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How Much More…

6 Feb

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!

Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 5:8-11, Message Bible


Evergreen Hope

26 Jan

People of all nations, celebrate God! All colors and races, give hearty praise!…

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 15:11,13, Message Bible

Inferior Stuff

20 Jan

Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.

If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.

Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus.

I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Paul of Tarsus

Philippians 3:8-14, Message Bible

Only One Conclusion

9 Jan

Right now the righteousness of God is boldly declared and defined in vivid contrast to the inability of man to do it himself. This restored standing of man is what both the law and all the prophetic writings anticipate and confirm. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s faith in man. The righteousness of God is now on display in such a way that all may believe, regardless of who they are, there is no distinction. The same mass of mankind that was once reduced to an inferior identity through their sin, is now gifted with acquittal on the basis of the ransom paid by Jesus Christ for their liberation. Jesus exhibits God’s mercy. His blood propitiation persuades mankind that God has dealt with the historic record of their sin. What he did vindicates God’s righteousness. All along God refused to let go of man. At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing mankind to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith. The law of faith cancels the law of works; which means there is suddenly nothing left for man to boast in. No one is superior to another. This leaves us with only one logical conclusion, mankind is justified by faith and not by their ability to keep the law.

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 3:21-28, Mirror Translation

No New Doctrine

5 Jan

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith–this is no new doctrine!

And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God–and that’s the real life.”

Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping]continues to live by them.”

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the Cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse.

And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing–just the way Abraham received it.

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 3:9-14, Message Bible

His Faith Saves You

19 Dec

Scripture concludes that all men without exception are in the same predicament, they are imprisoned to sin; now faith brings the promise of immediate release within everyone’s reach! Jesus Christ makes it possible for all to believe what God believes concerning their righteousness and restored innocence. We were confined to the law, kept in custody to its constraining influence until the revelation of faith would come to our rescue!

The law was acting just like a slave appointed to be the guardian of his master’s children, until they would be of age to go to the proper school of Christ to find in faith their righteousness revealed and endorsed.

Now that we have arrived at our destination, the prophetic road signs and pointers are of no further use. Faith replaced the Custodian. Now that faith has come the law is no longer relevant.

What Jesus Christ believes to be true about you is the final confirmation of man’s redeemed sonship. His faith is the only valid reference to your belief! Whoever is immersed in Christ is fully clothed with him! He is your brand new wardrobe confirming your sonship!

Nothing resembles your previous identity as Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, Billabong or Gucci, now you are all defined in oneness with Christ! He is your significance and makes you stand out!

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 3:22-28, Mirror Translation

You’ve Been Chosen

9 Dec

Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?

That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.

Everything that we have–right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start–comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.

That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

Paul of Tarsus

1 Corinthians 1:25-31, Message Bible