BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Stephen Lang
-- Are there any sinners around any more? People are dysfunctional
or not in touch with themselves or negative or uptight or
immature or even in need of counseling -- but never sinful.
Odd that we've discarded the word sin, since it covers all these categories,
and more. It also covers all of us -- not just the cruelest and most criminal,
but even people who seem well-adjusted. The Bible assures us that we all sin.
Our sin -- seeking our own selfish way instead of God's way, making ourselves
the center of the universe -- separates us from God. It mars our relationships
with others. None of this has changed, even if we threw out the word sin
because it seemed too old-fashioned.
"The human heart is most deceitful
and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD,
search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve."
The LORD looks down
from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with
real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God;
all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!
shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth
away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively.
God has put this knowledge in their hearts.
From the time the world was created,
people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see
his invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no
excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't
worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish
ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.
Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping
the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people,
or birds and animals and snakes.
So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful
things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with
each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God,
they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made
but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.
The New Testament presents Jesus as the one who solves the sin problem. The
image used is the one of sacrifice -- based on the Old Testament idea of
sacrificing an animal as a "sin offering" to make peace with God. Jesus is the
final "offering" -- a completely innocent person who lets himself be sacrificed
to save sinners.
John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! There is
the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins
against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.
made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could
be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:19, 21
We are made
right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And
we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious ideal. Yet now God in
his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ
Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the
punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right
with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.
He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was
raised from the dead to make us right with God.
When you were
slaves of sin, you weren't concerned with doing what was right. And what was the
result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do,
things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and
have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result
in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the great gift of God is eternal
life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.
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