Tag Archives: righteousness of god

John MacArthur – Be Slow to Anger

 

“Let everyone be . . . slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

If you resent God’s Word, you cannot grow in righteousness.

Have you ever started reading your Bible, thinking everything was fine between you and the Lord, only to have the Word suddenly cut deep into your soul to expose some sin you had neglected or tried to hide? That commonly happens because God seeks to purge sin in His children. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to penetrate the hidden recesses of the heart to do His convicting and purifying work. How you respond to that process is an indicator of the genuineness of your faith.

“Anger” in James 1:19-20 refers to a negative response to that process. It is a deep internal resentment accompanied by an attitude of rejection. Sometimes that resentment can be subtle. Paul described those who “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3). They’re the people who drift from church to church in search of someone who will tell them what they want to hear—or a congregation that wants a pastor who will make them feel good about themselves instead of preaching the Word and setting a high standard of holiness.

Sometimes resentment toward the Word ceases to be subtle and turns to open hostility. That happened when the crowd Stephen confronted covered their ears, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60). Countless others throughout history have felt the fatal blows of those whose resentment of God’s truth turned to hatred for His people.

Receiving the Word includes being quick to hear what it says and slow to anger when it disagrees with your opinions or confronts your sin. Is that your attitude? Do you welcome its reproof and heed its warnings, or do you secretly resent it? When a Christian brother or sister confronts a sin in your life, do you accept or reject their counsel?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the power of His Word to convict you and drive you to repentance. Welcome its correction with humility and thanksgiving.

For Further Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5, noting the charge Paul gave to Timothy and his reason for giving it.

John MacArthur –Receiving the Word

 

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).

True believers receive God’s Word.

The key word in today’s passage is “receive” (James 1:21). Believers are to receive God’s Word. That’s what distinguishes them from unbelievers. Jesus said to a group of religious unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:43, 47).

“Hear” in those verses doesn’t refer to hearing with the ear only. Jesus’ audience heard in that sense—even to the point of wanting to kill Him for what He said (v. 59)—but they didn’t receive and obey His words. By rejecting the truth, they proved themselves to be children of the devil, who is the father of lies (v. 44).

Peter called God’s Word the imperishable, living, and abiding seed that brings salvation (1 Peter 1:21). But receiving God’s Word isn’t limited to salvation alone. As a Christian, you have the Word implanted within you. Now you must nurture it by removing the weeds of filthiness and wickedness so it can produce the fruit of righteousness. That isn’t a one-time effort, but a lifestyle of confession, looking into God’s Word, desiring His message, and longing to obey it. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sinlessly perfect, but your life will be marked by ever-increasing spiritual maturity and obedience to the Word. When you are disobedient, you should feel an enormous tension in your spirit until you repent and make things right.

Are you hearing and receiving God’s Word in that way? Do those who know you best see you as a person whose life is governed by biblical principles? Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Receive His truth and abide in it continually!

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to keep you sensitive to His Word in every situation you face today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14, noting the Thessalonians’ response to God’s Word.

Charles Spurgeon – Christ—our substitute

 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 53:10-12

In no sense is he ever a guilty man, but always is he an accepted and a holy one. What, then, is the meaning of that very forcible expression of my text? We must interpret Scriptural modes of expression by the words of the speakers. We know that our Master once said himself, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood;” he did not mean that the cup was the covenant. He said, “Take, eat, this is my body”—none of us conceives that the bread is the literal flesh and blood of Christ. We take that bread as if it were the body, and it actually represents it. Now, we are to read a passage like this, according to the analogy of faith. Jesus Christ was made by his Father sin for us, that is, he was treated as if he had himself been sin. He was not sin; he was not sinful; he was not guilty; but, he was treated by his Father, as if he had not only been sinful, but as if he had been sin itself. That is a strong expression used here. Not only has he made him to be the substitute for sin, but to be sin. God looked on Christ as if Christ had been sin; not as if he had taken up the sins of his people, or as if they were laid on him, though that were true, but as if he himself had positively been that noxious—that God-hating—that soul-damning thing, called sin. When the judge of all the earth said, “Where is sin?” Christ presented himself. He stood before his Father as if he had been the accumulation of all human guilt; as if he himself were that thing which God cannot endure, but which he must drive from his presence for ever.

For meditation: God regarded Christ crucified just as if he were sin, not Son. The substitutionary atonement is the key which enables the Christian to make use of the description “Just as if I’d never sinned.”

Sermon no. 310

16 April (Preached 15 April 1860)

Alistair Begg – Why Are You Upset?

 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Mourning Christian, why are you weeping? Are you mourning over your own sins and failings? Look to your perfect Lord, and remember, you are complete in Him. You are in God’s sight as perfect as if you had never sinned; more than that, the Lord our Righteousness has clothed you with a royal robe of righteousness, which is wholly undeserved–you have the righteousness of God.

You who are mourning by reason of inbred sin and depravity, remember, none of your sins can condemn you. You have learned to hate sin; but you have also learned how that sin is not yours–it was laid upon Christ’s head. Your standing is not in yourself–it is in Christ. Your acceptance is not in yourself, but in your Lord; you are just as accepted by God today, with all your sinfulness, as you will be when you stand before His throne, free from all corruption.

So I urge you, take hold of this precious thought–perfection in Christ! For you are “complete in him.”1 With your Savior’s garment on, you are as holy as the Holy One. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”2

Christian, let your heart rejoice, for you are “accepted in the beloved”3–what do you have to fear? Keep a smile on your face! Live near your Master; live in the suburbs of the Heavenly City; for soon, when your time has come, you will rise up to where Jesus sits and reign at His right hand; and all because the Lord Jesus was made “to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

1) Colossians 2:10, KJV   2) Romans 8:34    3) Ephesians 1:6

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Our Daily Bread — And Then You Laugh

 

 

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
Bible in a Year: Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

 

[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. —2 Corinthians 5:21

Noise. Vibration. Pressure. Fireball. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield used these words to describe being launched into space. As the rocket raced toward the International Space Station, the weight of gravity increased and breathing became difficult. Just when he thought he would pass out, the rocket made a fiery breakthrough into weightlessness. Instead of lapsing into unconsciousness, he broke into laughter.

His description made me think of the days leading to my mother’s death. The heaviness of life kept increasing until she no longer had the strength to breathe. She was then released from her pain and broke free into the “weightlessness” of heaven. I like to think of her laughing when she took her first breath in Jesus’ presence.

On the Friday we call “good,” something similar happened to Jesus. God placed on Him the weight of the entire world’s sin—past, present, and future—until He could no longer breathe. Then He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit’ ” (Luke 23:46). After being suffocated by our sin, Jesus received back from God the life entrusted to Him and now lives where sin and death have no power. All who trust Christ will one day join Him, and I wonder if we’ll look back at this life and laugh. —Julie Ackerman Link

Father in heaven, words cannot describe our gratitude for Your Son Jesus, who bore the weight of our sins. Thank You that to be absent from this body with its heavy burdens is to be present with You forever.

The sacrifice of Jesus points us to the joy of heaven.

INSIGHT: Paul uses metaphors such as “earthen vessels,” “earthly house,” and “tent” (2 Cor. 4:7; 5:1) to contrast the frailty and mortality of our earthly existence with the indestructibility, immortality, and glory of our resurrection bodies. When a believer dies, the body goes to the grave, becoming dust (Gen. 3:19; Job 34:15; Eccl. 3:20), but the spirit goes to be with Christ (Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21–25). When Jesus Christ returns for His own (John 14:3), our body and spirit shall be raised together for a glorious eternity with God (5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:50-53; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16–18).

John MacArthur – Matching Your Practice to Your Position

 

God chose us “that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).

The challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match your practice to your position.

God chose you in Christ to make you holy and blameless in His sight. To be “holy” is to be separated from sin and devoted to righteousness. To be “blameless” is to be pure without spot or blemish—like Jesus, the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).

Ephesians 1:4 is a positional statement. That is, Paul describes how God views us “in Christ.” He sees us as holy and blameless because Christ our Savior is holy and blameless. His purity is credited to our spiritual bank account. That’s because God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Despite our exalted position in God’s sight, our practice often falls far short of His holy standard. Therefore the challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match our practice to our position, realizing that sinless perfection won’t come until we are in heaven fully glorified (Rom. 8:23).

How do you meet that challenge? By prayer, Bible study, and yielding your life to the Spirit’s control. Commit yourself to those priorities today as you seek to fulfill the great purpose to which you’ve been called: “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank God that He does not expect you to earn your own righteousness but has provided it in His Son.

Ask His Spirit to search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder your growth in holiness. Confess that sin and take any steps necessary to eliminate it from your life.

For Further Study; Read Philippians 1:9-11.

What ingredients must be added to Christian love to produce sincerity and blamelessness?

What is the primary source of those ingredients (see Ps. 119:97-105)?

What specific steps are you going to take to add or increase those ingredients in your life?

Our Daily Bread — Walking Billboards

Our Daily Bread

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

We are ambassadors for Christ. —2 Corinthians 5:20

Pete Peterson’s first contact with Vietnam was in the Vietnam War. During a bombing raid in 1966, his plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner. Over 30 years later he returned as US Ambassador to Vietnam. One press article called him “a walking billboard for reconciliation.” He realized years ago that God had not saved his life for him to live in anger. Because he believed this, he used the rest of his life and his position to make a difference by pushing for better safety standards for children in Vietnam.

It is a great responsibility and honor to be appointed as a representative of your country to another. As followers of Christ we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Just as God sent Christ to reconcile us to Himself (v.18), we now have the ministry of “reconciliation” (v.19). Our message is that all can be redeemed in Christ because God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (v.21).

In response to the reconciling love Jesus offers us, we can share that love with others. Let’s take our role seriously. Wherever God places us in this world, He can use us as walking billboards of reconciliation for Jesus Christ. —C. P. Hia

I am a stranger here, within a foreign land;

My home is far away, upon a golden strand,

Ambassador to be of realms beyond the sea,

I’m here on business for the King! —Cassel

Good news kept silent is no news at all.

Bible in a year: Psalms 94-96; Romans 15:14-33

Insight

The Christian life is one of transformation. This is described for us in verse 17 of today’s text. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We are reconciled with God and have become new creatures—His ambassadors. As His ambassadors, we are called to present Christ to the world around us because of the wonder of what He did for us: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (vv.20-21).

 

Charles Spurgeon – Substitution

CharlesSpurgeon

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 2:18-25

Of this God in Christ, our text says that he knew no sin. It does not say that he did not sin; that we know: but it says more than that; he did not know sin; he knew not what sin was. He saw it in others, but he did not know it by experience. He was a perfect stranger to it. It is not barely said, that he did not take sin into his heart, but he did not know it. It was no acquantance of his. He was the acquaintance of grief; but he was not the acquaintance of sin. He knew no sin of any kind,—no sin of thought, no sin of birth, no original, no actual transgression; no sin of lip, or of hand, did ever Christ commit. He was pure, perfect, spotless; like his own divinity, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. This gracious person, is he who is spoken of in the text. He was a person utterly incapable of committing anything that was wrong. It has been asserted lately, by some ill-judged one, that Christ was capable of sin. I think it was Irving who started some such idea, that if Christ was not capable of sinning, he could not have been capable of virtue. “For,” say they, “if a man must necessarily be good, there is no virtue in his goodness.” Away with their ridiculous nonsense! Is not God necessarily good? And who dares deny that God is virtuous? Are not the glorified spirits in heaven necessarily pure? And yet are they not holy because of that very necessity? Are not the angels, now that they are confirmed, necessarily faultless? And shall any one dare to deny angelic virtue! The thing is not true; it needs no freedom in order to create virtue. Freedom and virtue generally go together; but necessity and virtue are as much brother and sister as freedom and virtue. Jesus Christ was not capable of sin.

For meditation: It would have been awful for the sinless Christ to suffer just for one sin of one man. But for him to suffer for all the sins of a countless multitude past, present and future must have been appalling beyond all imagination. How God must hate sin! How he must love poor sinners! Did Christ die for you (Galatians 2:20)?

Sermon nos. 141-142

19 July (1857)

Alistair Begg – The Foundation of Our Faith

Alistair Begg

But God’s firm foundation stands. 2 Timothy 2:19

The foundation upon which our faith rests is this, that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”1 The great fact on which genuine faith relies is that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,”2 and that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God”;3 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree”;4 “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”5 In one word, the great pillar of the Christian’s hope is substitution.

The vicarious sacrifice of Christ for the guilty, Christ being made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, Christ offering up a true and proper expiatory and substitutionary sacrifice in the room, place, and stead of as many as the Father gave Him, who are known to God by name and are recognized in their own hearts by their trusting in Jesus—this is the cardinal fact of the Gospel. If this foundation were removed, what could we do? But it stands firm as the throne of God. We know it; we rest on it; we rejoice in it; and our delight is to hold it, to meditate upon it, and to proclaim it, while we desire to be stirred and moved by gratitude for it in every part of our life and conversation.

In these days a direct attack is made upon the doctrine of the Atonement. Men cannot bear substitution. They gnash their teeth at the thought of the Lamb of God bearing the sin of man. But we, who know by experience the preciousness of this truth, will proclaim it confidently and unceasingly and in defiance of them. We will neither dilute it nor change it, nor distort it in any shape or fashion. It shall still be Christ, a positive substitute, bearing human guilt and suffering in the place of men. We cannot, dare not give it up, for it is our life, and despite every controversy we affirm that “God’s firm foundation stands.”

12 Corinthians 5:19 2John 1:14 31 Peter 3:18 41 Peter 2:24 5Isaiah 53:5

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

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The family reading plan for June 20, 2014 * Isaiah 53 * Matthew 1

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John MacArthur – Be Slow to Anger

John MacArthur

“Let everyone be . . . slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Have you ever started reading your Bible, thinking everything was fine between you and the Lord, only to have the Word suddenly cut deep into your soul to expose some sin you had neglected or tried to hide? That commonly happens because God seeks to purge sin in His children. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to penetrate the hidden recesses of the heart to do His convicting and purifying work. How you respond to that process is an indicator of the genuineness of your faith.

“Anger” in James 1:19-20 refers to a negative response to that process. It is a deep internal resentment accompanied by an attitude of rejection. Sometimes that resentment can be subtle. Paul described those who “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3). They’re the people who drift from church to church in search of someone who will tell them what they want to hear–or a congregation that wants a pastor who will make them feel good about themselves instead of preaching the Word and setting a high standard of holiness.

Sometimes resentment toward the Word ceases to be subtle and turns to open hostility. That happened when the crowd Stephen confronted covered their ears, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60). Countless others throughout history have felt the fatal blows of those whose resentment of God’s truth turned to hatred for His people.

Receiving the Word includes being quick to hear what it says and slow to anger when it disagrees with your opinions or confronts your sin. Is that your attitude? Do you welcome its reproof and heed its warnings, or do you secretly resent it? When a Christian brother or sister confronts a sin in your life, do you accept or reject their counsel?

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the power of His Word to convict you and drive you to repentance. Welcome its correction with humility and thanksgiving.

For Further Study: Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5, noting the charge Paul gave to Timothy and his reason for giving it.

John MacArthur – Receiving the Word

John MacArthur

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).

The key word in today’s passage is “receive” (James 1:21). Believers are to receive God’s Word. That’s what distinguishes them from unbelievers. Jesus said to a group of religious unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:43, 47).

“Hear” in those verses doesn’t refer to hearing with the ear only. Jesus’ audience heard in that sense–even to the point of wanting to kill Him for what He said (v. 59)–but they didn’t receive and obey His words. By rejecting the truth, they proved themselves to be children of the devil, who is the father of lies (v. 44).

Peter called God’s Word the imperishable, living, and abiding seed that brings salvation (1 Peter 1:21). But receiving God’s Word isn’t limited to salvation alone. As a Christian, you have the Word implanted within you. Now you must nurture it by removing the weeds of filthiness and wickedness so it can produce the fruit of righteousness. That isn’t a one-time effort, but a lifestyle of confession, looking into God’s Word, desiring His message, and longing to obey it. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sinlessly perfect, but your life will be marked by ever-increasing spiritual maturity and obedience to the Word. When you are disobedient, you should feel an enormous tension in your spirit until you repent and make things right.

Are you hearing and receiving God’s Word in that way? Do those who know you best see you as a person whose life is governed by biblical principles? Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Receive His truth and abide in it continually!

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Lord to keep you sensitive to His Word in every situation you face today.

For Further Study: Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14, noting the Thessalonians’ response to God’s Word.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Filled With Joy

ppt_seal01

Godliness is rarely mentioned today, but it should be the goal of every believer. Matthew records Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount to give you steps for that journey (Matthew 5:2-12). Acknowledge your sin and spiritual deficiency – be poor in spirit. Grieve over them – mourn and long for God’s forgiveness. Trust Him in every circumstance – show meekness. Long to do right – hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. Endeavor to do good – show mercy. Desire inward cleansing – seek to be pure in heart. Actively promote peace – be a peacemaker.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Matthew 5:12

What reward shall come to you? It may be persecution. “Oh, joy!” you say. And it should be! David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) suffered greatly, but in the midst of every calamity, he recounted his joy in the Lord. God’s mighty works in his life encouraged David to trust in the One who had always saved him. Joy filled his heart.

Take his attitude to heart, dear one. The June devotionals will remind you that joy is expected of you. Let your testimony and your prayers for yourself and this nation be filled with it.

Recommended Reading: Isaiah 55:6-12

Joyce Meyer – God Answers the Prayers of the Righteous

Joyce meyer

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. —James 5:16

When people struggle in their prayer lives, they often think it is because they are unholy and unrighteous so they try to behave better, hoping that then their prayers will be answered.

The truth is that if we are born again, we are righteous. We may not do everything right; but we are 100 percent righteous through Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (NKJV). There is a difference between righteousness and “right” behavior. Righteousness describes our standing—our position or condition before God—because of the blood of Jesus.

We cannot make ourselves righteous; only the blood of Jesus makes us righteous, as if we had never sinned at all. God views us as righteous even though we still make mistakes. Because He sees us as righteous, we have a God-given right to pray and expect God to hear and answer us. Always do the best you can to behave properly and do it because you love God, but remember that He hears and answers your prayers because He is good, not because you are.

God’s word for you today: You have been made righteous by the grace of God.

Charles Spurgeon – The silver trumpet

CharlesSpurgeon

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah1:18

Suggested Further Reading: Zechariah 3:1-6

When a man believes in Christ, he is in that moment, in God’s sight, as though he had never sinned in all his life. Nay, I will go further, he is that day in a better position than though he had never sinned; for if he had never sinned, he would have had the perfect righteousness of man; but by believing, he is made the righteousness of God in Christ. We had once a cloak that is taken away: when we believe, Christ gives us a robe; but it is an infinitely better one. We lost but a common garment, but he arrays us royally. Strangely indeed is that man clothed who believes in Jesus. Yon thief who is hanging on the cross, is black as hell: he believes, and he is as white as heaven’s own purity. Faith takes away all sin, through the precious blood of Jesus. When a man has once gone down into that sacred laver which is filled with Jesus’ blood, there “is no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” left upon him. His sin has ceased to be; his iniquity is covered; his transgressions have been carried into the wilderness, and are gone. This is the most wonderful thing about the gospel. This does not take away part of our sin, but the whole of it; it does not remove it partially, but entirely; not for a little time, but for ever. “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” And though today you should have committed every crime in the world, yet the moment you believe in Jesus, you are saved; the Spirit of God shall dwell in you to keep you from sin in the future, and the blood of Christ shall plead for you, that sin shall never be laid to your charge.

For meditation: How Satan must hate the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone! Never give him the satisfaction of seeing you grow weary of it. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

Sermon no. 366

24 March (1861)

 

Our Daily Bread — Buyer’s Remorse

Our Daily Bread

Genesis 3:1-8

He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. —Isaiah 61:10

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? I have. Just prior to making a purchase, I feel the surge of excitement that comes with getting something new. After buying the item, however, a wave of remorse sometimes crashes over me. Did I really need this? Should I have spent the money?

In Genesis 3, we find the first record of a buyer’s remorse. The whole thing began with the crafty serpent and his sales pitch. He persuaded Eve to doubt God’s Word (v.1). He then capitalized on her uncertainty by casting doubt on God’s character (vv.4-5). He promised that her eyes would “be opened” and she would become “like God” (v.5).

So Eve ate. Adam ate. And sin entered the world. But the first man and woman got more than they bargained for. Their eyes were opened all right, but they didn’t become like God. In fact, their first act was to hide from God (vv.7-8).

Sin has dire consequences. It always keeps us from God’s best. But God in His mercy and grace clothed Adam and Eve in garments made from animal skins (v.21)—foreshadowing what Jesus Christ would do for us by dying on the cross for our sins. His blood was shed so that we might be clothed with His righteousness—with no remorse! —Poh Fang Chia

Then will I set my heart to find

Inward adornings of the mind:

Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace,

These are the robes of richest dress. —Watts

The cross, which reveals the righteousness of God, provides that righteousness for mankind.

Bible in a year: Exodus 25-26; Matthew 20:17-34

 

John MacArthur – Matching Your Practice to Your Position

John MacArthur

God chose us “that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).

God chose you in Christ to make you holy and blameless in His sight. To be “holy” is to be separated from sin and devoted to righteousness. To be “blameless” is to be pure without spot or blemish–like Jesus, the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).

Ephesians 1:4 is a positional statement. That is, Paul describes how God views us “in Christ.” He sees us as holy and blameless because Christ our Savior is holy and blameless. His purity is credited to our spiritual bank account. That’s because God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Despite our exalted position in God’s sight, our practice often falls far short of His holy standard. Therefore the challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match our practice to our position, realizing that sinless perfection won’t come until we are in heaven fully glorified (Rom. 8:23).

How do you meet that challenge? By prayer, Bible study, and yielding your life to the Spirit’s control. Commit yourself to those priorities today as you seek to fulfill the great purpose to which you’ve been called: “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God that He does not expect you to earn your own righteousness but has provided it in His Son.

Ask His Spirit to search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder your growth in holiness. Confess that sin and take any steps necessary to eliminate it from your life.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 1:9-11

What ingredients must be added to Christian love to produce sincerity and blamelessness?

What is the primary source of those ingredients (see Ps. 119:97-105)?

What specific steps are you going to take to add or increase those ingredients in your life?

John MacArthur – Developing Practical Righteousness

John MacArthur

“Stand firm therefore . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).

We’ve seen the importance of putting on the breastplate of righteousness as protection against Satan’s attempts to pervert your thinking and emotions. But Scripture speaks of three kinds of righteousness: self-righteousness, imputed righteousness, and practical righteousness. Which did Paul have in mind in Ephesians 6:14?

Paul wasn’t speaking of self-righteousness because that is what the breastplate of righteousness is designed to protect you from. Self-righteousness deceives a person into thinking, I can please God and reach heaven on my own merit. But Isaiah said, “All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa. 64:6). Far from getting you to heaven, self- righteousness will condemn you to eternal hell because it rejects the merits of Christ’s atonement.

Similarly, Paul wasn’t speaking of imputed righteousness–the righteousness of Christ granted to every believer at the moment of salvation. It’s also called “positional righteousness” because it results from your position or standing in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Every believer is clothed in the garment of Christ’s righteousness. You don’t put that on. It’s already yours in Christ.

Only practical righteousness remains–that which flows from obedience to God’s Word. Although in God’s eyes you are righteous in Christ, you must also pursue righteous behavior. In other words, your practice should match your position. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:13). John added that “the one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

As you learn to live in obedience to God’s Word, you’ll be protected by the breastplate of righteousness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask the Spirit to help you search your heart and reveal any self-righteous attitudes that might be making you vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Confess them, then praise Christ for the true righteousness that is yours in Him.

For Further Study:

Read Romans 3:10-23. What kind of righteousness did Paul pursue?

 

 

Alistair Begg – Sick with Sin

Alistair Begg

‘I will; be clean.’  Mark 1:41

The primeval darkness heard God say, “Let there be light,” and immediately there was light. The word of the Lord Jesus is equal in majesty to that ancient word of power. Redemption, like creation, has its word of might. Jesus speaks, and it is done. Leprosy yielded to no human remedies, but it fled at once at the Lord’s “I will.” The disease exhibited no hopeful signs or tokens of recovery; nature contributed nothing to its own healing. But the unaided word effected the entire work on the spot and forever. The sinner is in a more miserable plight than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus, “imploring him and kneeling [say] to him . . .” Let him exercise what little faith he has, even though it should go no further than “If you will, you can make me clean.”

There need be no doubt as to the result of the application. Jesus heals all who come and casts out none. In reading the narrative in which our morning’s text occurs, it is worthy of careful consideration that Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus, far from chiding him, broke through the law Himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the leper, for while He cleansed him, He contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement.

Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in Himself He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. If only poor sinners would go to Jesus, believing in the power of His blessed substitutionary work, they would soon learn the power of His gracious touch. The hand that multiplied the loaves, that saved sinking Peter, that upholds afflicted saints, that crowns believers-that same hand will touch every seeking sinner and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, He looks, He touches us, and we live.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – You Are Everywhere You Go!

Joyce meyer

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. —2 Corinthians 5:21

What if everywhere you went, you ran into someone you didn’t like? Wouldn’t that be terrible? Oh no, you’d think, her again. You attend a party, and you have to endure her conversation and views. You go to church, and she’s sitting right beside you. What a bummer to have to spend so much time with this person, you think. Then it gets worse. There she is at the dinner table with you! She’s lounging by the pool; she’s even in your bed! She’s everywhere! That sounds pretty awful, but it is the exact situation you find yourself in if you don’t like yourself, because you are everywhere you go. You can’t get away from yourself, even for a second, so you are in for a sad life if you dread your own company. That much is pretty obvious.

But believe it or not, even though we can all agree that it makes no sense to live your life this way, I find that most people don’t like themselves. They may not even realize it, but some genuine soul-searching reveals the sad fact that they have rejected themselves and in some cases even hate themselves. I’ve come across a lot of people over the years, through my ministry and in day-to-day life, and I’m amazed at how few are truly at peace with themselves. Instead, they have declared war on themselves.

God wants you to love yourself, not in some wrong selfish or prideful way, but in a healthy way that truly understands how special you are to Him. As you begin to see yourself as God sees you, then not only will you love yourself, but you will have the confidence and faith to be a powerful force for good in the world.

Joyce Meyer – God’s Righteous Friend

Joyce meyer

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. —2 Corinthians 5:21

I cannot think of anything more awesome than being a friend of God. There is nothing I would rather hear God say than, “Joyce Meyer is My friend.” I do not want Him to say, “Joyce Meyer—knows all the prayer principles; she can quote dozens of Bible verses; she sounds very eloquent when she prays; but she really doesn’t know Me at all and we are not really friends.”

I want to know that God thinks of me as His friend, and I believe you long for Him to think of you that way, too. Through Jesus Christ, we have a right to be comfortable with God, to hear His voice, and to go boldly to the throne of grace to get the help we need in plenty of time to meet our needs and the needs of others (see Hebrews 4:16).

One of the best things you can ever do is to develop your friendship with God. Jesus has made you righteous through the blood He shed at the cross, so there is no reason you cannot approach God as boldly and as naturally as you would your best friend on Earth.

Remember, friendship with God takes an investment of time and energy to develop. But also remember that as your friendship deepens, your ability to hear God’s voice increases. A growing, vibrant, increasingly intimate friendship with God will naturally lead to increasingly effective communication with Him.

God’s word for you today: Make an effort to develop an increasingly intimate friendship with God today.