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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Most Beautiful Thing About Christianity

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Perhaps you know or have a loved one, that for some reason is unable to take care of themself and needs help. One of my nephews worked his way through college employed at a senior care facility. He worked with those that could not care for themselves. I had a brother and sister that also did this.  It was a daily routine for them to help seniors go to the bathroom, eat their meals, or give them a bath. Each of them served these seniors with great love, compassion, and care. They made those they served feel loved and cared for. When I would think about them doing this, I would be at the grace God had given them to be able to do this with such love and ease.

Spiritually, each of us are those that cannot care for ourself. What do I mean by that? I mean that each of us falls down in our ability to walk holy and righteously before the Lord. We too often fail in our thought-life, sometimes entertaining inappropriate thoughts! We fail in our words saying things we regret that are too late to take back. We fail in our actions. We fail. Its a fact of life to anyone who is honest. Some of us try not to as hard as we can not to. Others could give a rip. We all miss it from time-to-time. Jesus is the one that gives us our bath and washes us with great love and mercy and compassion.

Hundreds of years before Jesus lived on the earth, Isaiah the prophet wrote the truth of man’s inability to live righteously despite his best efforts. He wrote:  “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
This was the heart and feeling of Isaiah who purposed to follow after God in a more righteous way. He was honest. Despite his best efforts, he knew the truth. His personal efforts to be righteousness were like filthy rags compared to the Lord. This is why the gospel is so important. We are unable to take care of our unrighteousness, but Jesus can! And He does by bathing us with His promised forgiveness and reminding us that He lived life without sin, but died as a sinner to take our punishment—the punishment we deserved upon Himself at the cross. He gave us His righteousness as a gift provided by His shed blood, grace, and mercy.

Col. 1:19-22 reveals this truth to us saying, “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus and through Jesus to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your sinful behavior. But now God has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation…”

This is saying that it was God’s good pleasure to have Jesus give you that bath and wash away your sins. This is His promise and declaration that He has made you holy in His sight without blemish. He has made you free from all the devil’s accusations. The devil will always point out your every sin and mistake you make in order to make you feel filthy and inadequate before God. It is at that point that I remind the devil, Satan, your destiny is Hell. Misery loves company but I am not your company. Jesus washed my sins away and helps me to live more righteously and covers my shortfalls with His blood and grace so that I am holy in His sight. I am without blemish and free from your accusation. Jesus has given me my bath and I’m clean. Take your accusations and flee in Jesus name!

This truth does not give us a free ride to sin. No, God wants us to learn to become Christ-like in character. But, when we confess our sin to Him with sincerity and humility, He is faithful to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness and guilt.

The point of meditating on these things, is to bring us to great thanksgiving in our heart each day for the mercy and love of God in making us holy in His sight through Jesus. It’s also so that instead of getting stuck in the ditch of fault-finding with each other, we instead wash one another with God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness as He has washed us! As John 13:14-15 (NLT) says, “And since I - Jesus, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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