What is man, that he should be pure, or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Job 15: 14

 

The answer to this ancient question is that we humans are neither pure nor righteous. These are not the characteristics and the qualities of the creature that we are. This state of affairs is not the product of upbringing and it is not the result of the conditions that we live in. It is who we are, and we are defined by a very stridently self-absorbed and God denying existence. The human animal made a determination to leave the orderly place that God had designed for our safety, nurture, and pleasure; then, we stepped defiantly out into that broken land of our own choosing where danger, starvation, and pain are the community’s welcoming greeting.

 

Despite our efforts to distance ourselves from the righteous rule of God, we just can’t seem to shake His presence. When all appeared to be desperately lost; when humanity had reached the point of collapsing under the weight of its own depravity, God sent Himself into this world. He came not as an avenger of His rule of law, but rather, He came as the lamb of love that brings life to all. Christ the perfect and the pure came to live as a member of this human race, and we will never be the same. People can now relate directly to God, our Creator and Lord. We can now live in the possibility of pure love and grace.

 

In our old humanity, Job’s question has nothing except negative answers. In the state of our births, we can never be pure and righteous; so, we can never draw near to the glory of the all-righteous and holy God. However, through Christ and in His grace, we are brought out of the old and transformed into a new form of humanity. This is one that enters into the possibility of who and what we are and that recognizes that God crafts it in His perfect image. Purity and righteousness can now be our normal state. Selfless love and fearless grace can be the characteristics that mark and measure our days. In Christ, the answers to those questions shout out, “Yes, I am pure, for my Savior has made me righteous!”

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Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5: 24

 

When does life begin? This is a question that has been debated for a very long time, and it continues to be a point a real contention to this day. Some people argue that life commences at conception, others say that it is at birth, and still others hold that it doesn’t begin until an individual draws independent breath. I am proposing a fourth alternative. This is that life truly begins for each of us when we accept God’s offer of His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord. The rest of what we might consider to be life is a weak shadow in comparison to being fully alive in Christ, and this new state of being alive is ours from the moment that we surrender ourselves to Christ as this is when His Spirit comes to dwell within us and God’s sentence of judgment upon us as sinners is placed upon Jesus as our personal redeemer.

 

Thus, from that moment forward our lives take on a new meaning and a redeemed purpose. In accepting Christ we have also entered into the will of the Father for relationship with Him. Jesus is the mediator who brings people into the holy presence of the Father with our sins removed and the judgment that we so rightly deserved taken on by Him on the cross. As we are right with God, we can live righteously throughout our days in this world. This is an important aspect of the calling that God has for us as His children and that Christ places before us as His redeemed. Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross has an eternal purpose and it also has one that is for this moment in time.

 

The life that w have been granted as a gift from God through the loving sacrifice of Jesus is to be used to bring the character and nature of the Father and the Son into direct contact with this world. As we who know Christ go about our lives and engage in the activities of our days, we can touch others with love, grace, mercy, and the truth that comes from God’s Word. We can have a redemptive effect upon the brokenness of this place where we live in the manner that we conduct ourselves as we follow the example of Christ and the leading of His Spirit. In Christ we are set free to live without fear of judgment, and we are also granted the freedom to proclaim the redemptive love of Christ to a world where death rules. So, this is the primary purpose of this new life that we receive in Christ. We can demonstrate and speak of life as something that we possess and offer that same life to anyone who accepts God’s offer of it through Christ.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139: 7

 

There is one singularly constant presence in the entire universe, and that is God. This is a very comforting fact for many people, but it is also highly disturbing for others and fiction for some. Yet, God’s presence and involvement do not depend upon our belief or unbelief. As the author and the creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, the Lord’s handprints are found on it all. However, unlike the evidence that people leave behind us by virtue of our fingerprints or traces of our DNA, God has touched the structure and shaped the essence of all that is at the level of its most elemental component. This is true for people, animals, plants, and the earth and sky. This is also true for all that exists in the realm of the spiritual.

 

For me, the presence of God is the reality of my world. This is not always so easy to accept, and my thoughts and actions certainly don’t consistently demonstrate this understanding. Thus I wonder, how can I become angry to the point of thinking violence upon others when they are God’s image-bearing children? Or, where do I get the right to think in terms of superiority and inferiority in these same beloved beings? These questions are just examples of a long list of possible ones that I could pose concerning my personal lack of faith in the truth of the Lord’s total sovereignty over creation and of His unceasing engagement with and in all of it.

 

In truth, I am a flawed and still sinful person who has been redeemed by Christ, and my awareness of these various ways in which I am living outside of God’s will and off of His righteous path is proof of the fact of Christ’s redemptive and transformative work in me. David’s rather rhetorical questions in this psalm do have a simple answer for me too. There is nowhere and no time when I am not in the presence of my Lord. So, I cannot find myself in a situation or circumstance wherein God will not be my strength, counselor, and protector. All He asks of me is that I trust Him and have faith in the Lord’s loving care for me and for the rest of creation, for there is great comfort in God’s presence and my soul finds peace in following His will.