Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Law and Gospel

The Bible begins with the declaration that, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth”(Genesis 1:1).

God has made the whole universe out of nothing through the power of His Word, and through the power of His Word He holds the entire universe together. He has made each one of us individually and in Him we all “live and move and exist”(Acts 17:28). We are always in God’s hand and under His eye.  As our Creator, God has the absolute right to command us how to live our lives. God is perfect and He commands us to be morally perfect. God’s commandments are given to show us His holy character and His standards for a right relationship with Him. Let’s examine some of God’s commandments.

God’s Moral Law:

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
Have you always loved God more than anyone or anything else? The Bible says to love God with everything you think, everything you feel, and everything you do—to love God so much that your love for your parents, brothers and sisters, friends, and even your own life is like hatred compared to your love for God. Have you ever failed to love God, as God deserves?

2. You shall not make for yourself any idol.
Who is God in your opinion? Do you think that God is only a god who loves and that God would never punish anyone for breaking God’s Law? If that is your idea of God, then you are correct. The god that you are thinking about could not punish anyone for breaking God’s Law, because that god is not real. You have created a god in your own mind that you are happier with than the real God. You may call it your “personal belief,” but the real God calls it idolatry. The Bible warns that idolaters will come into God’s kingdom- that they will be kept outside of God’s kingdom forever as punishment for breaking God’s Law.

3. You shall not take the name of God in vain.
Have you ever used God's name as a curse word? Have you ever said “O God!” or “Jesus Christ!” when you were not praying or telling others about God, but only out of anger? If you have, then you have taken the name of God-- who gave you your life, your family, and everything else that you love-- and you have used God’s name as a curse word. Hitler's name was not even hated enough to be used as a curse word! If you have used God's name in that way, you are a blasphemer and the Bible says “God will not hold him guiltless who takes the name of the Lord in vain,” (Exodus 20:7).

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
God commands that we worship God one day in seven. Have you ever been guilty of breaking this Commandment in God’s Law?

5. Honor your father and your mother.
Have you always respected your parents in all of your actions? Ask God to remind you of the disrespectful actions that you did as child. You may have forgotten them, but God has not.

6. You shall not murder.
The Bible warns, “Whoever is angry with his brother without cause, is in danger of judgment,” (Matthew 5:22) and the Bible also says, “He who hates his brother is a murderer,” (1 John 3:15). God sees hatred in the heart to be as wrong as murder. We can break this command in God’s Law by how we feel and how we think about other people.

7. You shall not commit adultery.
The Bible warns, “You have heard… ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” (Matthew 5:28).Have you ever looked at another person with wrong desires? The Bible says that adulterers and fornicators (those who have had sex before marriage) will not come into God’s kingdom.

8. You shall not steal.
Have you ever stolen anything (even if it was something small)? The price of the thing stolen does not matter; petty theft is still theft. Have you ever taken anything that someone else owned without permission (from the office, school, parents, etc.)? If you have, then you are a thief and you have broken God’s command not to steal.

9. You shall not lie.
Have you ever told a lie? If you have, then you are a liar. How many murders do you have to commit to be a murderer? Just one. If you have told even one lie, that makes you a liar. The Bible warns that all liars will be separated from God’s love forever and punished for breaking God’s Law. You may not think that lying is a serious sin, but God does.

10. You shall not covet.
This means that we should never desire anything that belongs to another person. Not their house, nor their car, nor their money, nor their wife, nor their lifestyle, nor anything that belongs to our neighbor.Have you ever broken this commandment?

An honest self-assessment must reveal that you have broken God's Law.
As a lawbreaker, the Bible teaches that God will punish all lawbreakers.
The place of God's punishment for lawbreakers is called Hell.

Please take the time to read what the Bible says that Hell is like:
The Bible refers to the punishment of lawbreakers with such fearful words as the following:
•“Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2)
•“Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46)
•“Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51)
•“Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17)
•“Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9)
•“Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
•“Eternal fire...the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 7,13)
Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night."

According to the Bible, you are not a good person who occasionally messes up and does something wrong, like all of us, you are a sinner by nature and by choice and there is nothing that you can do or try to do for yourself that can put you right or bring you into God’s favor. As a sinner, your relationship to God is the relationship of a convicted criminal before a good judge and He must give you the punishment that you deserve- eternity in Hell. You need a new relationship with God through a moral and spiritual re-creation, what the prophet Ezekiel spoke about when he talked about God giving a ‘new heart,’ and what Jesus spoke about when He said we must be born again.

Christ’s Saving Work (the Gospel):

Jesus Christ, the Son of God (also called “the Word”), became a human being after God the Father Almighty sent the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary, as the Bible says in John 1:1,14,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus lived the only absolutely perfect human life, perfectly keeping all of God’s commands that we have failed to keep.

Jesus took the guilt for our lawbreaking on Himself. Jesus was arrested and He was condemned to be crucified on false charges during the government of Pontius Pilate. On the cross, Jesus died as a substitute for lawbreakers, taking all of the suffering, death and punishment in Hell that lawbreakers deserve.

Jesus was buried and on the third day after His death, He rose again from the grave, proving Himself to be the champion over death and Hell, offering you life and freedom from the guilt of lawbreeaking and the tendencies you have to break God's Law if you will believe in Him.

Jesus ascended into heaven and now is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, freely offering new, eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.

Jesus will someday return to earth and judge the living and the dead based on their faith in Him. If you have trusted in Jesus, then you will be found innocent in God’s sight based on the perfection of Jesus and you will live with Him in the eternal joy of heaven. If you have rejected Jesus, you will be judged guilty as a lawbreaker and an enemy of God and you will suffer forever in the eternal punishment of Hell.

Your Response to the Gospel:

God has promised to give eternal life to anyone who believes in Jesus and calls out to Him asking to be saved: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:9-10,13).

I urge you, dear reader, call out to God today, praying for salvation from lawbreaking and death. Confess that you are a lawbreaker, that there is nothing that you can do to save yourself, and that you need Jesus Christ come into your life to save you from your lawbreaking. Tell God the laws that you have broken that you have been reminded of as you have examined God's commandments. Then repent of your lawbreaking, turning away from a life of lawbreaking and shame before God and submitting to Jesus Christ as the Master of your life. Place your faith in Jesus, fully trusting in Him to save you from sin, death, and Hell and to give you eternal life in Heaven.

Pray to God to save you today- there is no better time. As the Bible says (II Corinthians 6:2),
"Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation."

[This blogpost was first published on 9/1/05. Sections of the above text on "God's Moral Law" were adapted from the Way of the Master website.]



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