’re “without excuse.” There will come a day when everyone will understand that phrase, “without excuse.” It will be on ‘Judgment Day’.

When mankind chose to disobey God and had to leave the Garden of Eden, God created for us a beautiful new world.  He didn’t have to, after all we messed up, not Him.  But because He loves us, He gave us a planet filled with majesty and mysteries.  There are miracles that take place around us everyday that remind us of just how much God loves us.

For instance, the caterpillar.  During this time of the year the caterpillar begins to build it’s own casket called a ‘cocoon’.  Because pretty soon the caterpillar will literally die.  But several months later, the casket opens and what comes out isn’t a caterpillar but a beautiful butterfly. That’s how it is with each of us.  God can bury our old sinful lives and give us a new spirit.  Only in God can we be “born again” like a butterfly.

SERMON – September 22, 2019

God’s Word From The Mountain

Exodus 20:1-21

The late Ronald Reagan once said: “I have wondered at times what the 10 Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.” Well, the former President makes an interesting point. A typical bill in Congress is as thick as a Dallas phone book. But history reveals that our greatest documents were brief and to the point.  For instance, the Gettysburg address had only 286 words and the Declaration of Independence has 1,300 words. But the  Government’s regulations on cabbage sales is 26,911 words. Now in contrast, the Lord’s prayer has only 66 words and the 10 Commandments has 179.

I guess God’s the master of “getting to the point”.  It doesn’t take Him long to say what He needs to say. Perhaps, it’s because He knows we have a very short attention span.

Teachers and parents understand “short attention” spans. Perhaps, that’s why when Jesus was asked what was the “greatest commandment” He took the 179 words of the 10 Commandments and simplified it to about 40 words. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

In that reply, Jesus summed up the 10 Commandments. But Jesus did more than just summarize the Law of Moses. The Bible says that Jesus made us alive with Him by forgiving us of our sins and blotting out the ordinances against us by nailing them to the cross. (Colossians 2) The Law of Moses was crucified with Christ.

Society is still under the 10 Commandments, which is the guide to their “moral standard.” Even our legal system is based upon the principles of God’s Law, which makes it dependable and trustworthy. But Christians are different.  They are not under the 10 Commandments, but under the “Law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Society has a religion as it’s model while believers have a relationship with Jesus.

The 10 Commandments are impossible for mankind to keep.   So why would God give the Israelites the commandments knowing they could never keep them?  It was to show them just how much they needed God.  That they were not strong enough to do it by themselves. The only person who has ever kept them all was Jesus. The Bible says that the rest of us “…have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And the price for our falling short? Death! As Romans 6:23 says: “the wages of sin is death.”

As a matter of fact, the punishment for breaking any of the Commandments found in Exodus 20 was death. If you worked on the Sabbath…you were put to death. If you murdered someone, committed adultery, cursed your mother or father, then it was death. And since nobody could keep the law, then everyone was going to die! But their law breaking or sins could be covered by innocent blood. So year after year and again and again, the Israelites sacrificed the blood of animals for the forgiveness of their sins.

So, what did these sacrifices really accomplish? Well, according to Romans 3:20, “through the law we become conscious of sin.” You see, the Law’s purpose was to reveal God’s righteousness vs. our sinfulness. It showed us that we needed a Savior! We needed the ultimate sacrifice. We needed someone who was perfect, spotless, blameless, and sinless. We needed Jesus Christ!

We needed the blood of the only innocent man who ever lived to cover our sins…to cover our mistakes, bad choices, our arrogance, pride, and ego. Hopefully, to allow us time to get to a place in our lives where we could humble ourselves before the God who loves us more than we could ever understand.

In our bathrooms at home we have a mirror with a wash basin underneath. For the lost, they see a person who’s hurting, who’s searching, who’s lost and regardless how many times they wash themselves in the basin, they’ll never be clean.

But when a child of God looks in the mirror, they may be ashamed of what they see at times, but in the cool waters of repentance, they can be made clean…forgiven…and loved. What do you see, when you look in the mirror?

Begin your journey to peace. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? It begins with a simple prayer:

“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Did you pray this prayer?