Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

June 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
(Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV))

. . . by observing the law no one will be justified.

If God calls for us to observe His laws, many people don’t understand why we cannot be justified if we observe His laws. Sadly, humanity is a fallen creation and we are not capable of perfection. God’s laws require perfection. No matter how hard we may try, we will fail miserably. We will miss the mark. We will sin!

It takes a confident person to admit that they are less than perfect. It takes a confident person to admit that they need help. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset that reminds me of my daughter when she was two years old. I am sure you know what I am talking about. I can still hear her saying, “I do it!”

“I do it!”

Except for the grammatical errors, every one of us has been guilty of saying something similar to this. We think that we are capable of much more than we truly are. We don’t like to admit that we lack the ability to do anything.

I know that it is human nature to learn from our mistakes, but do we really learn if we fail to acknowledge that we make mistakes? I often wonder what the scene is in heaven and if God is shaking His head in disbelief as He watches us. I picture the same scene as Jesus points out someone who has accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “See that one who is acting like a stubborn child. He has placed his faith in me. He is mine! He may fail, but since he has accepted me, he will eventually learn to do the right things.”

Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be on your guard against false teaching!

August 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:6 (NIV))

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two different schools of thought about the interpretation of the scriptures. It is interesting that neither group had been able to interpret the scriptures the way that they should. They had introduced different teachings that had their origins from man and these teachings had spread through the temple and the nation like yeast through bread.

Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for these teachings and to not allow them to enter into their lives again. It is so easy to replace God’s Word with human interpretation of it. Humanity has been taking God’s Word and twisting it for their own reasons for as long as history has been recorded. The sad part is that we can all fall prey to this. Even those who proclaim to desire to know God’s Word are susceptible to twisting it for their own selfish desires. Take a long look at your life in faith. Has there ever been a person or group of people that you know who have twisted God’s Word? Now comes the hardest question of all. Have you been guilty of this yourself?

I hate to say this, but I would venture to say that all of us have done that at one point or another. We are sinful and selfish in nature. Even though we claim grace through the blood of Jesus, we are not instantly perfect. We are, however, instantly forgiven. We are being made perfect.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV))

Even as we are being transformed into His likeness, we can also stumble and fail because of false teaching. We must be on our guard and test what we hear and see against God’s Word. We must not allow anything to make us falter in our course. We must not fall for the false teachings of today’s Pharisees and Sadducees.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Reprehensible

August 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what condemnation means?

The definitions mean to blame or the state of being condemned.

Don’t you just love when a definition of a word uses the root of that word to define it. I thought that I would go ahead and look up the dictionary definition of the word “condemn” and the language is stronger than I realized. According to Merriam-Webster, “condemn” means

to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation; to pronounce guilty

To be honest with you, using the word condemn to mean being found guilty is what I think of when I hear the word. This in and of itself is wonderful news, for we are not found guilty through our faith in Jesus. However, the first part of the definition caught me off guard!

Reprehensible

Wrong

Evil

We all like to think of ourselves as minimal sinners in that we have not murdered or stolen, yet, we are all guilty of sin. In the eyes of God, we were reprehensible. We were wrong. We were evil. The evidence weighed heavily against us and there was no hope.

What do you think of when you hear the word “reprehensible?”

Is it the most vile and foul thing that you have ever imagined?

Through our sin, that is what we were. We had no hope. Still, God loved us even in our reprehensible sin.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus did not come into this world to find us guilty of the reprehensible sins that we commit. He came, because of God’s love for us, to offer us grace and mercy. He came out of love.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this. Think about your understanding of something that is reprehensible in your eyes. Would you do what Jesus did in order to save the reprehensible?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which way do you want to reason?

September 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

According to human reasoning, this does not make sense. It is physically impossible for something to be red and then to be made perfectly white. The very nature of the material will not allow it. At best, the red would simply become faded, but it would never become perfectly white. In fact, the red, just like the sin that it represents, would stain anything cleaner and lighter than itself.

Fortunately, God works beyond the physical realm and is capable of far greater things than we can imagine.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 (NIV))

Our ability to reason is limited in understanding and scope. God’s ability to reason is infinite. His is the ultimate reasoning, for with a single thought, anything can be done.

When faced with the red stains of our sins, isn’t it nice to know that we have a fresh perspective on their impact upon our lives. We have the atoning blood of Jesus that will wash them away. In the natural world, the red of sin plus the red of blood does not make white. Thankfully, the atoning blood of Jesus is so much more than natural blood. By God’s way of reasoning, the red of Jesus’ blood washes away the red stain of sin.

Which way do you want to reason – man’s or God’s?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anger

October 5, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
(Romans 2:5-11 (NIV))

The old saying “What goes around comes around” is true. If you hold anger and resentment against someone, then it will come back to you when you do not want it to.

God will reward you for your actions and thoughts in His time. No one is immune from this. The same way God allows everyone to have grace through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has granted that everyone will reap the rewards for what they do and think. No matter who you are, God will hold you accountable.

It only matters whose you are, not who you are. If you call on the name of Jesus, then your sins will be forgiven. Once you call on the name of Jesus, no matter who you are, God will work within you through the Holy Spirit to convict and to mature you into what He has called you to be. If you truly have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and have allowed the Holy Spirit into your life to work God’s will, then you will not want to store up wrath. He will remove it from you. But, if you have not let go of your wrath, then you have not fully allowed Jesus into your life.

Jesus was our example. He did not show wrath or any other unrighteous actions or thoughts. Do not confuse wrath with anger. Jesus was angered by the money changers in the Temple. He overturned their tables. But He did not let this anger grow into a vengeful wrath that consumed His life.

God gave us all of our emotions. We can be angered by something or someone, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to dictate what to be angered by and when to be angered. We must also allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of this anger and not allow it to become something that will harden our hearts and turn us away from God.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty?

October 1, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 15:20 (NIV))

Many people have taught that to follow Jesus means no troubles in this world and that you will be blessed with abundance in all that you do and in worldly possessions.

This teaching is not what Jesus spoke of.

Can we expect more than what was shone to Jesus when He walked the earth? To be truly like Jesus, we need to accept the fact that

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33b)

When a believer faces hardship or persecution, it should be a witness to others about our faith in Jesus Christ. We will face hardship and persecution, but how we face it is what makes us different from the world.

Will your actions during hardship convict you of being a disciple of Jesus?

Think about that question.

In a court, what leads to a conviction? In our justice system, it is facts – undeniable facts. What type of actions would be able to be presented as facts?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

Jesus showed us how we are to live our lives so that we show the fruit of the Spirit. If we are to do as He did, if we are to be like our master, then we should be able to face any situation with the same type of behavior that Jesus displayed. We should reflect Jesus and bear the fruit that He desires for us to bear. If we do, then we should easily be found guilty of being His disciple.

Are you guilty?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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