Monday, April 27, 2009
Most Christians have a tendency of feeling guilty and condemned whenever they sin or make mistakes or think they fall short of God's standards. In fact, there can often be a looming sense that things will go badly for us when we sin; and that the more we fall short the worse we expect it to be. It is an expectation of punishment.
But in Christianity, it is not like that. If we have accepted Jesus as our savior, we can expect blessings not cursing, even when we sin, and even when we sin again.
Of course it is not sinning that brings the blessing; it is the fact that Jesus has already paid the price for our sin that we can expect blessings. And we can expect them no matter what our sin is or how often we commit it. That is called grace. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote, “…where sin increased, grace increased all the more…” (Rom. 5:20 NIV) That’s right, the bible says that the more sin there is, the more grace there is to forgive it and to still bless us. I know that just doesn’t sound right. We would naturally expect more and more punishment the more we sin, but we are not dealing with a natural God. With God, the more we sin, the more grace there is to bless us. Wow! That is an amazing truth.
This may sound then that because of these facts that it’s ok to go on sinning. After all, the more we sin, the more grace there is to forgive us. But that's certainly not the case. God’s grace is simply there when we need it. It was Paul again who said this, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." (Rom. 6:1-2) God forbids sin, no matter what, but he does not forbid it because he is offended or angry or because it creates a rift in our relationship. The reason that God does not want us to sin is because of the guilt and condemnation that we can suffer and that I spoke of at the beginning of this article. When we feel guilty and condemned because of our sin, we expect punishment from God, not blessing. It makes it extremely difficult to realize that God loves us, has forgiven us through Christ, and wants to bless us despite our sin. However, that is the truth and that is what I want to convey in this message.
We are never judged by God according to what we do. If we were judged by what we do (or don’t do) we would always be guilty and we would always be worthy of punishment. That is because we can never live up to God’s standard of perfection. There was only one human being that ever lived up to God’s standard and that was Jesus. That is why that it is only through our faith in him that we can have a right standing with God and be worthy of his blessing. And that truth will prevail despite all of our sin.
The thing that I would like to get across here is that the more we sin, the more we should look for and expect blessings from God, not punishment. If we do that, we will open our hearts and lives for God's grace and mercy and consequently his blessings. If we don’t do that, we will shut ourselves off from the blessings of God. And though it may be inadvertant, that would be a lack of faith in what Jesus did for us and would sink our blessing ship so to speak. So, despite the "natural" tendency to feel guilty and condemned when we sin, instead we should look for the blessings of God to overtake us.
Consider saying this to God when you sin; “Lord I messed up again, so where’s is my blessing?”
I said that in a funny way on purpose, but it is meaningful and true none the less. I made it sound as if we are looking for a blessing because of our sin, but it is really looking for a blessing despite our sin. It is having faith in what Christ did for us rather than having fear because of what we may have done. And that kind of faith is the only way to please God. You will never do it by trying to be good enough. The book of Hebrews says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him..." (Heb. 11:6) And if we take that step of faith, (expecting to be blessed despite our sin) we indeed will be blessed… It will be done unto us according to our FAITH. The alternative of doing this is to entertain guilt and fear. And if we are afraid of punishment because of our shortcomings and believe that God will not bless us because we did not live up to his standard; well, the bible says that we will be under a curse. We will NOT be blessed. Instead, we will be cursed. The book of Galatians says this, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Gal. 3:10-11)
We must always remember that God’s only standard of living is his Son and it is only through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that we can live up to that standard. And we must also realize that if we have accepted Jesus as our savior, we have done all we need to do, (indeed all that we can do) to please God and to be worthy of ALL of God’s richest blessings despite any amount of “short-comings” or sin.
Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”
More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Dr Boyce Watkins
I read today about the financial compensation package of pastor Brad Braxton of the New Riverside Church in Manhattan. Here is the breakdown of Braxton’s compensation:
The total value of the package is estimated to be $600,000 per year.
All I can say is “wow”. No disrespect to this man or his congregation, but he would NOT be preaching at my church. What was most problematic about the church’s decision to give Braxton such a ridiculous compensation package was that they didn’t seem to clear it with the membership, many of whom are filing suit over Braxton’s pay. As a Finance Professor, I must admit that I personally become uncomfortable hearing men and women of God talking about money more than I do. I must disagree with Rev. TD Jakes, who said that “Jesus is a product”. Sorry brother, Nikes are a product. Cheeseburgers are a product. Jesus is a spirit that should lead us to pursue a good that is greater than our bank accounts. I am not sure how many pastors agree with that assessment.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
BET’s 106 and Gospel has been officially canceled. But please tell me this: Why in the “hayell” would you air a gospel show at 12 noon on Sundays? Aren’t people in church at that time?
I swear…..some people can’t get a damn clue without the intervention of the Lord.