Galatians 3:11 What To Rely On

“Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

There were some people in the churches of Galatia that were going back to the Mosaic Law to serve and worship God. They were attempting to show themselves righteous by how well they kept the Law. Paul clearly points out that they are being foolish in doing this. The Law only brought about death. It did not provide for removal of a sin in a person’s life. A believer in Jesus is to believe by faith in the salvation that Jesus is providing.

Although people today do not talk so much about following the Law of Moses, they still attempt to follow the Law. Often it is a person who is trying to make himself right with God. People like to be of value and to accomplish something on their own. They want to be successful.

When people mess up in their walk with God, often they will do things to make it right and try to earn God’s grace and forgiveness. They will give more in the offering, volunteer more in ministries, start reading the Bible more, or something else. All of these things are good, if done to be a service to God and others, but often they are done to look good to God.

No matter how good you are at following the law, at some point you have broken it and only deserve death. You have become of no value at all. You cannot earn life again, the price is too high.

This is where faith steps in. Jesus died for you and rose again to take away your sins. Can you trust Him to take away your sins? Can you trust that He loves you enough to do so? This is where faith comes in.

There is nothing to be earned. The works you do should be done out of gratitude for what Jesus had done for you, not to earn God’s favor. Following Jesus and believing in Him will give you God’s favor.

Don’t rely on what you can or cannot do, rely on what Jesus has done and can do.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will have faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus; that you will trust Jesus to make you righteous before God; and that you will live your life by faith in Jesus.

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Romans 10:2-3 Wrong Zeal For God

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” Romans 10:2-3

Paul is talking about the Israelites. He would love to see them saved. Here he points out that they were very zealous for God, but they did not know the righteousness that God provided. In the end they were building their own rules of what righteousness was and refused to accept God’s righteousness.

Things have not changed for people. Many people (at least in America) believe in God and attempt to stand for what He wants. In their zeal for God they get extremely judgmental and start to make rules on various things that God never directly stated anything. They are making up their own rules on what it means to be righteous before God.

Some examples of these types of rules are: no playing cards, no dancing, wearing only certain types of clothing, and eating only certain foods. While all of these things may be good for a certain person, or good rules to live by, none of them are absolute rules by God. None of these make a person more or less righteous before God.

Only in Jesus is a person righteous at all. It is by His grace and mercy that you can be a righteous person.

Jesus did lay down some rules and many principles to live by. They were guidelines on how to make choices in life. They are to guide you in how to live a righteous life before God and do His will.

You need to be zealous for God. You need to get excited and tell everyone about God. You need to stand strong and true for God and His Word. But in all of this you must be standing in the right position. It must all be based on the righteousness of Jesus. It must be done with His love, grace and mercy.

Do not be zealous the way the world gets zealous: judgmental, condemning, better-than-thou, and demanding. Don’t just give a bunch of rules to live by.

Strive to point all to Jesus. Show people the righteousness that Jesus provides. Be zealous for God in Jesus.

I pray today that you will know the righteousness that Jesus provides; that you will be zealous for Jesus; that you will tell everyone about Jesus; and that you will be zealous with God’s love, grace and mercy.

Romans 7:7 Is The Law Sinful?

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7

Paul had previously talked about how the law brings about death. People then state that the law in sinful, that God is in the wrong, since He made something to cause sin and death.

Immediately Paul states that the law is not sinful in any way. It is because of the law that he knew what coveting was.

The law had to be in place in order for any person to know what the rules were. Without the law a person cannot know what is right and what is wrong.

The world loves to state that God is in the wrong with allowing sin to be in the world in the first place. It is often asked why did not God just destroy Satan immediately when he rebelled and keep sin out of the world.

God could have done that, but He wanted people who really wanted Him, not just forced to serve Him because there is no other way. In order for people to serve Him correctly they had to be told what was right and wrong. This is where the law comes into effect.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given a rule of not touching a certain tree. When they ate of the fruit of the tree, they had broken God’s simple rule, which then brought about death.

It is the same today. God has laid down a few simple rules for life. If any of those rules are broken, and everyone breaks some of them, death comes.

The law in itself is not sinful. It is helpful in knowing what God desires of His people.

Are you willing to look at the laws God has put into place? Are you willing to try to live by those laws? Or will you, like the world, accuse God of making sinful, bad laws?

I pray today that you will know the desires of God’s heart; that you will strive to live by God’s rules; that you will know the grace Jesus provides you; and that you will tell others of Jesus.

Romans 3:5 Human Argument

“But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)” Romans 3:5

Paul had just finished talking about everyone being the same and that circumcision has to be of the heart, not just physical. Now he talks about the value of being a Jew, while some Jews are unfaithful to God. God’s faithfulness will prove men to be liars. The more unrighteous people are, the more righteous God can be seen to be.

The world likes to run with this point about God’s righteousness. They want to blame God for the way they are. It must be His fault that they are living in sin, because it makes Him look better in the end.

People like to blame others for the way they are or for the actions they did. They blame the alcohol, parents, school, bullies, friends, enemies, the government, and any other thing that can shift the blame from themselves.

Many want to say God is not a just God for the way He demands perfection. Why would a loving God get angry with men? Why does a loving God allow pain in the lives of men?

Since God is such a loving and righteous God, He has made a way for sinful man to get right with Him. The more sinful a man was, the more His loving kindness, mercy and righteousness shows.

In the gospels is the story of Mary Magdalene who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. She had seen the value in the forgiveness she had been given by Jesus because of your great sins. The Pharisees did not see that, since they were not “great” sinners.

God laid down the rules and you must follow them. If you choose not to follow them they will bring out God’s wrath upon you. Every person has broken at least one of those rules. This will bring out God’s wrath against you.

Accepting the forgiveness Jesus provides will remove God’s wrath against you. This shows God’s righteousness, love, and mercy upon you. It shows how great these are.

Do not purpose to live in sin, but purpose to live in Jesus. Put on His righteousness and do not get angry with God’s rules for your life.

I pray today that you will see the love God has for you; that you will accept the forgiveness of Jesus; that you will not judge against God for His rules; that you will turn from all sin; and that you will live a life of righteousness for God.

Acts 15:11 Saved By Grace

“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts 15:11

Various Jewish believers were going to Antioch and telling the Gentile believers that they had to become like a Jew in order to be Christian. This meant they had to be circumcised and follow all the Mosaic Law. Peter stood up to them and pointed out that, with Jesus, salvation was a matter of faith and done in the heart, not just in actions. It is by grace that a person is saved, not by what they do or do not do.

Even though many years have passed, this problem still exists among Christians. No, the issue of having to be a Jew is no longer being discussed. It is now that a person is often required to change their lifestyle and habits before accepting Jesus.

Many believers expect a sinner to clean up his life before or as he comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Salvation comes by believing in the work and salvation that Jesus provides. Once a person believes in Jesus, God can do a work in their heart to change their lifestyle.

Christians are very good at putting down a huge set of rules in order for being a Christian. Jesus did not do that. No one can fulfill all the regulations, all will fail. Jesus provides that salvation with by His mercy, not by your earning it. All that is required is to believe in Jesus and obey Him.

Let God do the changing of a person in His time. Any person who is truly trying to love God will work at being more like Jesus everyday. They will want to change their ways. It will come from the heart, not from outside regulations.

Do you believe in salvation by grace that Jesus provides? Or do you believe in your good works? Which one are you telling people? Which one are you holding people to?

I pray today that you will see the grace that Jesus has given you; that you will give that grace to others; that you will not require acts that Jesus did not require; that you will live in the grace of Jesus; and that Jesus will use you to tell others about Him.

Mark 10:5 Unwanted Laws

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied.” Mark 10:5

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus wanting to know if it was lawful to get a divorce. They pointed out that Moses had allowed a man to give a woman a certificate of divorce and send her away.

Jesus starts out with His answer pointing out that it was only because of the hardness of the hearts that divorce was permitted. He then points out that God never wanted divorce in the first place.

This could easily be a place for debating the arguments about whether God allows divorce or not. I am not going to talk on that subject in this blog.

Look at why divorce was permitted–it was because the hardness of the heart. The people were demanding that they be allowed to divorce. It was not God’s, nor Moses choice to want to allow it.

Outside of divorce, does this type of hardness of heart and making of rules still happen? Yes. Many people have closed their hearts off to what God really wants and start demanding changes in the way things are done.

Thirty years ago, very few places were open on Sundays. As a whole everyone believed you needed to rest on Sunday as God wanted. Today, a person almost cannot get a job without working on Sunday. This is due to people hardening their hearts and demanding more hours and services.

Television and movies have changed over the years. Classroom teaching has been changed to drop God out of the picture. Moral standards have dropped and rules have been put in place to allow the drop because of the hardness of hearts.

Christian Chaplains in the Army must now preach Islam to the soldiers, to be fair to everyone. This is because of new rules due to the hardness of the heart.

Where is your heart today? Is your heart following after God? Or is it following yourself or this world?

Be careful what rules you want in place. God may allow it, but does not mean He wants it. God never wanted divorce, but He does allow it, because man’s heart was hardened.

Do not allow your heart to become hard against the desires of God. Know the love and compassion that God has for you and everyone else.

I pray today that you will keep your heart from going hard against God; that God will fill your heart with His love and mercy; that you will not seek many rules on everything; that you will allow God’s love to guide you in all that you do; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Mark 9:42 Causing a Stumble

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

As Jesus and the disciples were walking along the disciples started arguing about who was first. Jesus points out the one who is a servant is first. Then they complained about another person casting out demons. Jesus points out that anyone doing a service for God is for Him.

Now Jesus points out not causing a little one who believes in Him to stumble. Many people look at this verse and see it as just talking about not causing a little child to stumble, but this includes more than just little children.

Every person who believes in Jesus is a child of God. They are not just a child, but a little child. Every person is growing in the likeness of Jesus. It is a lifelong process that never ends until they get to heaven.

Since everyone is then considered a child, do not cause them to stumble. How can a person cause another to stumble?

The most common thought is leading them into actual sinful acts. There are “believers”, even churches, out there that accept certain sinful habits as acceptable to God. These are then promoted. This is causing a person to sin.

When a younger believer sees an older believer doing something, it is seen as acceptable and they mimic it. Care has to be shown to not show wrong living that will cause sin in another person’s life.

One very common cause of stumbling is arguing about ways to live for God. Examples of this is demanding that women only wear dresses, or have long hair; that men cannot play cards or play sports; and arguments about politics.

Harsh disagreements often lead to bitterness and fighting. There are many things that God leaves open for each person to decide as to whether it is right or wrong between him and God. The Bible does not give hard fast rules on many things.

Demanding various things can cause a person to stumble in their belief in God. It can cause bitterness and resentment to rise up. Do not allow it in your life. Jesus said it would be better to be drowned then to cause a person to stumble.

I pray today that God will reveal to you ways that you can cause others to stumble; that God will guide you in how to build others up; that God will guide you in how to really live for Jesus; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.