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For The Taking

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Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 33:10-36:22; Galatians 5:13-26; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 23:23

Old Testament

Israel had turned from God’s protection and relied on their enemy, Egypt, for protection instead. Because of this God allowed them to be defeated by Assyria. There is only one way to be saved – by turning to God and resting in Him (Isaiah 30:15).

When God is on your side there is no need to argue. We can rest quietly. When I was an atheist I used the common technique of talking louder in order to get my point across. Every spiritual conversation was an argument. But with God there is no need for that. Calm is a display of strength.

If we really want to experience true love and true compassion, we must move towards God (Isaiah 30:18). God isn’t going to force Himself on us. He waits patiently for us to move. If we want His love it is there for the taking.

No matter what God allows in our lives we can always ask Him for help and He will give it. Even after He sends difficulty into our lives – He still wants to teach us (Isaiah 30:19-20). God disciplines us so we can become better. His discipline is not meant to permanently break our relationship with Him. So many people think that God is trying to hurt them if they experience misfortune. But God is never trying to pay us back. He is always trying to win us back.


New Testament

Believers have been set free by Christ (Galatians 5:1) from the bondage of having to work for our salvation. There is no way any human being can keep all of God’s rules for holy living. We can not free ourselves. We can only be entangled by all these laws. So Jesus, who is God, came and set us free by His death on the cross. There is nothing we need to do in addition.

Many denominations, including Catholicism, teach that Jesus died for our sins (which is true) and that we now have to live a certain way in order to make it to heaven. This is false. Jesus did it all. The entire book of Galatians discredits this faulty theology. Paul’s main point throughout this letter is that faith alone in Christ alone is what saves people. It an either/or situation.

We can accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus or we can work for salvation. If we work for salvation then what Jesus has no meaning on our behalf – we are outside of God’s grace (Galatians 5:2-5). Not to mention, we will fail because we have to keep the entire law perfectly for our entire lives (Galatians 5:3). That’s impossible.

Unfortunately there is a lot of bad teaching out there regarding how people get to heaven. Large denominational churches have many people in their sphere of influence who believe what they are being taught. This is affecting the eternal destiny of millions of people (Galatians 5:9). But the truth is in the Bible.

The whole point of Christ dying on the cross was to tell humanity “You can’t save yourself”. But this offends our nature (Galatians 5:11). People want to think that they are “good” or at least “good enough”. But we aren’t. If we were, or if we could be, there would be no reason for God to come to earth and die in our place. These concepts are mutually exclusive.


Psalms

I live in the desert. It rarely rains here – only for a few days in late July/early August. We’re lucky to even see a cloud the rest of the year. The land is dry. Dust is constantly blowing around. Such is the picture David paints of his desire for God in Psalm 62. Just like the desert longs for rain and is dried up without it, so is our soul without God.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post

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