Monthly Archives: July 2014

How Righteous Are We?

Write down the numeral “12.”  Now add 17 zeroes.  1,200,000,000,000,000,000.  According to Yasar Safkan, Ph.D. from M.I.T., that’s how many atoms are in a grain of table salt.
Now place that grain of salt on the floor and look down at it.  Which atoms are in the top layer?  Can you differentiate them?  Can you identify the atoms in the 1,000,000,000th layer?
Me neither.
We might try to find comfort in comparing our righteousness to the righteousness of others.  But the differences are actually beyond negligible.  What difference does it make which layer we are on?  We are still infinite multiples of 1,000,000,000 away from God’s perfect standard.
Our only true righteousness is the righteousness of Christ that God gives us.
We are all in the same situation.  We all need God’s grace.
We all need the righteousness of Christ.

The Positive Purpose of the Law

God designed the Law to be a condemnation, but His purpose was that it would be a condemnation of our own efforts at righteousness. He never intended it to be a point of comparison and condemnation of others. And He never intended that the Law would be a pathway to pleasing Him.
But He did plan for the Law to have a positive result.
He intended that the condemnation created by the Law would show… us clearly our need for a different righteousness. His designated plan for the Law was to condemn our own efforts at self-earned righteousness. He knew that there would be no clear designation of sin without the Law.
And He knew that there would be no awareness of our need for a Savior.
(From my book, “Unfiltered Grace, Believing the Whole Grace Message.”  Now available on Amazon.)

Fruit Production

I went over to listen to my neighbor’s peach tree last week.

Actually, I went over because he told me I could pick some of the peaches.  But while I was there, I listened carefully.

The branches were full of ripening peaches, but I didn’t hear the tree straining with effort to produce the fruit.  I didn’t ask, but I’m pretty certain the tree had not read a guidebook on the “Twenty Steps for Producing a Peach on Your Limbs.”

It appears that the peach tree was producing peaches because it was… well, because it was a peach tree.  It was producing fruit naturally.

 

Galatians 5 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  So, if I have the Spirit in my life, He is producing His fruit?  Maybe I should throw away that list of steps that tells me how I am to exhibit those qualities.  Maybe I should depend on the Spirit to produce His fruit.  But if I were to do that, who would deserve the glory?

 

We Don’t Get to Choose that Covenant

I recently had a man ask me if I it was true that I believed Christians were no longer under the Old Covenant.  I could have gone into an explanation of the Old versus the New, but I took a different approach this time.

“Are you a full-blooded Jew?” I asked.  “Are both of your parents Jewish and are all your grandparents Jewish?”  “No,” he replied.

“Then you don’t have a choice.  The Old Covenant was never extended to you.  It’s the New or it’s none at all.”

I did then explain the truths and benefits of the New Covenant.  But the simplicity of understanding that the Old never was available to us is illuminating.

Loving Others

The religious message tells us that we are commanded to love other people.

The standard Christian message says that God loves us, so we should now be motivated to love other people.

The grace message is that God loves us and has placed His Holy Spirit in our lives; He now loves other people through us.