Bible Reading for: April 30
You were once a sinner, but having accepted Christ, you have been set free. Sin has no power over you. You are reborn into perfection.
Well hush my mouth! Finally, a king that tore down the high places! Do you remember way back during the Wilderness years when a plague of poisonous snakes had infested the Israelite camp (Numbers 21)? The people had spoken against God and Moses. They had been grumbling and complaining again and claiming that they would have been better off if they never left Egypt. Those snakes were doing a lot of biting and a lot of Israelites were dying. They apologized to Moses and asked that he pray to God on their behalf. In response to his prayer, God told Moses to make a bronze serpent on a pole. Anyone who was bitten by a snake could then look upon the bronze serpent and live.
Do you remember that story? You know what came of God’s saving graces on that day so long ago? Some people started worshipping the bronze serpent, and that abominable practice continued on until Hezekiah’s day. They had created a god and gave it a name “Nehushtan”. God performed incredible miracles among them, and they worshipped the work of their own hands. Well, Hezekiah put an end to that one! Here we finally have a king who went all the way. He walked in the ways of the Lord and he torn down the idols.
Do you notice that even though Hezekiah walked in the ways of the Lord, as no other before him had, his life wasn’t free of trouble and illness? God did bless him and protect him and guide him, but the consequences of living in a fallen world fall upon us all; king and pauper, saved and unsaved alike. The difference, if you will notice, is that God hears our prayers. When Hezekiah was sick, and told that he was going to die, he prayed to God who heard his prayer and gave him another fifteen years.
Hezekiah wasn’t perfect. His pride doomed his children. He was all too pleased to show off his wealth to the emissaries of Babylon. He brought a crook into his house so as to brag. The crook listened intently as the king’s pride allowed him to “case the joint”. In just a few years the Babylonians would come and carry all of Judah off into captivity. I’m telling you guys, no matter how good a hero of the Bible might appear, they are still human so they will sin. If Hezekiah had been perfect, then Jesus would not have been necessary. It would have shown that man can perfect himself; that he doesn’t need a savior. Everything the Bible tells us points to one fact; we need a “super-human” Savior; we need Jesus the Christ.
I’m afraid that what too many of us Christians take away from this fact is that we can’t be perfect. I’m here to tell you that is a lie. You can’t be perfect without Christ, but if you have accepted Christ, then perfection is possible. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. In fact, that is how you are supposed to be. Yes, you are forgiven, and you now live under a new covenant, but Jesus said that he came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it. He said that not one dot or iota would pass from the Law until all had come to pass; that “all” includes His second coming. He died so that you would be free from the imperfection of sin. He did not die so you could say “Oh well, I’m a sinner but at least I’m forgiven”. At least you’re forgiven? At least?
Don’t you know? You were a sinner. Your sin is as far from you as the East is from the West. You have been cleansed of that imperfect past. You have God’s own Holy Spirit living within you. You are no longer a sinner. Why are you putting those chains back on? Why are you putting imperfection back on? Why do you accept the false notion that as far as sin is concerned you can’t help it? You can help it! Jesus died so you could help it; not in your own power but in His. Start living and doing in His power. When you accepted Christ, you were born again; yet it is not you who lives, but Christ who lives within you. The old has gone the new has come. That new is a child of the living God who has been made to be perfect. Stop playing in the gutter. Stop putting on filthy rages as if to go back to being that person who died. You would not be better off if you never left Egypt!
Brothers, why do you and I continually act as if we just can’t help sinning? It’s a lie! We can help it. When you accept the lie, you give yourself an excuse. If you ever want to fail at something, believe you can’t do it. You were not made for failure. You have been reborn into perfection! Believe it and do it!
Vivere Victorem! (Live Victorious!)
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!