Thursday, December 21, 2006

LIVING A WORTHY LIFE

I've been thinking about the righteous judgment of God. By His wisdom He devised a plan by which the most sinful and unworthy man might be called "worthy" and still God remains just. On the surface, that doesn't sound right. If a judge let off a murderer, that doesn't sound like a good judge. And it wouldn't be, but with God it's personal because we are His children who have strayed. God's concern is that men are lost and their sins have condemned them. That's His judgment, not mine. It says because of man's ungodliness, he is "worthy of death" (Rom. 1:25ff). At one point or another, all of us have been "worthy of death". Our sins have made a separation between us and our God (Isaiah 59:1,2). We know that the wages for our wrongdoing is death, eternal separation from Him (Rom 6:23). But the Lord has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we might not receive what we deserve. God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Pt. 3:9ff).

It turns out that God knew all along we would sin. From before the foundation of the world He knew exactly how He would save those He made in His image (Eph. 1:4; Gen. 1:26). He did not remain silent about man's "unworthiness" to stand before Him. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). In response to man's need, He communicated to man, through His prophets and through His Son, both His love for mankind and His righteous requirement for man to believe and obey the Gospel of Jesus. He hoped that we would by faith seek Him. By His justice and grace He has a plan by which He redeems and eternally saves, and makes worthy, those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

To be "worthy", we need to live by faith. It is already established that we are sinful and deserving of death. Knowing this, through faith we choose to live according to His will. This life of faith is the life that we describe and depict in our words and deeds.

God desires that we live a worthwhile life. In the New Testament we are told to live worthy of Christ, to live worthy of God, to live worthy of the Gospel, to live worthy of the kingdom, and worthy of the "calling with which we have received" (Eph. 4:1; Phil 1:27; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Thess 1:5). It's sounds impossible, but it's not. It means that we understand His will and strive to live in a way comparable to that will. We will never be perfect and never be deserving of eternal life, but God chooses that those who put their faith in Him and live according to the Gospel are worthy to be saved.

At what point is a person first introduced into God's salvation so that he can say, "I'm saved, I've been made worthy by His grace"? The people on Pentecost in Acts 2 asked what they should do when they discovered they were complicit in the death of the Son of God. Peter and the rest of the 12 told them to "repent ye and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ with a view to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). It is when the sinful and unworthy person turns from sin and puts on Jesus (Gal. 2:26,27) in baptism that He is born again and receives God's forgiveness (Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 22:16; 1 Pt. 3:21). Praise the Lord for that. Praise the Lord that by His grace, we may be found worthy.

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