Friday, May 1, 2015, 10:38 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Love Offering.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 3:21-31 ESV. Through Faith But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Not one of us is righteous of our own making. All humans, since the fall of Adam, have been born into sin, i.e. we have been born with sin natures, in the image of Adam (See Romans 5 & 1 Corinthians 15). We are ALL capable of ANY sin. Because of this, not one human being is capable of keeping God’s law with absolute perfection. No amount of good works or goodness on our part will ever be enough to save ourselves from hell and to guarantee us eternal life with God. Our good works will never outweigh our bad. We cannot save ourselves no matter how hard one might try. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We will never be acceptable to (approved by) God in our own merit. Yet, because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, we are now able to be made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, for all those believing (continuous) in him. This Greek word we translate as “believe” in English actually means “believing,” and is a continuous action verb in the Greek language – a verb tense we don’t have in the English language. In other words, we don’t believe (past), then live our lives, and then die and go to heaven. The Bible teaches that the kind of faith it takes for us to be saved and to have eternal life with God is continuous, enduring, persevering and firm to the end (See: Jn. 8:31-32; Ro. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; Col 1:21-23; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I Jn. 2:24-25). Yet, we are not able to do this in our own power or strength. All this is accomplished in the power and the working of the Holy Spirit within us as we submit to our Lord and to his work of grace in our lives. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, die daily to sin and self, and follow (obey) him (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25). He said his sheep listen to him and they follow (obey) him, and they are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands (See: Jn. 10: 27-30). He said we must participate with him in death to sin (in his body and blood), or we have no life in us (See: Jn. 6:35-65). In Romans 8 we read that Jesus, via his sin offering of himself given so we could be set free from sin, condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, “who do not live according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.” If by the Spirit we put to death the misdeeds of the body, we will live, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (See: Ro. 8:1-17). These verses, and many more like them, show true faith is continuous action. Faith without deeds is dead (See: Jas. 2:26). We must turn from our sins, and turn to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience. We Uphold It Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. If we could be saved by our own works or by perfectly keeping the law in our own flesh, then we could boast that we did it and that we deserved it because of our own goodness. Then, we wouldn’t need God. But, we do, because we can’t do it on our own. We need the Savior Jesus Christ to save us of our sins and to restore us to fellowship with the Father. This is the way God planned it. And, we need the Holy Spirit within us empowering, counseling, leading, guiding, inspiring, directing, convicting and encouraging us in our walks of faith with Jesus Christ in order for us to continue walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. God created us to be in fellowship with him and to need him. And, that is the best place to be, too – in his loving arms, resting in his grace, trusting in his love and mercy, submitted to his will, and surrendered to following after his ways. Although it is true that we can’t be saved by keeping the Law, that does not mean, though, that God’s moral laws no longer apply to our lives. Jesus summarized the Law in two commandments: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. “All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (See: Matt. 22:37-40). If we do this, we will not be idolatrous, we won’t commit spiritual adultery against God, and we won’t take him and his grace to us for granted, but we will walk in the fear (honor and respect) of the Lord, and we will worship him 24/7 in spirit and in truth. We also won’t covet our neighbors’ possessions, commit adultery, make a practice of lying, or steal, cheat, and murder other people, etc. But we will be kind, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, trustworthy, and honest, and we will show integrity in all that we do. Just because we cannot keep the whole law, and just because the law does not save us, that does not mean we are free from keeping God’s commandments. All throughout the New Testament we are taught that we must keep (obey) God’s commandments, for that is how we show that we love God, and it is required for our salvation (See: Jn. 8:51; 14:23-24; Ro. 6:16; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-5; 3:24; 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:2). So, how does that work exactly since we are saved apart from the Law? It is part of our saving faith. In other words, God’s moral laws are not nullified by our faith, but genuine faith in Jesus Christ upholds (keeps) the Law – the perfect law that gives freedom – the gospel of our salvation. We don’t obey to earn or to deserve salvation, and we don’t do it to gain God’s approval of us so we can be saved. We do it, though not perfectly, as a love response to God for saving us from our sins, and all in the power of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate with his work. Your Love Offering / An Original Work / September 13, 2011 Thank You, Lord, for Your love, Dying on a tree, So we’d be forgiven, Live eternally. Thank You for Your kindness, Your love offering, When You shed Your blood, So we could be set free. Thank You, Lord, for Your cross, Dying for our sins, So we’d live in vict’ry, Purified within. Thank You, Lord, for Your life You gave for our sin, Giving us a new life, We’re made whole within. Thank You for Your mercy. You paid what we owe. When we turn from our sin, Your grace freely flows. Thank You, Lord, for conq’ring Death and sin and hell, So we’d walk in freedom, With You now to dwell. Thank You, Lord, that You will Soon come for Your bride. Perfectly You made her To with You abide. Thank You for Your Spirit; Our God, three in One, Giveth us salvation, Through God’s only Son. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus! He’s our King of kings! He will reign forever! Our praise to Him bring!!