Salvation: Not An Attainment, But An Atonement

Salvation: Not An Attainment, But An Atonement

From the messages of Adrian RogersBIBLE MEDITATION
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT
When I was a little boy, I thought that God was like Santa Claus with a long beard sitting up in heaven—making a list and checking it twice, trying to find out if I was naughty or nice. Then when my life was over, I would face Him and He would pull out these massive scales and weigh my good works against my bad to see if I made it into heaven.

Do you know what this thinking did? It made me fearful that at the end of my life I would face God and He would say, “Adrian. I’m sorry, but according to My calculations, you didn’t make it.” Then, I would have to turn and ashamedly walk past family and friends.

Friend, maybe you even believe this, but let me set the record straight: Salvation is not an attainment, it is an atonement.

ACTION POINT
You cannot atone for your sins. You good works cannot do it. None of us could produce works good-enough and fast enough to atone for sin. Don’t even try. Rest in the finished work of the Cross.

Servanthood: Humility in Action

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”
Matthew 20:26-27

In God’s sight, greatness is marked by a humble, servant’s heart.

Bible commentator R.C.H. Lenski once wrote that God’s “great men are not sitting on top of lesser men, but bearing lesser men on their backs.” Jesus would have agreed with Lenski’s observation, but He did not see it as wrong to desire greater usefulness to God. Those standards of usefulness, however, are much more demanding than any worldly ideals for self-serving, domineering leadership. For example, Paul lists for us the high standards God has for church overseers (1 Tim. 3:1-7). God considers men great who are among those willing to be servants.

In Matthew 20:26-27, Jesus was speaking of genuine servanthood, not the “public servant” who merely uses his position to gain power and personal prestige. The original Greek word for “servant” referred to a person who did menial labor and was the lowest level of hired help. Jesus could have used a more noble word to denote obedient discipleship, but He picked this one (from which we get deacon) because it best described the selfless humility of one who served.

But in verse 27, Jesus intensifies His description of God’s way to greatness. He tells us if we want to be great in His kingdom, we must be willing to be slaves. Whereas servants had some personal freedom, slaves were owned by their masters and could go only where their masters allowed and do only what their masters wanted. The application for us as believers is that “whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8).

If you desire real spiritual greatness, you will be willing to work in the hard place, the lonely place, the place where you’re not appreciated. You’ll be willing to strive for excellence without becoming proud, and to endure suffering without getting into self-pity. It is to these godly attitudes and more that Christ will say, “Well done, good and faithful slave . . . enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).

Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you cultivate a servant’s heart.

For Further Study:
Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and make a list of the qualifications for an overseer (elder). Meditate on the implications of each trait, and write down ways in which humility relates to these leadership qualities.

(From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com.)

Preparing Your Heart for Resurrection

Preparing Your Heart for Resurrection
by Spiros Zodhiates

(Bible verse added)
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

When you’re expecting important company at your house what happens? Women bustle about, cleaning, cooking, and setting things to rights. Men shave and put on a clean shirt-maybe even a nicer outfit. If it’s a rich relative you expect, his or her picture is prominently displayed in the living room. Everybody’s on their best behavior.

But let me ask you a very frank question. What kind of home do you have when company isn’t there? Does it have a loving, pleasant atmosphere, or a censorious, faultfinding one? Is it a bit of heaven on earth, or a living hell? Does company like to come to your house, or do they dread having to visit you? Remember, your home is what it is to a great extent because of what you are. Be honest about it-because a very important guest is knocking at your door, as He did once long ago at a home in Bethany.

My Wife’s Belt

I just finished up this belt for my wife this evening. She’ll be wearing tomorrow so this less-than-ideal photo may be the only one I get to take any time soon. The stamps are Hides to Art matching cross basket and border. This is my first experience with HTA’s tools and I’m really fond of them; I figure I’ll add more as I am able (no affiliation with them, just a happy customer). The finish is EcoFlo Timber Brown with a diluted Briar Brown wash and finished off with brown Kiwi shoe polish. The belt buckle is a recycled brass one, from the belt this one will replace.

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Head-Belief Is One Thing–Action Is Another!

Head-Belief Is One Thing–Action Is Another!

BIBLE MEDITATION
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” Colossians 1:21-22

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT
A man stretched a tightrope across Niagara Falls and pushed a wheelbarrow across it. Next, he filled the wheelbarrow with 200 lbs. of cement and pushed it across. The onlookers were astounded.

Then the tightrope walker asked the crowd, “How many of you believe I could do this with a man in the wheelbarrow?” The hands flew into the air. He pointed to a man who had his hand up and he said, “All right sir. You get in first.” Well, you couldn’t see the man for the trail of dust he left behind.

ACTION POINT
It’s not enough for you to say you believe in God. Are you willing to act upon your belief? God is calling you to a relationship with Him. Will you answer His call?

The Poem

I received this poem from Sis. Sandy this evening. It asked that I pass it along to 10 other folks but I wanted to share it with you all instead.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

The Poem
I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees..
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease……
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They’d laugh at me I’d fear..
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
‘Your name I cannot find
I once was going to write it down…
But never found the time’

Jesus’ Identification with Sinners

“. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Philippians 2:7-8

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

But there was one element of our world Jesus did not partake in: sin. The conclusion of Hebrews 4:15says He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus never sinned, He knows the struggles and temptations we face daily. Otherwise, He could not be the sympathetic High Priest that the first part of verse 15 mentions.

Although Jesus was a man who identified profoundly with those He came to serve, people around Him did not naturally see the most important thing about Him.Philippians 2:8 views Jesus from the perspective of those people. It says His human appearance was so authentic that most of them didn’t know that He was also God. Many of them simply could not accept that a man like Jesus could also be higher than them: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42).

Christ’s close identification with mankind elicited a tragic response for people such as those in John 6. But for us, His humility is a great model and a heart-felt reassurance that He was perfectly man and perfectly God.

Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank God that you can freely approach Him in prayer through Jesus, who can identify so closely with all our struggles as human beings.

For Further Study:
Read John 11:1-45, which describes the death and resurrection of Lazarus. How did Jesus demonstrate His humanity and deity to the disciples and other eyewitnesses?

(From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com)