I was so challenged and encouraged by my Dad's sermon Sunday morning.
He was preaching from Galatians chapter 4. (Maybe I can share a link to it once it's posted online.) Without rehashing the sermon - I do hope that you can hear it for yourself - I wanted to make note of one point that pressed upon my heart most heavily.
We often speak of bondage to sin;
and each of us are keenly aware of our personal struggles with it.
But do we give enough thought to the possibility of being in
bondage to self-righteousness?
- checking off the list of "DO"s and "DON'T"s
- comparing to see how we measure up to someone else
- always hoping to be a bit ahead of the next person in the "righteous" department
- attempting to "score points with God" by doing this and not doing that
- by giving here, attending there, always serving, and not missing a day . . .
All of these are good and well, but we must truly understand that we are saved by
Christ and . . .
Do we understand this?
"Well, of course," you say. And I'd say the same thing.
But are you and I really living out what we believe?
Do the motives and attitudes of our hearts match what we are saying here?
Dad stressed the importance of understanding GRACE. He articulated a portion of his personal testimony; always having been a "good boy," yet always feeling the need to "rededicate his life" at every revival service or "alter call." It wasn't until his freshman year of college that he truly understood God's grace, his wretchedness, Christ's righteousness, and the beauty of "If any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION" (2 Corinthians 5:17). A new creation, not just a "good boy."
And Dad reiterated the fact that we can add NOTHING to Christ's righteousness. We can take nothing away from it. When Christ proclaimed from the cross, "It is finished!" He meant what He said. His mission was accomplished. The work had been done. DONE!
Thank you, Dad, for sharing this powerful, timely message.
As you've been preaching through Galatians,
the Lord knew that I needed to be there for chapter 4!
So this leads me to share the verse that was actually today's VERSE OF THE DAY.
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy."
Titus 3:4-5 (ESV)
In thinking of my meager, pointless attempts to add to the perfect work Christ did on my behalf, I envision His robe of righteousness wrapped around me. I envision myself standing there before God, and then squatting down a bit - hoping that no one is watching . . . or maybe I do want others to see . . . as I try to sneak a stitch of embellishment on the robe. I think to myself, "If I could just add one more glistening rhine stone here or a sparkly sequin there, this robe would be even more lovely and God would be even more pleased with me," I proceed to prick my finger in the stitching process, bleeding and feeling defeated. My attempts were in vain. There is NOTHING I could do to make Christ's robe of righteousness that He's so graciously enveloped me with more perfect, more beautiful, more accepting in the sight of God the Father. Absolutely nothing.
In closing, I wanted to touch on the topic of bondage to sin.
Of course, this hits home with all of us.
While my Dad was out of the country on a mission trip last week, my older brother preached in his place during the morning worship service. (My husband preached in the evening. I rehashed a bit of his sermon last Monday.) He also said something that greatly resinated with my heart and convicted me deeply. In the words of my brother,
"You won't put an end to your desire for money
[or whatever your temptation]
by wishing it away.
You must replace it.
You must replace that desire with a superior one."
Thank you for sharing this truth with us
and for prompting us to pray for
an overmastering desire for Christ.
Holy and Triune God,
please plant in our hearts an overmastering desire for YOU.
May YOU be the sole recipient of our dearest and deepest affections.
YOU alone are the ONLY ONE who can satisfy,
and it's in YOUR righteousness ALONE that we stand complete.