But I’m a Sinner!

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

Yesterday, we recognized a connection between Psalm 24 and who may ascend the Lord’s hill and Psalm 25, this week’s psalm. But there is another connection. It is almost as if this psalm were written or placed here as a response to the previous one. Or maybe it would be better said that it is placed here to deal with an anticipated objection. According to Psalm 24, the one who has clean hands and a pure heart can climb the Lord’s hill. In Psalm 25, we have the anticipated objection. “But what about me? I’m a sinner.” Psalm 25:7 is the first explicit mention from the psalmist of his own sinfulness (Psalm 6:1 implies it; Psalm 23:3 almost implies it). It is almost as if Psalm 25 is finally expressing the objection we’ve brought up on several occasions as we’ve gone through these psalms. I do lift my soul up to the Lord. I do trust Him. But I haven’t been perfect. I’m a sinner. My hands are befouled. My heart is defiled. I want to be clean. I want to be perfect. But I’ve blown it. What now? The great news is our God is merciful. Our God forgives. Our God loves. Our God is faithful and true to His covenant. Yes, we have failed. But we can lift our soul up to our God, seek mercy and we will go away justified. Honestly, it really defies reason. I mean, I know we’ve been trained up on 2000 years of Christianity and the love and forgiveness of the sacrifice of Jesus. But if you think about it, why would anyone expect the supreme power of the universe to be loving, merciful, and forgiving? We could much more expect Him to be exacting, demanding, and unsparing. And yet, He is not what we expect. He wants us to climb His hill and He will forgive us so we can. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 25.


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God’s Power

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 1.

I understand why the world thinks it is foolish. I understand why it is a stumbling block. How could death demonstrate life? How could being nailed to a cross demonstrate power? How could such submission demonstrate strength? But that is exactly what the cross demonstrates. God is so powerful, His King can be led to and nailed upon a cross, but still be the victor. Why? Because for most people death equals the ultimate failure and loss. Not with Jesus. Death on the cross was merely the doorway to another enemy to defeat. That enemy was death and the grave. On the third day, Jesus was raised in accordance with the Scriptures. From then on, the word of His cross has been to us God’s power for our salvation. We have no need to be ashamed. Jesus is the victor. We are the victors. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 2.

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Righteous Requirement of the Law

Today’s reading is Romans 8.

Many misunderstand Romans 8:4 when it talks about how the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us through Jesus Christ. It is not, as many suspect, that Jesus’s perfectly righteous life is imputed to us and through His perfect life the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled. As shocking as it may seem to you, based on the flow and context of Romans, the righteous requirement of the law here is not a perfectly righteous life. In Romans 1:32, we were told God’s righteous decree is that sinners deserve to die. In Romans 6:23, we are told the wages of sin is death. In Romans 7:1-4, we are told we are freed from the law by death. However, we are freed not by our own death, but by the death of Jesus. And this is the righteous requirement of the law that is fulfilled in us by Jesus. The law righteously requires that sinners die for their sins. Through Jesus’s death, that righteous requirement is fulfilled in those who live according to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the body. It is not that Jesus’s perfect life is imputed to us but rather His sacrificial death. Praise the Lord!

Monday’s reading is Romans 9.

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The Gospel of the Cross

Today’s reading is Luke 9.

I get why some people don’t see God’s gospel as good news. The path to victory in God’s gospel is very different from the Roman gospel. In a Roman  gospel (the way the word “gospel” was used in Roman culture at the time of Jesus), the Emperor has been born and come to power. He feasts on sumptuous meals and lives in marvelous palaces. He brings divine victory to Rome. The glorious, divine Emperor lives and so Romans can as well. But the path to victory in God’s gospel is the cross. It was the cross for Jesus, our King. But it is also a cross for us. When we follow Jesus, it is not at a distance. It is with him, carrying our cross. That is not just our every day burdens. That is an implement of our death. It is losing our lives, just as He did. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will be crucified as criminals. It does mean, however, that we give up on our lives in order to have His. It is a victory like no other, but its path is the path of the cross. It is free, and yet we must count the cost. Jesus bore His cross for us; let us bear our cross for Him. I do understand why that may not sound like good news to you, but remember following Jesus’s cross was resurrection and coronation. If we follow Jesus in the cross, we will follow Him to the crown as well. Carry the cross; receive the crown. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 10.

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