Continued from yesterday . . .
So preacher, I beg you, please don't destroy the biblical meaning of grand concepts such as grace, love, forgiveness and salvation by failing to preach law, wrath, sin and hell. Their very definition hinges on a correct biblical understanding of these truths. This is highlighted in the following account of an interaction between Jesus, a sinful woman, and a pharisee.
One of the Pharisees asked him (Jesus) to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner."
And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher. A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly."
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven--for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little."
If you really want to love God a lot like the woman who washed Jesus' feet then perhaps you need a deeper understanding of your own depravity and unworthiness. This in turn will serve to magnify Christ's redemptive work on the cross.
God's law serves four functions for those of us in the New Testament era:
1.It stops the sinner's mouth from justifying itself;
2.It helps the whole world realize that they are guilty;
3.It brings the knowledge of sin; and
4.It acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
(Romans 3:19,20, Romans 7:7, and Galatians 3:24).
When preaching God's law it is important to remember that it is a mirror and not a stick. It shows us our utter inadequacy and inability to please God. It is designed to drive men to complete surrender rather than improved behavior. To bring us to the point where we are through with ourselves, where we seek a substitute, where we hunger and thirst for righteousness - it is then that God's grace becomes wondrous. It deepens our gratitude and sense of wonder at how amazing grace really is.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
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