Tag Archives: cleansing

Shoutout to Luther: Law and Gospel (Devo, January 30)

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
-Romans 5:20-21

The Law was given so that we might know our sin. It makes sense, when you think about it. How does a child know that what they are doing is wrong unless a parent says so? Otherwise, they will continue acting in what they perceive to be a normal fashion. We, too, needed to be told that what we were doing wasn’t right-because the pattern of sin that has invaded earth is normal to our flesh. It is normal to us. So the Law was given-the perfect, unbending, unchanging law of God that governs everything from outward actions to inward thoughts. It is in this perfection that the Law came “to increase the trespass”. People got used to the idea that the Law just had to do with what we should and shouldn’t do. When Jesus came, however, He showed them that really it extends down to thoughts, control of emotions, etc…it ran deeper than anyone knew. We had been sinning way more than we cared to acknowledge, and still care to today. There is no one that can fully keep the Law in deed and thought and spirit. It’s impossible, and therefore no one is exempt from the condemnation that it brings. We are all guilty under the Law of God.

Praise be to God, though, that there was One who COULD perfectly keep the Law-and that He did. Because even though our sins increased through the Law, grace increased infinitely more as Jesus came to fulfill that same Law. He said that He did not come to abolish it, but to fulfill it, down to the smallest detail. The only man who ever lived a completely perfect life was the one who could perfectly accept the punishment that was meant for us. The transgression of the Law, even one small part, requires payment; it requires death. Jesus paid that debt; He gave up His own life so that we wouldn’t have to. He did what we could not so that we could have life, and life to the fullest!  Praise be to God that we have a God that loves us so much that He gives us a way out. The war has already been won! Victory has already been claimed over the Law and sin and death through Jesus Christ!

And all it requires of us is just surrender everything.

We don’t have to strive to keep every ounce of the Law; we do not need to work to get to God, for one cannot possibly  do such a thing. We just need to surrender to the work that God has been doing in us, and allow this grace to abound all the more than the sin and brokenness in our life. Let Him transform you into the son or daughter of the Most High that He desires you to be. The Law will always condemn us. But Jesus is greater than that condemnation.

Will you let Him work in your life today, transforming you from a condemned sinner into a member of the body of Christ? Will you let Him continue to show you areas of your life that are abundant in sin, and let Him wash them clean with the overabundance of grace He offers? Will you let Him do what He came to do?



How To Walk the Narrow Road! Day 3: Take a Shower Daily

Longer Scripture passage today, but it’s all relevant. Trust me.

“Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit  from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

-Psalm 51:1-15

What David is talking about here isn’t just a one time deal. If you read the Psalms, David is constantly asking God to forgive him, to save him. to rescue him. David was called a man after God’s own heart. That is an amazing statement within itself! David, the man after God, is asking for forgiveness in a most humble and grieved manner.

I find it interesting that in today’s society we spend a lot more time justifying our own actions rather than just admitting we are wrong and asking for forgiveness. There’s two things at work behind this-the false belief that we are always right, and the stubbornness to admit we are wrong. One of the HARDEST things to do is say “I need help!” This is true in my own life. I’ve had plenty of times where I stubbornly kept on believing the lies that were told to me. Satan had me thinking nobody understood me, that nobody cared, that it was easier to keep the problems inside. I was committed to this. It’s funny-at the same time I so desperately wanted to have someone love me, care for me, care about my hurts. What Satan did was take me away from the Lord and show me other ways I could get the “love” I was looking for. I needed attention and got it in the wrong places. I needed love and got an empty substitute. I needed forgiveness and got a mask. I was not willing to admit I had a problem because I got stuck in the hurt.

Does that make sense?

We are not willing to admit we need help and forgiveness because we get comfortable in the mess we are in. We become okay with struggling. It sounds ridiculous! Who would want to dwell on their past, on their sin, on trying to make it? On “just getting by”? Yet we all do it, day after day. It’s saddening.
The other reason we aren’t willing to accept the forgiveness of God is pride. We have this stupid, somewhat admirable stubborn tenacity to try and hang on to things. I have continuously tried to fix situations I know are not getting better. Why? Because it’s a ME thing. I got into this mess and I can get out of it. I can pull myself up and make something of myself, and then people can praise ME for the things I have done for MYSELF.

We need to make our lives less of a ME thing and more of a GOD thing. 

Like it says in John 3:30, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
Forgiveness starts when we realize we are less and that God is greater. We can’t be forgiven if we think we are all that. Take the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee boasted and thanked the Lord that he wasn’t like that sinner over there. The tax collector just fell on his face and admitted he was wretched, and asked the Lord to forgive him. The Lord has the capacity and the want to forgive all, but He can’t and won’t operate in a heart that won’t allow Him in. Recognizing our wretched sinful state and the fact that we can’t do this alone lets God move in you and heal, rejuvinate, and forgive.

The point of this series, though, is how to develop a intimate relationship with the Lord. So what do I have to do? I can’t just pray a prayer, say some words and BOOM. I’m saved. There is a continual work that needs to occur if my heart is to stay focused on the Lord. So every day, I need to start with asking God to be the center of my day. I need to let Him be my guide instead of myself. And I need to end my day asking God to cleanse me and thanking Him for the day I was able to live for Him. Every day. That’s a hard thing! But when we are able to discipline ourselves to daily ask for His forgiveness and cleansing of our spirits, one will find that they feel much more joy in life. When you have a clean heart, a new mind and spirit, you can’t help BUT to feel joy! And as you persist more and more in letting the Lord cleanse and guide you, the more you will start to recognize His voice and His presence in your life. In my life, just keeping this series I’ve noticed a change over the past few days. I’m not sad anymore. I’ve been coming to God in prayer and reading into different scriptures, and I have noticed my conduct changing as well. Knowing that I’m resting in His eternal grace and being washed by Him each day is such a joyful and comforting thing!!!

In conclusion,
First let us recongize we are sinners. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. ALL. This is a fact of life. We are human and we mess up.
Because of that fact, daily we need to convene with our God and ask Him to prepare us for the day. We need to ask for His continual forgiveness, for that blood to not be poured out just once on our lives but every day over our head. We need to be comfortable asking Him to search our hearts and continually be showing us areas we struggle in-because there will always be areas. It has to become a DAILY CLEANSING. Not just a giant shower of tears every few months when we fall way back into sinful paths. But a Shower of forgiveness and grace and joy every day will keep us close to God and farther and farther from sin!
Tomorrow we will see what it means to not just seek God to be forgiven, but to seek Him. Period.

God bless!

~Michael Wright, Jr.~