The Undeniable Key of Righteousness

In Christ’s sermon on the mountain (Matthew Chapters 5-7) He shows the conduct God expects a member of His kingdom to manifest to their neighbors. When we take an honest view of the Bible, our understanding of how God opposes mistreating others emerges. And Christ spoke on the key of righteousness.

Jesus held nothing back when speaking of God’s truth. In His homily, He set right every misinterpretation on anger (Matthew 5:21-26), adultery (Matthew 5:27-30), and marriage (Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:1-10).

Likewise, Christ illuminates the way to selflessness (Matthew 5:38-42), unconditional love (Matthew 5:43-48), and humility (Matthew 7:1-6).

It’s in this part of Christ’s teachings He lays out the Christian actions necessary in living a God-centered life. The first thing to remember is Jesus highlights love (Matthew 5:43-48) as God’s favorable interaction with those who cause us trouble. So finding spiritual love comes from reliance on Christ.

Righteousness is out of reach on willpower alone. We understand this truth when we revisit Adam and Eve’s great fall from God’s grace (Genesis 3: 1-19). The second they disobeyed God, sin sprouted and corrupted the human soul. Their penalty for disobedience cost them God’s affection, but the Lord loved them and provided them the key to a pure heart (Genesis 3:22).

 

 

Remember, Christ defeated sin (1 Peter 2:24) and without His intervention, in the way, I react to being mistreated is sinful. Think of it this way. When someone belittles me and I react in the same way, then sin controls my response. But the more I grow in Christ when those circumstances arise my ability to forgive increases. And when I fall short in love, then repentance is my way back to righteousness.

It’s important to realize the key to righteousness as set forth through Christ’s firm teaching is love and humility. Both a loving and humble existence lead to a life of glorifying and serving God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and helping others. God is pleased when we live a modest life and express His love to others.

For example, when Christ talked about murder, He made it known anger is its taproot. In, our generation the world reminds us the devastation anger causes in society. Nowadays, murder is a headline broadcast to the masses.

Jesus understood anger is dangerous and the way to stop it from infesting the heart is reconciling our indifferences and making amends for wrong doings (Matthew 5:24). Making right wrongdoing is an act of love and an example of humility.

Love coupled with humility removes resentment and brings serenity in angry circumstances. And when we show those around us God’s love our lives become rich in righteousness.

Another excellent illustration of pure at heart is understanding other’s sinful ways (Matthew 7:1-6). It’s easy to forget my sinful actions. At birth, sin is present (Romans 5:12). So passing judgment on others is senseless because God knows everyone falls short in living holy.

I am familiar with the unfruitfulness of pointing the finger at people’s shortcomings. Many times when I become self-righteous it’s an unpleasant experience. I never walk away from it feeling good. But the more willing I am to live in Christ the less I judge others. This revelation brings me peace and I can love people who cause me problems.

Our discussion on the key to righteousness comes to an end, and we touched on a few aspects to its reverence for God. Since righteousness doesn’t come easy then a more comprehensive understanding stems from building a personal relationship with Christ. And with Jesus as our guide finding a pure heart is God’s reward for adhering to His word.

Have you found the key to righteousness?

Christ’s Deliverance: God’s Greatest Pleasure

God is astonishing in the way He keeps His word. For centuries He used Prophets to prepare for the day of Christ’s deliverance. The Lord’s love for His Son coupled with His compassion for humanity gives Him incredible pleasure.

 

 

God made this eternal deliverance His greatest gift. To receive this infinite treasure, one must receive God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8).

Because of Christ’s baptism; God’s new plan for salvation is real (Matthew 3:15).

Last week we discussed God’s message of repentance. We saw the crucial role an act of contrition is in God’s eyes.

Matthew wastes no time to show us God’s joy in delivering His beloved Son (Matthew 3:16-17).

When God speaks, it has the utmost importance for humanity. It’s imperative to understand God’s language. Without knowledge of His dialect, eternal life stays elusive. And, Matthew recorded Christ’s deliverance through God’s voice.

 

 

Here in this part of Matthew’s third chapter (Matthew 3:13-17), we come to see God’s overwhelming joy for His Son.

Since Adam and Eve’s disobedience, it’s rare for God to express pleasure with humanity. In Jesus’s baptism, God treats us with His happiness.

Imagine witnessing God’s pleasure. It’s mind boggling pondering over the Lord’s excitement to give humanity a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But God’s love is never absent from those He saves. I’m thankful to understand Christ is the way to God’s kingdom (John 14:6).

Watching the pleasure God showed in delivering His Son is a privilege. With this in mind, remember not everyone understands the meaning behind Christ’s ministry. This experience is an incredible gift. We are fortunate God included us in His kingdom.

The moment God exposed Christ as His Son the way of believing in Him changed. At the time of Christ’s arrival, an unfavorable faith in God developed and under those circumstances God put right this tragic mistake.

At this point in man’s history, many believers relied on traditions handed to them through the generations. Most of those doctrines center on rituals and not anchored in God’s truth. But Christ’s deliverance put an end to this incorrect understanding of God’s word. Because of Christ’s deliverance God unlocked His mysteries (Colossians 1:24-27).

When I meditate over Christ’s deliverance, it makes me grateful for God’s truth.

I use to live in darkness consumed by a life full of resentment, bitterness, and selfishness. Everything I centered in prideful motives leading to a life filled with disappointment.

It brings me great pleasure to share with you God pulled me from the darkness. Today my life changed, and it started with God introducing me to Christ. This new way of living isn’t easy, but with Christ, as my guide, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Even though I’m not perfect Christ helps me overcome my sinful nature.

 

 

Christ’s deliverance fosters many discussions, and we have touched on a few of them. We can agree without Christ our lives stay troubled. But on the positive side with Him, our place in God’s kingdom is everlasting!

What does Christ’s deliverance mean to you?

 

 

Joyful Deliverance

In my past, a joyful existence was elusive. I lived apart from God and in total darkness. Life involved chasing after short-lived experiences grounded in personal pleasures. Sin dominated my soul causing nothing but trouble.  Self-searching motives a normal occurrence anchoring a life of selfishness. No matter what the world offered, it couldn’t fill the emptiness inside my spirit.

Living life on my willpower caused unrelenting suffering. I thought happiness came from a whisky bottle but the more I got drunk an unshakable despair unfolded. Sexual immorality brought the same results. Everything I used to fill the spiritual void in my life drove me deeper into the black hole of hopelessness. This reckless lifestyle brought me to my knees.

It brings me great joy to share God saved me. I no longer live in sin and Christ delivered me from evil. Freed from the bondage of self and into God’s grace. This connection with God is a joyous occasion. The Lord makes life a happy and enlightening experience.

Since hearing God’s calling and repenting for my sins, a new outlook on joy emerged. I can’t find a better enjoyment of life than the one I receive from devoting myself to Christ. His presence brings me the greatest satisfaction. This profound spiritual consciousness keeps me seeking God and continues making me joyful!

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Have you found joy in God?

Working for the Divine Craftsman

We are privileged. Chosen by God to work for Christ. This divine honor has eternal treasures. Christ paid our price and freed us from sin. Our labor (faith) allows us to experience God’s grace. And for as long as we stay faithful our inheritance in heaven is secure.

The joy of salvation is losing our lives for Christ (Matthew 16:25). It’s in Christ’s body we enjoy living in obedience to God. Christ is our Master Craftsman showing us the spiritual tools necessary to building our eternal foundation.

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In God’s toolbox, we find the tools needed in fixing our broken lives. God’s specialty is providing the precise Christian instruments in repairing the damage sin causes to humans. And the one handing us them is Christ. Without Christ, we can’t diagnose the problem.

In Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians we find an indispensable message for becoming Christ’s workers.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).

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God united us with Christ making us acceptable in performing His work. God doesn’t force Himself on humans; He uses His chosen ones to make the world see His hands working for the good of humanity.

If I’m not willing to leave my comfort zone and do good for those I want to avoid; then I must examine if I’m working for Christ. I can’t be selective because everyone is God’s creation. Christ reminds me He came to save sinners. It’s tough doing right for selfish people, but the rewards from God are incredible.

God created good deeds to lead us away from sin. He planned for us to show the world His holiness by using righteousness as an attraction to the gracefulness of a spiritual life.

It’s the light of Christ that shines the spotlight on those we are to help. Often we fail to see them because we are too busy or look the other way so we won’t become bothered by the countless people begging for help. Christ, Himself tells us not to be blinded to anyone in need of aid (Matthew 25:35-40).

Working for Christ means making personal sacrifices that are tough but necessary. When God saved me, my life changed. He granted me apprenticeship into Christ’s kingdom and now Jesus is showing me the blueprints of discipleship.

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God leads me to a way of life where unconditional giving outweighs my concerns about how the recipient will use the help. I take the action and leave the results of Christ’s hands. I’m not perfect and fail but the moment I’m willing to act God is pleased.

Each day we awaken to a new opportunity to stay on God’s roll call and receive our daily bread. Christ knows we won’t have perfect attendance since God understands we become weak in faith. But the moment we become willing and report for work then Christ finds a spot on God’s roster. No matter how sinful we become working for Christ will always nurse us back to spiritual health.

Are you working for Christ?

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7 Christian Principles to Grow Your Faith: Building a Stronger Trust Series   

 
Part 2 Knowledge:

In the series opener, we discussed virtue and its relation to faith. We discovered the ways it strengthens our faith and the benefits it brings to our Christian walk. Virtue by itself isn’t enough. To continue growing our faith, we need to go further. Stopping at this point limits faith from reaching its maturity.

Our next step is knowledge. God created everyone with the ability in reasoning right from wrong. Our Father wants us to understand so we could keep His truth. The Lord knew our minds needed to store and remember His commandments. And His gift of knowledge allows us to comprehend the crucial elements of His parenting.

The freedom of choice God allows astonishing. He never forces Himself on us, but places us opportunities where we must choose Him. Knowledge is incredible for it adds insight to our saved lives.

Similar to free will knowledge is a two edge sword.

There is a significant difference between self-knowledge and faith-knowledge.

In the secular world, we get an up close picture of self-knowledge. Unbelievers thrive on the personal importance and intelligence. They believe self-reliance will carry them through everything. Their lives on the outside appear content, but in their hearts are hard. They respond to life in prideful ways. And when troubles arise, they aren’t wise in Christ since He isn’t a part of their life.

Another noticeable flaw is their misuse of intelligence. Their perception of the mind is focused on themselves and centered in self-will. They try to place themselves above others and rely on their knowledge of solutions reserved for God. This demonstration of superiority causes conflicts and blocks out Christ. They use intelligence to figure out old age perplexities, but lack the wisdom in understanding human limitations.

Our experience testifies to the destruction caused by relentless sinning. Our advantage as Christians is Jesus Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, we discover the way out of darkness. The Lamb of God has given us the remission of sins. God delivered us from evil and Christ saved us from spiritual death.

Before salvation, we lived in darkness. We were unaware of the subtle ways sin penetrates the soul, hardens the heart and corrupts the mind. Our Messiah promises us once we are reborn Christian-knowledge emerges, and we find God’s wisdom. Then God exposes the narrow way. We understand the path to eternal life and no longer want to rely on ourselves. God’s plan far outweighs anyone we can come up with on our own. We are blessed to have an unconditional loving Father.

Lukewarm Christians (Revelations 3:15-16) have a similar problem as the unbeliever. They have fallen out of God’s favor because their faith is complacent. Spiritual knowledge has eluded them for they are self-deceived. Their belief has shifted from God’s truth and entered a false sense of security. To be rejected by Christ is fatal!

The actions of devotion, prayer, meditation and living the will of God’s unlocks the door to wisdom. Those actions incorporated into your everyday life make you available for the knowledge of Christ’s teachings. We don’t have the wits necessary to stay in God’s kingdom.

It’s through our desire to seek God that we become wise. The more we absorb God’s word into our minds the better we become at remembering our eternal responsibilities here on earth. A continual conscious contact with Christ insures you the strength to take the correct actions in living a holy life.

It’s fascinating the way this has unfolded in my life. My refusal in placing Christ above everything prevented me from receiving God’s mercy. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from those dark periods is without Christ I’m foolish. Alone, I don’t have the spiritual makeup necessary to make wise decisions. My individual resolutions to problems are disastrous.

It wasn’t until I understood the urgency for life in God’s kingdom I abandoned myself to Christ. And today, when I fall it’s easier to pick myself back up for God, is the center of my life. Every day I spend quality time with God because life gets worse without Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Knowledge evolves from faith. There is always something new to learn. The strength brings to our Christian faith  manifested through humility. A key ingredient of a humble life is remaining teachable. It’s wise to stay receptive to God’s commands for faith will have the spiritual nutrients to grow. An active and mature faith brings everlasting results.

None of us is perfect, nor are we smarter than God. We need Christ’s constant wisdom… Without it, we are aimless, deceived and isolated. With it, we know we are on the right road to heaven.