Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Holier Than Thou; True Joy of Salvation

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 5:29 - 6:11
  • Psalm 66:1 - 20
Read Bible Passages Online

Luke 5:29 - 6:11 
5:31 - 32 "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."
This quote was how Jesus answered the disgruntled Pharisees who complained about how Jesus frequently feasted with the lowliest of all -- tax collectors.  If Jesus were to come back today and feast with someone, what types of people do you think it would be? 

Alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes?  What about politicians, or highly paid executives who wouldn't think twice about throwing someone under the bus to further their profits?  Or prisoners serving out varied sentences, or the sex offender living in your neighborhood?  How about you?  And how about me?

We are all sinners, and we all need to repent.  I never forget that I am a sinner, no matter how hard I try to commit my life to the Lord.  A sense of righteousness is dangerous.  I don't know about you, but I would be thrilled to dine with Jesus Christ, no matter who the company may be.

I still haven't read enough of the bible to decide if I have a true opinion on severity of sin.  I only know what I've read so far.  Those studies have taught me that adultery is a particularly devastating sin that affects one's entire life.  I just read about how murderers were required to be put to death. 

Severity of sin aside, the only sin I know can't be forgiven is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  All other sins, no matter how bad they are, can be repented of.  And I might not have ever murdered anyone, but that time I decided to try shoplifting in high school would keep me out of heaven just the same without the atonement of Jesus Christ for my sins.

The more I study the bible and the more I try to align myself to the Lord's will, is the more that I have to fight any feelings of righteous that spring out from inside me.  All of these people who might appear to sin more than you do need Jesus Christ just as much as you do.  They need Jesus Christ just as much as I do. 

These are the people we need to minister to.  These are the people we need to share the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with.  Jesus spent his time in their company because those people needed him most.  We must never let our so-called "righteousness" get the better of us so that we ever feel more worthy of salvation than another person.

We must remember that we are ALL God's children.  He loves each and every one of us.  And it's the prodigal son that gets the most attention from the parent.  When I was a teenager my younger brother decided to live with my father in California while my mother and I resided in Missouri.  My mom's heart would ache over the loss of him.  I would often have to fight jealousy, because I was the child that stayed -- but that rarely seemed to be appreciated when compared to her sense of loss for my brother. 

I'm twice as old as I was then.  I have children of my own.  I now understand what was going on then.  I was never loved less, but I was the one that was there.  I was where I was supposed to be, and therefore I was not the one who was missed.  But that didn't mean she loved me any less, she just longed for my brother more because she couldn't have him at the time.

Our Father in Heaven is precisely that -- our Father.  And our Father longs greatly for His lost children.  Whenever a feeling of righteousness rises up in my throat, that is what I have to remind myself.  I am a sinner.  I repent.  I am forgiven.  But many others are sinners that have not repented and who are not yet forgiven.  The Lord would want us to dine with them.  He would want us to try to bring them home, instead of looking down our noses at them. 

I am so thankful that I am not the prodigal son, because I have salvation already.  The Holy Spirit fills me.  The bible and these studies are food for my soul.  I have a feeling of purpose and love and support in my life that I simply couldn't have without Jesus Christ.  So I will aim to keep my spirit full with the Holy Spirit and to share this amazing feeling with those who don't yet know it.

Psalm 66:1 - 20
66 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will you what he did for me. 
 Come and listen, and I will tell you what he did for me.  Come and listen!

The Lord gives my life fullness and purpose and security.  I have no fears because I know that the Lord will always be there for me.  The fact that fear has been released from me is such a burden lifted. 

No matter what happens to me, the Lord will be there with me -- providing for me and family and protecting us.  Whatever happens -- no matter how Satan interferes with my life -- the Lord will turn it into something great.  Tragedy might strike, but with the Lord I will come out stronger than ever. 

No matter what happens in this life, I have an eternal life waiting that is free of any sorrow whatsoever.

Salvation truly sets you free.  So come and listen to what the Lord has done for me. 

I am no one special, but the Lord still loves me as His own child.  He loves you as His own child.  So come and listen to what the Lord has done for me. 

Embrace the Lord.  Embrace salvation and experience the same freedom. 

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