Saturday, March 20, 2010
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (1Thessalonians 5: 23, 24)
These are familiar words written by the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. I have heard them and read them myself many times without truly appreciating their meaning. I know that the word "sanctify" means to make holy or to purify. I know and believe that through the blood of Jesus we are made holy in the eyes of God. The key word in these verses, which I had never really picked up on before is "blameless". The verses above were the sermon text one Sunday at a church service I visited with my son in Milwaukee, WI.
The concept of being a sinner and also being holy in God's eyes is sometimes difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to explain to someone who does not know God. Through the words of these verses and the pastor, the Lord helped me to better understand and therefore be better able to explain it to others.
So, we ask, what does God expect of us? He tells us in his word that we are to be holy and without sin and we will receive eternal life. His word also tells us that we are conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5). So again, we ask, how can we be holy when we are born sinners? The answer of course is "Jesus".
What God sees in us without Jesus is sin without holiness, which leads to eternal death in hell. As humans we think we can solve the problem of sin on our own by trying harder not to sin, or by doing more good than bad and hoping the good will outweigh the bad. We also tend to compare ourselves to others and feel that we aren't so bad after all. Unfortunately none of these solutions gives us the comfort and certainty that we will go to heaven when we die. No matter how hard we try not to sin, we fail. We aren't able to do enough good to make up for the bad, and God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to others. He wants us to compare ourselves to him. When we do so, we never match up. So what are we to do?
The answer very simply again, is "Jesus". Jesus himself tells us in John 14:6, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." God sent him to this earth to be born of a virgin mother. He grew up to be a man. He lived a perfect life in our place. He willingly took the punishment we deserve for our sins upon himself when he suffered and died on the cross. In exchange he gave us his holiness so that although God sees our sin, he does not hold us accountable for it because Jesus paid the price. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
So are we sinners then? Yes indeed!!! We most certainly are, but through faith in Jesus as our Savior we are blameless in God's eyes. Our sins are forgiven and we are free from the fear of death. We know that death is not the end, but the beginning of life in heaven with God.
How wonderful it is to know that no matter what sins we have committed in the past, or what sins we will commit in the future we are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. Salvation is a free gift from God, given by his Grace (undeserved love), through faith, which we receive from the Holy Spirit through his Word (the Bible). It is for all people. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:3, 4)
Do you have faith? Are you going to heaven when you die? If you are unsure, kneel at the foot of the cross. Ask God's forgiveness no matter what your past sins have been. The Holy Spirit gives us faith through the word. Give him a chance to work that life giving faith in your heart. Pick up your Bible and read it. There is power in that word. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
I hope to be your neighbor in heaven someday.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2: 8)
By Kristeen - To God be the Glory!