Tag Archives: the wages of sin

Jeremiah 30-31; Freedom

The United States of America is celebrating our independence today. A relatively young nation compared to others in the world, we have had our share of successes and failures. We’ve done some things really well. We’ve also made some major mistakes. But this nation, founded as a nation under God, is still the greatest nation in the world. Our freedom, bought at great sacrifice, is nothing to take for granted.

Jeremiah speaks of another freedom not to be taken for granted. As he was writing about Israel’s enemy, the fact that Israel’s allies had forgotten them, and the realization that their enemy had delivered an incurable wound, I am reminded the same is true for us.

Satan has declared war on our souls, and would inflict injury beyond healing (30:12). In fact, left to our own devices, that wound is fatal. (the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23) But God, through Jesus, has set us free from the bondage of sin and death!

Jeremiah goes on to tell Israel how God will rescue them, and in doing so tells us the spiritual victory we have over Satan. If you have a few minutes, look up these verses which reinforce the freedom we have in Christ Jesus:

John 8:36; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 8:32; Romans 8:2; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:6-7.

Don’t these verses thrill your soul and cause you to want to celebrate your freedom in Christ with fireworks? Remember, the freedom we enjoy in the USA was anything but free. Countless man and women have shed their precious blood so that we can enjoy life in the US as free citizens. And remember, the freedom from the power of sin was bought with the precious blood of Jesus, once and for all.

It would be silly to live in the US and reject the freedom that being a citizen affords us. It’s tragic to live in the world and reject the freedom that accepting Jesus’ work on the cross affords all who believe.

Happy Fourth of July. God bless America. God bless you!

 

Esther; An Edict Not Revoked

Whenever I read this book I wonder, when I get to the part where the king who condemned all Jews to death, why he doesn’t just rescind his order and let them live once he discovers the truth. Why doesn’t he send out an updated edict and let the Jews off the hook? Instead, he gives the Jews a way to survive the death sentence.

Today Warren Wiresbe (With the Word Bible Handbook) put a light on the subject that helps me see things a bit more clearly. If you have read other posts of mine you know my strong conviction that all Scripture is given us by our loving Heavenly Father for the expressed purpose of revealing Himself to us. So what can a book that doesn’t even mention His Name teach us about God?

His Sovereignty. His dealing with prideful people. The fact He blesses obedience. And this:

JESUS!

Dr. Wiresbe reminded me God, from the time of Adam and Eve, has proclaimed an edict: Sin requires a death penalty. ALL sin, every sin comes with a deadly price tag whether we think that’s fair or not. And God is not going to revoke that edict.

Every impure thought, every vulgar word, every unkind action, all disobedience condemns you. You’re not going to talk God out of it, either.

Just like the Jews in Esther’s day were condemned to die, we are condemned to an eternity of death, separated from God.  But God provided a way for us to survive. He didn’t revoke the edict – He FULFILLED it! Jesus died so we don’t have to. That was our death sentence Jesus took on Himself.

Now here’s the other thing: The king didn’t write the new edict allowing the Jews to be saved, then lock the paper up in a vault. He sent couriers out into the land to tell the good news to everyone!

We need to be doing that, too. Your neighbor, your brother-in-law, your co-worker might need to know that they have a death sentence hanging over their heads, and that salvation is their’s for the asking! Jesus paid what they cannot pay. And they can have eternal life through the precious blood of their Savior.

Our Holy God cannot rescind the edict. Sin=Death. But Praise God that He Himself provided a way of salvation from the penalty of death my sin requires. I live because Jesus died. Praise God.

He did the same for you!

Judges 9; What Will People Say?

Abimelech was not a nice guy. Not only did he weasel his way into become king, he hired some low-lifes to be his muscle. I guess he gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Then to top it off, he killed his seventy brothers, one at a time, gruesomely, and very publicly. You didn’t mess with Abimelech. Violence accompanied his “reign.” They were into idol worship, leaving God entirely out of their lives.

Now here’s what spoke to me today: When Abimelech was dying, his only thought was, “What will people say about me?” The most important thing to him as he entered eternity was that no one could say he’d been killed by a girl. No regret for an evil life. No repentance. Just what will people say?

Sometimes I think we give too much thought about what people think about us. We have to be politically correct, we want to blend in, we don’t point out sin for fear someone won’t like us. And there are some who live like Abimelech, as though they have no eternal souls, as though there is no God to whom they will be accountable.

Abimelech’s story is tragic. And right this minute, he is living a horrible consequence for his choices made thousands of years ago. He now knows that living a sinful, ego driven life isn’t worth it. Oh, he believes in a Holy God right now. But it’s too late.

Friend, where are your priorities? Are they made with an eye on people, or position, or lifestyle? Or are they made with an eye on eternity?

Because in eternity it won’t matter what people are saying about you. It will only matter what God says about your relationship with Him.

Black and White

Saul meant well. He didn’t want to go into battle without going to the LORD first, but Samuel wasn’t there at the time. (I Samuel 13). What would be the harm in making the sacrifice himself? After all, he was king, wasn’t he?

Saul’s reign over Israel was blessed by God for only two years before Saul tried to go around God’s rules, rules that Saul knew and understood. After only two years, God announced that he had given the kingdom to someone else as a direct result of Saul’s disobedience.

But wasn’t Saul’s heart in the right place? It’s not like he was sacrificing to an idol. What should it matter who lit the fire on the altar? Wasn’t God a bit harsh?

Here’s what I believe God would have us understand: You’ll never hear him say, “I’ll go ahead and overlook that sin because you meant well,” or “because you were sincere,” or “because you’re a good person.” God’s law is black and white, and he’s very honest about that.

In fact, God’s black and white consideration of sin in the only fair way. His demands aren’t one thing for you and something different for me. Sin is no different today than it was fifty, or a thousand years ago. We never have to guess at what is and isn’t considered sin.

And the wages of sin is death every time. (Romans 6:23). Every sin comes with a death penalty price tag no matter who you are or how sincere you are or how nice you are. Hear God tell us that EVERY sin requires the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 9:22)

And here’s the good news: Jesus shed his own blood to pay that price tag for you. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Don’t try to get around it. There is no other way under heaven that can save a soul. No matter how special you think you are, you need Jesus.

Jesus promises to forgive you, to give you what his blood bought for you IF you ask him. Read his Word. It’s there in black and white.

Dear Jesus, thank you for shedding your blood for the forgiveness of sin. I pray for those reading this blog today who know you as Savior. May we be convinced of your Truth. And may you give us the strength and commitment to stand for what you have inspired men to write in your Holy Word. I pray for any reading this who have not asked you to forgive them. I pray that they will realize their need, and turn to you according to your Word. Thank you for being fair, for requiring the same of all of us. And thank you for being that requirement for us all.