Sunday, November 02, 2008

Making Real God's Promise

{Isaiah 1:18-20; ESV}
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

God has given us a wonderful promise. He has promised to remove our sin and make us new. Let me put it another way: God will redeem our lives. God will take all the junk, the sin and the pain, and give us a life that is worth living. That speaks to the heart of so many people because we want our lives to matter, and many of us feel like our lives are being wasted. The consequences of sin hold us in bondage and the addictive nature of sin has turned us into people we don’t want to be. God promises that He will change this!

There is another side to this coin. While God promises to help us, to re-create us and and to take away our sins, but we have to be willing to accept that help. The key to receiving God’s help is faith. Faith is not just about having a belief in God, but it is trusting God. I like to say that belief + action = faith.

So how do we demonstrate our faith in God? First, He has asked us believe in Jesus. Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29; ESV). Jesus is God’s appointed way to salvation and if we expect to receive help from God we must put our trust in Jesus. It is not easy to trust Jesus. One reason is because His way, the way of the cross, is difficult and it demands submission and sacrifice. A second reason is because there are a number of other philosophies or religions that seem make more sense to us. Only a few will follow the way of Jesus.

Second, we must repent. Peter speaking to the crowd at Pentecost said; Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19; ESV). The main idea of repentance is not merely doing a 180 but is changing your allegiance. It is like a person from another country denouncing their loyalty to their homeland and declaring their allegiance to the United States. Repentance means we denounce our sinful ways, our allegiance to the Kingdom of Darkness, and throw our lot in with God, the Kingdom of Light.

Third, we must love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35; ESV). When we love each other we are fulfilling the command Jesus gave us. It is not easy to love people, but when we sacrifice and extend a helping hand to others we are being the type of people Jesus wants us to be. Also by loving other people we prove our love for God. Love is the pathway over which God’s help can come into our lives.

God has promised us a new life that is cleansed from our sins, but in order to receive this promise we need to have faith in God. By trusting God (belief in action) we begin to discover life the way it should be and we begin to see things from God’s perspective. It is at that point that we begin to truly desire the life God has waiting for all those who have trusted in Him. God’s promises are made real in the lives of the faithful.

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