Archive | April, 2012

Debt Free Lives, Part 3

20 Apr

(continued from Debt Free Lives, Part 2)
God was serious about payment of sin debt and we seem to know this. We sing about  it with all the gusto and conviction we can muster:

– “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound… I once was lost, but now am found… Was blind, but now I see…”  Then WHY do we stay lost and blind?
– In Christ Alone – vs 3 “Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me for I am his and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!”  Sin has lost it’s grip, but we do not always want to let go.
– “Give us Clean Hands, give us pure hearts…..” , with the option to dirty them later?
– “The Power of Your Love… Let my heart be changed renewed. Living everyday by the power of your love.” . But only when it is comfortable and certainly not on the weekends?
– “Made To Worship… We are forgiven and free. When we embrace surrender and choose to believe then we will see who we were meant to be.”

We know the truth. We speak the truth. We just do not always live it.

We know that God has made provision for us when we sin. John 3:16-17, “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.”  What we need to grasp is that God has also made provision for us to live holy lives. Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us the battle plan, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

We must never get the idea that we can somehow work for our salvation or earn our own freedom, but we must take an active role in the grace plan that God has given us. If we decide that we are just going to live like the world and then cash in our “Get our of Jail Free” card at the end of the game, we are missing out on the abundant life that God has for us and we have not taken seriously the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our salvation. The true revelation of what Jesus did for us should drive us to our knees in humble worship and should drive us to a life of obedience. As James 1:22 explains, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We want to have a life of faith. We want the abundant life and a life that is free and full of joyful obedience.  We can all say, “Yes! This is what we want”, but we find it so hard to live it everyday. As CFOers, I think we can agree that are able to do pretty good at CFO and maybe a few days following, but then we slip back into the normal routine and trappings of life. We forget what we have learned or we have not learned it well. CFOers have a unique tool to help in the journey to live the life that God calls us to live. This does not mean that CFOers are perfect or that the program is a magical formula to make our lives perfect. It simply means that this is a good tool or road map to help us run the race set before us, as Paul describes it. It makes me think of a Swiss Army knife. It can do many jobs, but alone, it will not fix the car. CFO is a tool that will help us do many jobs, but it won’t give us salvation. Only God can to that.

Debt Free Lives, Part 2

19 Apr

(continued from Debt Free Lives, Part 1)
Having identified sin for what it is and the virtual impossibility of change, what is the point of change and how dare we imply that change is possible? The fact is that living a sin free life is not a concept that is new with this book. God clearly stated, way back in Leviticus 11:44 and many other places, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”  It says in Hebrews 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” If God said it, there must be a way. Right?

Romans 6:1-18 addresses the idea of fighting the desire and temptation to sin, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

“Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”  (New Living Translation)

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