Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

Matthew 7

Matthew 7 has Jesus teaching some powerful truths.  He begins warning us about judging others.  “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you”.  We need to think twice before judging someone else.  We’re quick to do it because it takes the light off us.  But Jesus goes on to ask “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye….first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”.

 

We need to start by looking inward before we lash outward.  Jesus goes on to tell us about the power we have through prayer.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;  knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened”.  Talk about an amazing prayer promise.  Jesus makes it clear that when we ask, seek and knock, it won’t be in vain.  God will hear our request and answer.  He’ll show us what we are looking for.  He’ll show up and let us come to His throne with our requests.  Prayer works.  Always.

That said, Christ also makes it clear that there are some true gates that will make it difficult for us to get into heaven.  In fact, on our own, we aren’t going to make it.  We’ll never be that good as God demands holiness and righteousness and we fall short.  He does give us some guidance for how to live – the golden rule – “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them”.  Basic truth but so important for us to understand and live by.  But back to the future and our standing before God, Jesus says this: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”.

Heaven is an amazing place, but getting in won’t be easy.  We’ll stand before a perfect and holy God and have to give account.  Jesus tells us that we’ll be known by the fruit of our life.  It won’t we what we say – it will be based on how we have lived.  “You will recognize them by their fruits….Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”.  God will clean house and not let everyone enter.  If our life has not been bearing good fruit, we’ll not gain entry.

The truth Jesus tells us is that “Not everyone who  says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will  enter the kingdom of heaven….many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord….then will I declare to them, ‘I  never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness”.  Our words aren’t going to be our ticket into eternal life with the Father.  What will is how we have lived and addressed the sin problem we have in our life.  We will never be good enough to enter.  It is only by having the blood of Jesus cover our sin that we’ll be able to enter heaven on that judgment day.  Jesus is the only ticket that will work for entry.  Have you received His offer of grace where He went to the cross to cover your sin?  If not, now is the time to make sure you are ready!

Jeremiah 18

Jeremiah 18 has our prophet getting some lessons at the potter’s house.  God’s word came to him as he watches and learns from the potter who is working at his wheel.  “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words”.  Jeremiah does and enters the house to see the potter create something that didn’t turn out as desired, so he reworked it into another vessel.  God gives Jeremiah the first of His words: “can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord.  Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand”.  The truth is clear that God is the Author of life.  God is sovereign and has the right to do whatever He wishes with us.  But He wants to created good.

God gives Jeremiah two possible outcomes for people.  The first was “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will  pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it”.  God is a God of restoration.  If we repent and turn from our sin, He’s there to bring us to Himself and set us free from the bad outcome that would happen as a result of sin.  He wants us to be restored to Him.  Jesus is the way we can get to God.

On the other hand, Jeremiah receives these words for the opposite response.  “And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will  build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it”.  The hard lesson here is that sin carries a price, no matter at what point it happens.  The requirement is clear: “Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds”.  God’s requirements aren’t changing.  Sin will be dealt with.  The only hope is for us to confess, repent and receive His gift of salvation through Christ.

Unfortunately, the people in Jeremiah’s time are in the same place much of our world is today.  “We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to  the stubbornness of his evil heart”.  We’re not listening to God or anyone else for that matter.  We will do what we want and feels good, without regard to what might be the outcome.  “My people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods”.  This doesn’t play well with God.  We are not in charge.  And there is a price to pay for our stubbornness.  “Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy.  I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity”.  We must not forget God, nor the consequences of our sinful choices.  There is a payment coming.  We need to seek His face, confess our sin, repent and seek His salvation!

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