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The Glorious Government of His Affirmation

27 Apr

We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this–that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation.
We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter.
His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!
The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun.
How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit?
If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation?
Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one.
If that makeshift arrangement impressed us, how much more this brightly shining government installed for eternity?
With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 3:4-12, Message Bible

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Believing instead of Achieving

20 Apr

But now we are seeing the righteousness of God declared quite apart from the Law (though amply testified to by both Law and Prophets)—it is a righteousness imparted to, and operating in, all who have faith in Jesus Christ. (For there is no distinction to be made anywhere: everyone has sinned, everyone falls short of the beauty of God’s plan.) Under this divine system a man who has faith is now freely acquitted in the eyes of God by his generous dealing in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ.

What happens now to human pride of achievement? There is no more room for it. Why, because failure to keep the Law has killed it? Not at all, but because the whole matter is now on a different plane—believing instead of achieving.

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 3:21-28, J.B. Phillips Translation

Little Patterns

5 Apr

For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 6:14, Message Bible

His Yes Within Us

30 Mar

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.

God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us.

By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge–a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 1:20-22, Message Bible

Not Guilty!

16 Mar

If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things? Who will accuse God’s chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty!

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 8:31-33, Good News Bible

The Final Solution of Sin

29 Feb

For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins.

He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

Paul of Tarsus

Hebrews 9:24-28, Message Bible

The Mighty Rescuer

17 Feb

We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort–we get a full measure of that, too…

When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally–not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead!

And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 1:5,7-10, Message Bible