Let’s pick up from last week. Or, rather, give me time to just warm up.
We talked about how we are loved, and loved, indeed, by no less than the Creator of the Universe, of all that is seen and unseen. We are loved, yes, loved, by the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are loved, yes, loved! We are loved by the Creator of the stars in the sky, the sun that ushers the day in, and the moon that glows in the night – we are loved by the Creator of time, the same God who establishes the expanses of the heavens, and the borders of the oceans and the seas – We are loved, not only by the Creator of time, but the Creator of space, who Himself is endless, and who Himself is borderless.
We are loved, loved by God! God, who is infinite and everlasting, loves us with an infinite and everlasting love! God has no beginning, God has no end; He not only has love for us, but He Himself IS love – There is no talk of true love without mention of God! And just as currency has no value unless it stands on something, so we can freely and liberally claim that our eternal God eternally loves us, because it is backed by no less than Christ, His only begotten Son, and His finished work!
Yes, this Christ who we sing of – This Christ who came from heaven to earth, from the earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, and from the grave, to the sky… truly, we lift His name on high – Why? Because all He did, He did to reconcile us, because yes, our eternal God eternally loves us!
Forgive me, because I couldn’t help but go down that rabbit hole, and I don’t mind going back there again and again, understanding how change occurs so quickly in this reality, much so that every time we go back to beholding Christ, we see something we’ve never seen before, we remember something we appreciate in the past, and/or we just see something we’ve seen before, just in another fresh perspective.
Truly, this is how I’ve come to agree that, yes, God’s mercies are new with every morning!
And actually, even in that, we see something new: let’s break it down.
God’s mercies are absolute. Every morning is different. Therefore, in every different morning, we see God’s absolute mercies from a different angle, and are, therefore, new. New, each and every morning.
And that’s the point I believe we’re coming to in this series. For yes, last time around we were talking about Christ’s living legacy. To be perfectly honest with all of you I wasn’t really sure of the collective point of the series, but I was glad that as your pastor, I could always default to Christ and His finished work.
Here, however, in the Gospel In Ten Words, I would like all of us to sit down and consider the following, coming straight out of the tail end of my message last Sunday. You remember what we talked about, when we said we ought to differentiate the possibilities from the guarantees?
Story Time. I spoke to my Mom, not too long ago, about how, during our trip to Israel, we travelled with another pair, a mother and her son, and we became really good friends with them – well, at least on Facebook.
…And it was also on Facebook that we learned that they both died of Covid. Last month. I only found out because it was the son’s birthday, and when I went over his profile, I saw more ‘We miss you’ posts than ‘Happy Birthdays’.
Anyway, Mom was clearly shocked. The conversation stayed on health and Mom, bless her, couldn’t keep it in any longer, and said that we should always claim our healing. She said something in the lines of, Christ was healthy, so we claim health.
In love, I asked her, what about Joel (the son)? One of his final posts was a Bible verse, proclaiming he trusts the doctors, but he trusts God more for his healing.
Before my Mom had the chance to regroup, I drove my point – Healing is a mere possibility… and though I would usually allow time for whoever I talk to, to counterpunch – in this case, I needed to deliver my coup de grace – God’s love for us is guaranteed by Christ.
Friends, respect reality by acknowledging the following – healing and sickness are possibilities. Prosperity and poverty are possibilities. The reality that our senses perceive is full of possibilities, but we have been guaranteed of love – and not just any love, but a blood-bought, true, perfect, infinite and everlasting love.
It is my prayer that we do not base what Christ has guaranteed to us based on our possibilities, but that we would respect all possibilities from the solid ground of what has been guaranteed to us in Christ.
And what are these guarantees? Well, again, Paul Ellis sums it up in 10 words. Through His finished work, Christ has guaranteed that we are:
LOVED. FORGIVEN. SAVED. We enjoy UNION.
Christ has guaranteed that we are ACCEPTED. HOLY. RIGHTEOUS.
We have DIED (!? more on this when we get there!!). We are NEW, and not only are we NEW, but Christ guaranteed that we are ROYAL.
Money, health, power, influence, survival, all possibilities. Respect your possibilities from what Christ guaranteed.
Possibilities versus guarantees. Expectations versus reality. Integers versus boolean values. Variables versus constants. Facts versus truth.
LOVED. FORGIVEN. SAVED. UNION. ACCEPTED. HOLY. RIGHTEOUS. DIED. NEW. ROYAL.
Maybe I should end here and let you guys brood over it. Let this marinate in your minds and the rest of your beings.
Let’s jump into the second guarantee. The second absolute. The second Biblical truth that was made true for us because of Christ: We are FORGIVEN.
Before my unfortunate automotive accident during the last quarter of 2020, my good ol’ trusty Toyota Revo had a sticker stuck to its rear. It read FORGIVEN BY JESUS. I remember after my Dad passed away one of my smart-ass uncles asked my Mom – Forgiven by Jesus? What did we do so bad that someone as high up as Jesus forgave us?
Well, now that he asks it, we didn’t do anything at all. The book of Romans states that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Pastor Mavin pointed out something Pastor John always likes to indicate: That God is thrice holy… and this verse says we can’t even get to once holy, all because of sin. In another chapter of the same book, Paul points out to the Romans that by one man’s disobedience, many have died. Sin came into the world through Adam. It wasn’t about us doing unspeakable sins – the fact of the matter that is being pointed out in all this is that we never had a chance to begin with. We were born sinners, and therefore, no matter how ‘good’ we were, we were sinning.
Praise be to God, because of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Because the same chapter in the book of Romans reads, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned… MUCH MORE will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ!
By way of Adam, we weren’t just sinning, but we were sinners. But because of Christ we have been declared righteous.
We’ll talk about being righteous down the line, but the point I wanted to emphasize here is that it wasn’t something we did that made us sinners. Rather, we didn’t sin to become sinners. Adam sinned, and as descendants of Adam we were declared sinners from the start, and by this we were sinners who sinned.
Therefore, Christ saved us the same way. We didn’t do righteous things to become righteous. Christ took our place and became our sin, in order for us not only to have righteousness, but to BE righteous. Christ died and rose again, and as believers of Christ we were born again as righteous, and by this we are made righteous, rebuilt for righteousness.
Friends, we don’t just have forgiveness. We are Forgiven. It’s who we are.
If you didn’t do anything to be a sinner, it’s the same thing when you are declared righteous. It’s the same thing when you are declared forgiven. I love the song we sing, nothing that you do can make Him love you more, and nothing that you’ve done can make Him close the door.
In the same way that you couldn’t work your way out of being a sinner because that’s who you were, so you couldn’t sin enough to get out of being righteous. There, I said it. And I say it only because of Christ’s finished work.
We are righteous. We are forgiven. It’s who we are.
But why do I still stumble? Go ahead and stumble. It won’t change Christ’s finished work.
But you’re encouraging us to do whatever we want! Go ahead and do whatever you want. It won’t change Christ’s finished work. If you willfully want to make a mistake, remember, you’re taking Christ with you. Awkward much?
We are righteous. We are forgiven. It’s who we are.
But what about 1 John 1:9?
First of all, John addresses the general public in the first chapter, before addressing ‘my little children’ in the rest of the epistle. Second, the context of 1 John 1 comes against those who deny Christ and, more importantly, deny sin and that they have sinned. Look at 1 John 1:8 (If we say we have no sin…) before looking at 1 John 1:9 (If we confess our sins…).
What about Hebrews 10:26-27?
Consider that the only sin that is mentioned in the book of Hebrews is unbelief. Therefore, if we receive the knowledge (hear) of the truth, but if we deliberately continue to refuse to believe, there is no sacrifice left for us.
What about Matthew 12:31?
Consider what the Holy Spirit convicts us of, and understand that if we hear the calling of the Holy Spirit, and are convinced yet still so adamant against it, this is blasphemy.
The overall point I wish to deliver in all this is that it’s all about us appreciating Christ and His finished work over all else. For when we consider Christ and all He has guaranteed, we can look at the possibilities of these difficult verses, and we can appreciate His finished work in newer, fresher perspectives.
Today was wild. I’ll expound on this more.
Or maybe not.
I’m learning to focus on a few points for retention, instead of spreading myself out too thin with all sorts of points, just to say that I said them. With that said I challenge all of us to start expressing what they think on the matter.
That’s that. I’m going to eat now.