Romans 8:34 – Jesus Christ, Judge and Intercessor

Romans 8:34
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

-Jesus Christ paid with blood for the right to judge the whole Earth; instead of using that authority to condemn us all, He instead pleads on our behalf that we be absolved from our crimes.  Romans 8:1 tells us that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  There can be no condemnation for those that are saved because who else could condemn us but Christ?  If others try, Christ will silence them with His own authority.  The Lord came not to destroy our lives, but to save them.

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Proverbs 10:23 – Making sport of mischief

Proverbs 10:23
23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

-What do sports mean to you?  For some, it is something that we watch or play in order to pass the time.  Others participate with the express purpose of outdoing others and coming away victorious.  These are the mindsets that the Bible applies to those who do mischief.  Fools will do mischief out of boredom to pass the time.  They may do mischief in order to gain some advantage or victory over someone they perceive as an enemy.  When mischief or strife finds you, do you see it as something that should be avoided or do you take it as a challenge?

Luke 10:38-42 – Mary hath chosen that good part

Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

-How’s your service to the Lord?  It’s a question we use to judge ourselves (and others, if we’re honest) on how strong our faith is.  Martha’s service was very good; she had invited the Lord into her home and like any good hostess, she set about with “much serving”.  But when she confronts Jesus about her sister Mary’s lack of service, notice the Lord’s reaction; He doesn’t validate Martha’s labor but instead points out the only thing that can truly define the strength of our faith- how close we get to Him.  It’s easy to be busy and stamp our labors as “holy work”, but it’s much more difficult to get really close to God and take the time to listen to His teachings and His direction for our lives.

Joshua 1:8 – Immutable Law

Joshua 1:8
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

-How many of you have broken the speed limit today?  Even a little.  Every day we are given the opportunity to defy the laws of the land.  Ultimately, the decision we make will depend on the level of respect we have for the law coupled with the fear of those who enforce those laws.  Now consider the natural laws such as gravity.  You can defy these laws as well (take a trip up in a plane, open the door and step out).  But you will quickly learn that while you can defy natural law, that doesn’t mean you should try and if things don’t end catastrophically bad for you, it’s only because the Lord showed you mercy.  God exercised His authority as Creator when he established natural law.  God used that same authority when He created the commandments in the Bible.  It’s best to think of God’s commandments more like the laws of physics as opposed to the laws of the land.  Sure, you can defy His commands, but that doesn’t mean you should try and if things don’t end catastrophically bad for you, it’s only because the Lord showed you mercy.

Isaiah 65:24 – Ask In Faith

Isaiah 65:24
24
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

-This is a very powerful verse of scripture that at once captures both the Lord’s omnipotent power and His boundless compassion.  While it’s comforting to recognize that our Creator actually possesses the ability to answer before we call, notice the beginning of this verse; “And it shall come to pass…”  The fact that this is still a future day implies that the Lord doesn’t hear and answer like this in the present; why would that be?  In the context of Isaiah 65, the Lord is describing a future time when the hearts of the people have turned to God and all the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord.  The Lord can hear and answer every prayer because every heart will be perfectly in tune with Him.  Unfortunately that is not the case in the present tense.  Our hearts are divided which leaves us chasing after a multitude of things in addition to the Lord.  James 1:6-7 tells us to “ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”  What’s worse, our divided hearts can, and often does, lead to us chasing after other things without seeking the Lord at all.  Psalm 66:18 teaches that “if [we] regard iniquity in [our] heart, the Lord will not hear [us].”

Romans 8:1-3 – Bound By Law

Romans 8:1-3
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 10:4
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

-The Bible teaches time and again that all of humanity is guilty of breaking God’s law (Romans 5:12-14), and yet, as we see here in Romans 8 and 10, the Bible is the story of God forgiving man’s transgression.  Jesus taught, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18) How then can God let lawbreakers go free and still be just?  The Bible tells us that “He made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Jesus didn’t die on a cross simply to set an example of selflessness and humility.  He maintained His sinless perfection all the way to the cross (Hebrews 4:15), suffered God’s judgment for our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6) and in the process, justified all that would have faith in Him (Isaiah 53:11).  Jesus can pardon sin because Jesus is not bound by how well we can keep the law, but only by how well He can keep the law.

Isaiah 28:16 – A Sure Foundation

Isaiah 28:16
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

-A foundation is defined as “the lowest load-bearing part of a building.”  Jesus is the “Sure Foundation” that has been laid by God the Father and upon which everything depends.  Think about that.  Moral surety is not the foundation of Christianity; guiding philosophy is not the foundation of Christianity; religious precept is not the foundation of Christianity.  Our whole religion rises and falls on one thing- Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches that we “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13), but Jesus Himself warns us that “without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)  To have Jesus is to have absolute certainty that your past, present and eternity is secure; but not having Jesus means you have nothing.

Luke 17:6 – Real Faith

Luke 17:6
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

-Have you ever wondered why Jesus likens our faith to a grain of mustard seed?  Surely such a small amount of faith would be easy to come by.  Not so.  This analogy is given to bring to light how rare true faith really is.  True faith completely accepts something without relying on logic, reason, evidence, or rationale.  Consider a small child’s faith in the tooth fairy.  They have never seen the tooth fairy, have no idea what she looks like, and don’t know what she does with children’s teeth or why she would pay money for them.  Not only does the child have none of these answers; it never occurs to the child to ask these questions.  The child’s parent told them and they believe.  Period.  So it should be with our faith.  We have never seen God, don’t know what He looks like, and can’t explain why He does what He does.  It should never occur to us to look for these answers; God’s word told us something and we should believe.  Period.

1 Corinthians 6:15 – Our Hands of God

1 Corinthians 6:15
15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

-Remember this very sobering verse of scripture the next time you are tempted to sin.  The Bible teaches that as believers, we are the very arms, legs and fingers of God Himself.  If we look on sin, we are looking with the Lord’s eyes; if we reach for sin, we are reaching with the Lord’s hand; do you want that?  It’s bad enough that we would so disrespect our own bodies; but who are we to do that to God?

James 4:17 – Sins of Omission

James 4:17
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

-Sins of omission; just when we think our hands are full enough with abstaining from the things we shouldn’t be doing, James comes along and reminds us that it is also sin if we fail to do the things we should be doing.  So the million dollar question becomes, “what should we be doing?”  Luke 10:27 is a good place to start: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”  How about Mark 16:15?  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  The Bible makes it perfectly clear what we should not be doing, but it makes it just as clear what need to be doing.