Wednesday, March 6, 2019
“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).
In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?
Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.
As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.
If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!
See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?”
Sunday, July 10, 2016
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:7,8 KJV).
Itchy, itchy, itchy!
Friend, have you ever picked figs? Their leaves are prickly, and can make you itch! As I recently picked figs, I constantly thought on Genesis chapter 3, when the parents of the human race sinned against a holy God and attempted to cover their nakedness. What did they use to clothe their bare skin? According to today’s Scripture, they grabbed prickly fig leaves! They preferred this—suffering in uncomfortable clothes—to coming to God and admit their failure. Human nature is prideful; it has never changed in all these years.
While not explicitly stated in the Bible, perhaps Adam and Eve used fig leaves to make themselves suffer, possibly attempting to make God feel sorry for them. After all, some religious people make themselves suffer so as to appease some deity. They have the twisted idea that they can suffer enough for their sin and “God” will be happy with them. It is called “penance.” They are to give up pleasures and recite complicated prayers. They wear various torture bracelets on their fingers or arms and torture rings around their legs. They may don itchy hair shirts or pants. They whip themselves with leather straps. Every drop of blood they make themselves shed is assumed to make God just a tad happier with them. Allegedly, the more they suffer, the “holier” they become, and that much closer to heaven!
Beloved, on Calvary’s cross, the Lord Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). We have no reason to suffer for our sins because Jesus already did. Still, if we want to suffer for our sins, God will grant us our wish. He has prepared a lake of fire and brimstone in which unredeemed souls will suffer forever. Something far worse than itchy fig leaves and hair shirts!
Remember, the online grace Bible conference runs until Thursday! http://understandgrace.com/2016-summer-family-bible-conference/