“Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience [in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10] and see whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses.
“Yes, let us ask whether we have learned to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in.
“It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all.”
I recently read through the Bible using the NIV. I’ve done this before and it always irritates me.
The NIV is not a bad translation when it comes to reading the stories in the Bible, much of the OT reads much better in the NIV.
However, being a good narrator does not equal being a good theology teacher. Whenever the Bible hits on doctrinal truth the NIV frequently drops the ball.
The thing I hate the worst about it is that it makes up words that are not there and removes other words that are there. A few weeks ago I used a verse and my whole point hinged on one word.
The NIV did not have that one word in their verse making my point seem stupid to anyone who reads the NIV. I assure you, the stupid one (in this instance anyway) was not me.
If you rely on the NIV for your doctrinal instruction, I strongly encourage you to stop now. It is leading you astray. I say this with all seriousness.
Salvation, at its essence, is pretty easy. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Simple.
The problem is that if it’s so simple, how do you know you actually got it? The Bible has enough warnings about believing in vain that we really must get the answer to this question.
Salvation is necessary so that we might escape the judgment of God that our sin deserves. We must be made righteous. Righteousness is not attainable by sinful men. The only way to get righteousness is to get it from God.
God, in His abundant grace, provides the gift of righteousness, which makes us right with God. Grace always brings with it righteousness.
The way to know you have simply received God’s grace is that righteousness always shows up with it. It has to because God is gracious and righteous. Christ is the embodiment of grace and righteousness. Salvation is the abundance of God’s grace and the gift of righteousness.
This is important stuff and I beg you to listen to my long-winded, and yet thorough, sermon. Thank you.
It’s a fine thing to exclaim “I’m saved!” But it’s also a fine thing to know exactly what it is you are saved from.
Mostly when we ponder the question, “what am I saved from?” We answer with: I’m saved from
From the law
From the curse
These are all fine answers, but they really don’t hit at the main answer.
When a man is saved, ultimately he has been saved from God Himself. God is the Judge, He is the one who casts the soul into hell, He is the one who has wrath against sin, He is the one who can save you and without Him you are lost.
Let us not forget that when we are saved, mainly we are being saved from God.
Deuteronomy 28 lists a bunch of good things that will happen if Israel keeps the law and a bunch of curses that will happen if they disobey.
I want to look at one of them, Deuteronomy 28:29, “and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways.”
We understand, through the New Testament, that Jesus Christ was made a curse for us. What this means is that all the curses of the Law were placed on Christ for everyone who has ever broken that Law, which is everyone.
Therefore, if the curse of darkness at noon comes to those who break the Law, one would expect this to happen when Christ carried the curse of the Law!
“Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.” —Matthew 27:45.
Where is Paul getting this from? Covetousness is idolatry sounds nice, just a pithy saying of Paul? A conjecture of biblical logic? It is much more, it is a summation of the Law. Get this:
Consider the foundation of the Law, the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from Sinai. Commandment Number one is:
“You shall have no other God before me.”
The last of the Ten Commandments is:
“You shall not covet.”
God starts off and ends with a main concern of His: don’t want anything more than Me. No matter what it is, if it’s not Him you’ve fallen into sin.
God is merciful and this is really beneficial for us! And that is an understatement.
In Romans, Paul focuses on mercy in chapters 9 and 11. God shows mercy to whom He shows mercy. This is referring to an act of God, a merciful act, showing compassion to a person.
That’s the way Paul uses the word until he gets to chapter 12, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice. . .”
We do not present our bodies as living sacrifices because God has shown us mercy, he uses a different Greek word for “mercies.” This word emphasizes who God is, His bowels of mercy, His merciful condition of heart.
The point may be this: We do not present ourselves as sacrifices because God showed us mercy; we present ourselves because God is merciful, it’s who He is. Perhaps an overtatement of a minor distinction, but there’s always a reason the Bible uses the words it uses.
God is merciful and we want a merciful God to have our lives.