The Old Perspective on the Apostle Paul
‘Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.’ (Rom. 10:1-4)
Some people ask us to pray for them, while there are others for whom we’ll never stop praying because they are known and loved by us – friends, members of our congregation, and especially our own families. Then if we are Welsh we’re bound to pray particularly for our fellow countrymen – more than we will pray for people, say, in Iceland or in Costa Rica. All that is very natural. It is accepting God’s providential dealings with our lives, where he’s put us for our brief earthly pilgrimage. What is interesting here is the fact that this verse gives us another factor stirring up Paul to pray for his fellow-countrymen, not what he has already explained, his natural affection for his brothers, those of his own race, the people of Israel (compare Rom. 9:3-4). In the text before us Paul gives us another reason for his intercession. Notice how he introduces it: ‘I pray to God for them that they may be saved for . . .’ (in other words, ‘because . . .’). Then he tells us why he was in supplication before God for their salvation. Why should we think of certain groups of people and individuals and home in on them, and bring them before God in prayer? Paul is telling us that his heart’s desire and his prayers to God for the Jews came from this fact. They had a zeal for God but it wasn’t, alas, based on knowledge (v. 2).
1. THE ISRAELITES’ KNOWLEDGE OF GOD WAS INADEQUATE.
Paul underlines this; you see how he does this by saying, ‘I can testify about them‘ (v.2). He was in a position to do this; there was none better. He knew them so well, but more than that, he’d been just like them himself. He could stand in a witness box and swear to tell the truth about them, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, saying, ‘Yes, I am prepared to testify about them from my own intimate observation of them and from my own experience.’ They were a very religious people. They took their belief in God very seriously so that they believed that they were zealously serving him. They believed the Bible, but that was not enough. They said prayers three times a day, but that was not enough. They would travel over oceans and continents to win converts for their religion, but that was not enough. They sought to keep the Ten Commandments, but that was not enough. They kept a very moral and religious Sabbath day of rest, but that was not enough. They went to the synagogues, but that was not enough. They had a special diet so that they refused to eat the meat of cloven-footed animals like pigs and deer, or crustaceans like lobster and crab, but that was not enough. They tithed their possessions right down to the herbs in their gardens, but that was not enough. They hated false teaching, and sought to silence all heretics, but that was not enough. None of it was enough as an offering to God, because all they did was imperfect in the eyes of the Lord before whom the seraphim hide their eyes and cry to one another, ‘Holy, holy, holy!’ He is so perfectly holy a God, but they were imperfect and unholy, and all their zealous actions for God needed pardon and cleansing.
We must agree with Paul when he says of the Jews – for example, of the men who stoned Stephen to death for what he believed – ‘they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge‘ (v.2). Sheer zeal is no justification for any action. The murderer can’t plead, ‘But I was zealous in what I did.’ Zeal is the accelerator; truth is the steering wheel. If you don’t know where you’re driving you don’t cry as a passenger to the driver, ‘Put your foot down! Go faster!’ What folly! You need to know the directions when you’re lost, not simply go faster in any way. Zeal is a bullet train travelling at over 200 miles per hour, but it must not ignore all the red signals telling it to slow or stop. That is zeal without knowledge. Zeal is a strong dog, but its power to maim and even kill must be muzzled. Zeal is like fire; in the central heating boiler it is an essential element. It warms the water or the air and the house becomes a pleasant place to live in. In the furnace, fire is your true servant, but elsewhere – fire in the curtains, and the carpet in flames, and the three-piece suite ablaze – fire is the worst of masters. That is naked zeal. Zeal without knowledge is like a gun in the hands of a madman. Misplaced zeal is zeal for God rather than the zeal of God, the holy, loving, truthful zeal that the one living and true God requires. Does our zeal for God warm others or does it burn them? If it burns them then we will be burned too. Someone has said that mankind’s religions are his greatest crimes. So we understand when a student gets converted at university that his parents could be concerned. They are fearful of fanaticism. They don’t want him to come under some cultic influences that might destroy his love for them and send him off under the power of a third-rate religion living in a distant commune claiming to be a ‘child of God.’ We wouldn’t like that to happen to our own children and we respect the parents of the children who sit at our feet and hear us in this place. We want them to love their parents more since becoming a Christian, and win their hearts to the truth by that love. We fear the fanaticism of false zeal. It is a reality; what Paul calls here a zeal not based on knowledge. So Paul prayed for them.
2. THERE IS A KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIVINE WHICH INFORMS OUR LIVES.
We want you to know the truth. That is why we invite you to church each Sunday, that you may know the truth, all the truth and nothing but the truth, and that truth will free you from all the errors of mankind. Our services are structured in such a way that after we have worshipped God in hymn and prayer then their climax is God speaking through his Word to us. There are so many fantasies that people believe. A month or so ago it was announced to the world by some Mayan people that according to their calendar the world was going to end on December 12, 2012. What folly! What cost to those who believed it and so did no work, or spent all their money, or chose not to marry, or rejected a life-saving operation. We don’t want to add more fairy stories to those. God has taken such pains to bring us to know the truth. He tells us that it’s necessary for two veils to be removed for us to truly know the truth.
i] There is the veil that hides God. It hides his mind and character. Can you shoot an arrow out of the sky? Can you penetrate the infinite and know God? Were you there at creation? Can you speak and tell people that you have seen God and at a whim spell out to them what God is like? Of course not. God dwells in impenetrable darkness. If we are to know God he must take the initiative. He must come to us, and make himself known to us and reveal himself to us. He walked and talked with Adam in the Garden. He made himself known to Noah and to Abraham. He speaks to us through holy men – his prophets, Moses, David, Isaiah and the others. He tells us about himself, that he has a Son and that he has a Spirit, that he hates sin and loves righteousness.
Then God makes himself known to us intimately in a particularly wonderful way, through the incarnation of his Son. He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his person. He introduces us to God as he and God are one. He takes away the veil that hides God. In other words, God has taken the attributes of his being – his nature as love and tenderness and patience and justice and power – and he has translated them into a form that men and women and boys and girls can grasp, believe and respond to. See Jesus and then you have seen the Father too. God makes himself known to us in this way.
ii] There is also a veil that covers our minds. Sin has weaved that veil, and the devil has cast it over our understanding and that is how men want it to remain. They defend that darkness, saying, ‘No one can know God.’ The truth is that men have no desire to be exposed to the bright light of God. Men prefer the shadowlands in which they live their lives. It is always too inconvenient. But God won’t give up on us. In his grace the Lord comes close to us and he removes the veil. There were two men walking on the road that goes from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and they had never been so depressed in their lives because the Jesus they’d got to know and love had been arrested, found guilty of blasphemy, was crucified and buried. They had been desperately sad. There are people we all know who have some religious acquaintance with the Christian faith but they turn their backs on it all and they expect that from then on, free from the burden of religion, they’re going to have such fun-filled lives, but the reality is very different. Here were two men who knew Jesus Christ very well, and to lose him was to lose hope and meaning and the knowledge of God. They were facing a future of darkness, inexpressibly bleak. These two men were in despair through the loss of Jesus, and then the resurrected Jesus himself drew near. He spoke with them and then he did what only he can do, he took away the veil that was blinding them to the truth. He opened their understanding and he opened the Bible to them, and they were transformed. Instead of depression their hearts burned within them.
That is how we know God; first of all through his servants the prophets and apostles via the Scripture, and then through Jesus Christ his Son. To know him is to know the one true and living God. And then for God also to home in on you, and start to work in your lives, giving you some desire for himself, a wish to go to Christian meetings, and return to them, and open your heart and illuminate your soul and give you understanding of God’s grace and love – that is what God does for us in order for us to know him. By such divine knowledge our minds are informed and so our zeal is channelled and shaped and purified and fed with love. It is no longer blind zeal, the zeal of the fanatic. It is knowledgeable zeal. We won’t stone to death Christian preachers; we won’t become suicide bombers; we’ll love and honour our parents much more than we used to. We have a zeal for God, yes, but it is elevated and ennobled through knowing God.
3. THIS DIVINE KNOWLEDGE CENTRES ON THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT COMES IN CHRIST FROM GOD.
This is the best knowledge of all, not simply to learn by heart the contents of the Bible so that you can repeat most of the chapters and verses by heart – there is a better knowledge than that. Not simply to know the Ten Commandments and seek to keep them rigorously each day – there is a better knowledge than that. Not simply to have peak religious experiences, and feel our hearts full of joy or that we shed some tears, speaking with the tongues of men and of angels – there is a better knowledge than that. I will tell you what it is. There is a knowledge of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the righteousness of the God-man, that he was born of a woman just like all of us, and that he lived under the law just like all of us, but instead of breaking the law of God as we all do he kept it! He kept the ceremonial law, being circumcised on the eighth day, going up to Jerusalem for the feasts, paying temple tax. He kept the civil law, giving to Caesar what was Caesar’s, not stirring up insurrection, even carrying a Roman soldier’s possessions a second mile, heeding the law of the land. He kept the moral law of the Ten Commandments, keeping the Sabbath, loving God with all his heart and soul and mind and strength, and loving his neighbour as himself. He did this comprehensively. There was no spot or blemish in his life at all. There were no failures of omission. There was no outward show combined with an inner coldness or rebellion. He loved God as God loved him, and he loved his enemies. He turned the other cheek. He overcame evil with good. What a man! Not a cardboard saint, a little hypocrite, unreal and unattractive. Not a phantom; here was a man who got hungry and thirsty; he bled, and wept, and spat, and was so tired that he dropped off to sleep in a tossing boat in a storm. It was the righteousness of a true man that we see in Jesus of Nazareth, the righteousness of the last Adam, bone of our bone righteousness, flesh of our flesh righteousness. This world has seen a man as righteous as the archangel, a man as free from sin as God himself. It is a true human righteousness, and we’ve also seen glimpses of this in its beauty in men and women of God whom we have met and known in our lives, people in whom Jesus Christ lives.
The righteousness of a man, and yet this righteousness of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the carpenter, is also divine, the righteousness of the God-man, of the Word who was in the beginning, who was with God and who was God, who was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. It is the righteousness of the one who said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ It is the righteousness of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This divine righteousness, as Paul says in our text, ‘comes from God’ as Jesus did, and so it is infinite, eternal, unchangeable in its wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. It is an immeasurable righteousness because it comes from God. And so it could cover every atom and molecule and sub-atomic particle in the universe. It could cover every star, every planet, every grain of sand, every drop of water, every leaf and every blade of grass, and still there would be an infinite righteousness remaining. Think of it, this righteousness that comes from God is fully human and also fully divine.
This righteousness is as near to God in his nature as it is near to us in our natures. There is nothing that belongs to the divine righteousness that Jesus does not possess, neither is there is anything that belongs to human righteousness that is also not his. His righteousness is of that divine nature – the nature that was offended by sin; but his righteousness is also of that human nature – the nature that did the sinning. This divine righteousness pleases God, and it also pleases us. Had you ever heard of this? Did you know that such a glorious righteousness existed, that it was real, as real as the Bible in front of you, as real as the people you see this moment around you? The Israelites did not know about it. It did not play any part in shaping and restraining their zeal or any part of their relationship with God. But now you know about this righteousness. I have told you about it.
When Martin Luther first learned about the righteousness of God he was intimidated by it. He could not understand that Paul considered it to be wonderful good news. If God is righteous then what hope could there be for such an unrighteous man such as himself? But Paul had written to the Romans and he had told them, ‘In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith”’ (Rom. 1:17). Martin Luther thought that that was incredible. If Paul had written that in the character of Go a divine righteousness is revealed, yes, or that in the Scripture a righteousness from God is revealed, yes. No quibbles with statements like that. But where is there any gospel, any good news in the fact of the Lord being a righteous God? That means he will deal justly with angels and men who sin against him. He treats them just as they deserve. No good news there about God being righteous.
Where then is the good news? What did Luther finally realise? This righteous revealed from God is dynamic and lively. It lives and moves. It comes from God. It is a gift of God, and that gift can be received by us by faith. It is God giving us something utterly unimaginable. This righteousness from God becomes ours as we trust in God. Imagine a great canyon half a mile deep and thirty metres wide. On one side there is sin and condemnation. You’ve got to leave that place. On the other side there is righteousness. The only way across is a solitary cable. There is a tight-rope walker with a wheel-barrow. He is an expert. He has never yet fallen off that wire or lost a single passenger. He says to you, ‘If you stay here then there is no hope for you. You’re going to be destroyed. But if you put your faith in me and get into the wheel-barrow then I’ll take you to the place of righteousness.’ You trust in him. You get in and he takes you across, pace by pace, above the bottomless pit, from condemnation to justification, from destruction to salvation, from death to life. You live because you trusted in him. He delivered you and you became righteous as you trusted and obeyed him. For the rest of your life you live by trusting in this Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you. You trust in his salvation; you trust in his sin-bearing work on the cross; you trust in his divine-human righteousness. One day John Bunyan saw it. His life was full of ups and downs. Some days he lived a godly life and then other days he thought and spoke and did unacceptable things, and then the devil would come and accuse him. ‘How can you be a Christian and live like this? You are a hypocrite!’ He had no peace, no assurance of salvation. Was this alone the Christian life? Then he saw it one day, what was his righteousness, and where it was that very moment. It was in heaven; it was at the right hand of God; it was the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God had imputed John Bunyan’s sins to the cross of Jesus, and he had also imputed Christ’s obedience and righteousness to Bunyan. ‘Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress.’
That is true for all of us. The righteousness of God in Christ is not some static attribute of God hidden away in heaven. It is revealed to us in the gospel. It is offered to us should we believe. We are urged to receive it in Christ. It is the gift of God. It comes to us and it is upon all those of us who trust in him. It promises to hide our unrighteousness by the righteousness of Christ. It promises to cover our disobedience with his obedience. He shadows our death with his death, and the wrath of a sin-hating God cannot condemn us because our sins have all been dealt with in Christ. Receive it! Oh sinner, receive it! I have given you that knowledge today. Take that righteousness that comes from God as his merciful gift to you – take it to yourself today. Submit to it!
4. THE ALTERNATIVE TO SUBMITTING TO THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO ESTABLISH YOUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Everybody in Wales is seeking to establish their own righteousness, in other words, to gather together from the detritus of their sad unbelieving lives the things that they value and are most proud of – their work, their family values, their being a good neighbour, that they have always tried to do their best, and so on. They collect it; they make an inventory of the good they have done, they establish this, intending to present it to God as the reason why he should accept them and why he should hear their praying to get stuff in this life and welcome them to himself after they’ve died.
I am reminded of the day that Bishop Taylor Smith went to a barber shop and met a barber who was seeking to establish his own righteousness. He talked non-stop until in a gap in the monologue the bishop asked him if he were a religious man. ‘I don’t suppose you would call me a religious man, but in life I’ve always done my best, and I don’t think that God could ever ask a man that he do anything more than his best.’ The haircut finished, the bishop got up and paid the barber. ‘I can see that you’ll need a haircut soon,’ he said to the barber, who glanced into the big mirrors and nodded in agreement. ‘I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to get my hair cut.’ ‘Sit down now,’ the bishop said, ‘and I’ll cut your hair for you.’ ‘Ah,’ he replied condescendingly, ‘You couldn’t cut my hair.’ ‘I think I could,’ said the bishop, ‘I’ll do my best.’ ‘But your best wouldn’t be good enough for me,’ said the barber. ‘No. I understand that, and neither is our best good enough for God.’ That is why incarnation of a virgin, and atonement by a cross was essential for the reconciling of a holy God.
Every attempt to establish our own righteousness ends in rotten failure because it is simply not good enough. Isaiah the prophet said that all our righteousnesses seem like filthy rags when God looks upon them. Pride and selfishness and all our mixed motives in doing our best mean that all we’ve done comes short of God’s glory. That is the standard, not our best but God’s glory. That’s the standard of righteousness that the infinite holy One has set for true righteousness, not 8 out of 10, but 10 out of ten, his glory, that is true righteousness.
Saul of Tarsus was the classic example of a man who was seeking to establish his own righteousness. He could spell out achievement after achievement of all he’d once considered himself to have gained; ‘If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless‘ (Phil.3:4-6). Pretty impressive eh? Then what changed his opinion of himself? One day he started to realize what were the actual righteous requirements of the law. Before that day he had ticked all the boxes of the Ten Commandments. No other gods but Jehovah. No idols. No blasphemy. Rigorously keeping the Sabbath. Honouring his parents. No violence. No dirty weekends off with his girl-friend. No lies. No theft. As for legalistic righteousness blameless, and it all seemed pretty good . . . until the Holy Spirit took that tenth commandment like a two-edged sword and cut his conscience with it again and again. The tenth commandment says, ‘Thou shalt not covet.’ And how do you covet? With your voice? With your hands? With your feet, the places you go? No, you covet in your heart. And that realisation was terrifying to Saul. The law that seemed such a buddy, that used to confirm the fact that he was a terrific guy, suddenly turned nasty. The tenth commandment showed him the inward nature of the law, that it condemned lustful thoughts, and angry emotions, and self-pitying feelings, vile imaginations, fantasies, bitterness towards other people and towards God.
Paul tells us about that day and the experience he had and the impact it had on him in Romans chapter seven. ‘I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death‘ (Rom. 7:7-11). The words, ‘Do not covet’ shattered Paul’s self-esteem, and self-image and he no longer thought that ‘as for legalistic righteousness’ he was blameless. The law killed that self-righteous Pharisee. He was never to be found again. He disappeared from the world. There was no sight nor sound of that pompous guy whose aim was to establish his own righteousness. He was dead and buried. The law of God had killed him. So Paul made a bundle of all his good works, all his legalistic righteousnesses, and he set it all alight and he destroyed it, and he made Jesus Christ all his righteousness. We are saved not by our doing our best but by Jesus Christ having done the very best that God can require of men and women. My trust is all in his righteousness, and so Paul ends . . .
5. CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW AS THE WAY OF ESTABLISHING RIGHTEOUSNESS.
What does Paul mean? That everyone who believes in Christ has done with law-keeping as a way of attaining righteousness. Think of it like this, that we could also say that Christ is the end of doing the Sermon on the Mount in order to gain righteousness, or that Christ is the end of doing what the apostle teaches in Romans 12 in order to gain righteousness, or that Christ is the end of doing what James tells us in his letter in order to gain righteousness before God. We run from the law whether given by Moses or through Jesus or through Paul or through James. All we try to do to weave a garment of personal righteousness is flawed by our sin. All we can ever bring to Jesus Christ is our unrighteousness, but by trusting in and in and in and into him, we are thus joined to him and our sins become his responsibility and his righteousness becomes ours. That is the end of any and all our works as being the righteous foundation on which we stand before God. Christ is all our righteousness. He is the end of any other way. We plead him alone, saying, ‘God, for the sake of the righteousness of Christ accept me.’
Imagine in eternity past the Father saying to his Son, ‘Son here is this vast crowd of poor men and women and there is none among them righteous, no, no one. They are all going to face my justice. Justice demands from them obedience to my commandments and justice demands satisfaction for their wrong-doing. What shall be done with them?’ Jesus answers the divine rectitude, ‘Father, such is my love and my pity for them, that rather than they perish eternally, I make myself responsible for their deliverance as their Surety. I will live that righteous life that they have failed to live and I will pay the price of their redemption, to the last penny. Bring in all your bills. Let me see what they owe you; Lord, bring it all to me, that nothing is left outstanding. At my hand, whatever you require will be paid. I will rather choose to suffer thy justice than one of them should suffer it. In me you’ll find their righteousness. Lay on me all their debt.’
The Father loves his Son and replies, ‘But, my Son, if you undertake for them, you must reckon to pay the last penny of their vast debt. Nothing can be left outstanding or they must pay for it in hell. If I am to spare them, then I will not spare you.’ Christ said, ‘Father, I am content; let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it demands my life in dying as the Lamb of God, though it impoverishes all my riches, though it empties all my treasures, yet I am content. It shall be done.’ Jesus looked at you, and he said, ‘Father, such is my love to this unrighteous person and my pity for him that though he’s broken every command I shall impute my righteousness to him and I shall take his sin to me.’ Christ still claims, ‘Such is my love, and such is my pity.’ Proud men say, ‘I don’t want God’s pity.’ You need his pity. Your wretched life needs his pity. We are pitiful creatures. Christ says ‘Such is my love to and pity for them that rather than they shall perish eternally I will be responsible for them as their guarantee. Bring in all the bills, Father, that I may see what they owe thee.’ The Lord Jesus Christ has taken all our liabililties, and he has sacrificed everything for them.
Sometimes a young man will get married. And after the first months he’ll start getting a little shaky in his commitment. He’ll murmur, ‘I had no idea that marriage was this tough. I didn’t know it needed such sacrifice.’ He’d been boasting about how much he would love that girl. He had no idea of the commitment of righteousness that he would have to make to sustain true married love, and is wobbling. That is not true with Christ. No wobbling in his marriage covenant with his bride, though he knows everything about us. He speaks into the rectitude of a sin-hating God, ‘Father, bring in everything they owe you, let me look at it.’ Imagine this, that he sees everything that you owe Justice. He didn’t become incarnate ignorantly. He wasn’t born under the law not realizing what thirty-three years of loving God with all his heart and loving his neighbour as himself was going to cost him. He didn’t go to Golgotha blindly. He didn’t lie on the Cross and say ‘No Father, I don’t want to do this; I didn’t know it would cost so much.’ He knew from eternity how much it would cost him and yet he still did it.
Listen as he says to his Father, ‘Bring in all your bills that I may see what they owe you.’ ‘Lord, bring them all in.’ Now listen, men and women. If this doesn’t make you so happy or content with God’s way of salvation then you’re not understanding what I’m saying. Jesus asked for all our demands and all our debts and all our bills, and he clears it all, every demand of a righteous God Jesus has fulfilled for us. He clears all the bills in his sacrifice. Every one is paid for. The biggest debt is paid for. The smallest liability is paid for. They are all cleared. Every one of them from the time we were born till the day we die, everything we’ve owed God is settled. They are all brought from us to the Father and they are cleared by the Son, and all God’s holy demands were paid for by the life of Christ, so that we never have to deal with them again with regard to our sin. Never! Do you see that believer? You never have to deal with God about your sin and guilt again! It’s over! All your crimes are paid for! Your crimes in the past. Your crimes in the present! The crimes you’re going to commit in the future. All of them totally paid for. All the demands of God to love and serve him 24/7 – they have all been done by righteous Jesus.
No more my countless sins shall rise
To fill me with dismay.
That precious blood before his eyes
Has put them all away.
Forgotten every stain and spot,
Their memory past and gone,
For me, O God, Thou seest not,
Thou lookest on Thy Son.
Some people say ‘Well if you tell sinners that all they have to do is trust in Jesus and then his righteousness becomes ours they’ll just sin!’ No they won’t, not true believers. Calvary won’t let you. It makes us say, ‘If his love is like that, if he has set me free completely, I’m his! I don’t want to sin any more! I don’t want to sin the smallest sin again! Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all.’ You see men and women, that’s what leads to righteousness. This is the dynamic that produces godliness in the believer. Yes, there are commands, and there is the law of Christ, but what makes me godly is knowing that Jesus lived for me and that he died for me. He paid for every sin, past, present and future. And God will never again call me into account in his judgment hall to judge me. Never again! I’m free. Oh thank God I’m free! And you say ‘But it says that it is appointed unto men once to die and after death the judgment.’ Yes it does, but in that judgment, when you look up into the Judge’s face, then it will be your Father’s smile that you’ll see. It will be the Saviour who lived for you and died in your place that you’ll see and the moment you glimpse him you will be like him. Your status will then become your actuality. The one who judges you is the one who lived the righteous life God requires just for you and who paid the atoning death for you. Don’t you see that? You’re free. You’re free! No guilt! Then always go to him! Always go back to him! Always run to him! You’re free! Here is his perfect righteousness and his substitutionary death and that can’t be changed now! Christ’s righteousness unto all and upon everyone who believes.
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