This week's memory verse:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -- Romans 8:28
I love when a message hits me from many angles that I can't ignore it! Last night, I watched a live, online conference...the Orange conference. I have attended this conference for the last 2 years, but this year I couldn't go. But they are broadcasting parts of the it live. I watched Andy Stanley speak last night. One of the things he talked about was what is natural to us...sin. Today's Bible study lesson is about sin... I think that is pretty cool! I'm ready to learn!
Did you ever really think about the 10 commandments? I learned them as a kid, memorized them through a catchy tune at Bible school, I think. There has been much controversy over the 10 Commandments in the last several years...should they be hanging in our courthouses and other government buildings? But did you ever really think about WHY they were so important to God? Why did he give his people laws to follow?
God, our loving father and creator, wanted to do all he could to protect us...from ourselves. Galatians 3:24 says that the law was our guardian until Christ came to justify us.
I'll get to the justify part in a minute. I want to think about the guardian part for a bit. We are humans...God created us, but he gave us free will...we can do what we want and unfortunately, our nature is to sin. It is natural for us to be selfish...it is natural for us to lie...it is natural for us to try to hurt someone who has hurt us...God gave his people the law to PROTECT us from those natural tendencies. He knows how we are and wanted to teach us how to protect ourselves from ourselves! He gave his people time to learn his laws and learn that alone, they couldn't keep those laws...it's not NATURAL...and then he brought Jesus into the picture to save us from our natures.
The very thing that condemns us - our inability to keep God's commandments, set in place to protect us - is what God uses to show us how much we need a savior!
We are quick to judge others when we see their human nature coming out and see them unable to follow God's laws, but we are slow to see the same in ourselves.
Read John 8:1-11. The Pharisees are trying to set Jesus up by giving him an unanswerable question. The law says that someone committing adultery should be stoned...what would you do with her? Jesus turns the tables on them by saying let the one without sin cast the first stone. Everyone backed away and left, the oldest first. I think the oldest among them remembered more sins that they committed in their lifetime...because WE ALL SIN!
My faith in God's plan through Christ gives me hope and peace because I realize that I sin...it is my human nature. Yes, God created me, but he didn't make me perfect...as hard as I try...I am driven by that human nature and I mess up. Christ died and paid my penalty for that inability to keep the law...and I am saved, able to face God.
This doesn't give us free reign to just go and sin as as we want knowing that Jesus will save us in the end. But, when you have Jesus in your heart, you learn from past mistakes and you WANT to follow the laws because you see that God wants us to live that way so we won't hurt ourselves and others...knowing God and listening to him helps you live a better life. AND knowing that EVERYONE is led by their human nature helps you learn to be more forgiving and compassionate to those in your life who do mess up from time to time.
I thank God that his grace is greater than my sin. When I mess up he shines even brighter through me when I realize how much I NEED him! You are human...it is your nature to sin. You NEED a savior from those sins too...grab on to the hope and peace that comes from knowing that God loves you so much he wants to protect you and save you from yourself!