Almost. It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary. It runs with nearly, next time, and just about! It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities. It’s an honorable mention, being on the bench, and burnt cookies!
One of the most famous “almosts” is in the Bible. His name was Pilate. He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy. He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace. He almost released the Son of God. He had the power. He had the choice. The option to free God’s Son was his. And he did…almost!
Jesus never has room for almost. With Him nearly becomes certainly. Sometimes becomes always. And next time becomes this time! Almost may count in horseshoes, but with the Master, it’s just as if it never happened.
There were a group of people in the Galatian church that were trying to convince the church that in order to be saved they must do more than just have faith in Jesus Christ. They must also obey certain commandments of the Mosaic Law. This kind of thinking, let’s call it “faith-plus thinking,” has been common in Christian circles through the ages. In order to guarantee salvation, some have felt the need to add a list of moral stipulations to faith in Jesus Christ. They think that a person can’t be saved if they violate whatever stipulations they have added to faith.
Paul will have none of this kind of thinking. His whole point in writing to the Galatian church was to show them that it is by faith alone that we are saved (Galatians 2:15-16). We do not earn salvation by obedience to law. We are given salvation through faith in Christ. To believe that it is necessary to obey a set of laws in order to be saved is to submit oneself to a yoke of slavery to those laws.
Christ set us free from the yoke of the Mosaic Law and any other law that people may try to set up as a condition of salvation. In Christ we are free. Hence, it is for freedom that we have been set free, not for slavery. Therefore, since we are free in Christ, we must live as if we are free in Christ. We must stand firm in the freedom we have been given through Christ and not fall into the trap of faith-plus thinking. We must not let ourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery to a set of laws.
None of this means that we have a license to sin. Later in Galatians Paul tells the Galatians that they should not “use your freedom to indulge the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). It just means that we are saved by faith, not by works of the law.
Since it is for freedom that we have been set free and not for slavery, let us stand fast in that freedom and throw off any yoke of slavery we may have taken upon ourselves.
I’ve been reading a book by David Horowitz titled, “Dark Agenda-The War to Destroy Christian America”. What I’ve read so far is very disturbing. Many liberals, atheists and hate groups are doing everything in their power to remove the one freedom that built this great country. They are trying to eliminate the amendment of the Constitution that covers the establishment of official state religion and the free exercise of religious worship.
The following is an excerpt from the book:
“For nearly 200 years, the two religion clauses in the First Amendment had been plainly understood by the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American people: First, Congress could not establish an official state religion. Second, Congress could not prohibit the free exercise of religion. In all that time, there had never been any tension between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, because both clauses worked together to ensure maximum freedom of religion for all Americans.
Suddenly, in two decisions in 1962 and 1963, the Establishment clause was radically reinterpreted and the two religion clauses of the First Amendment collided head-on. In order for the Establishment Clause to mean what the Supreme Court now said it meant-that all prayer, all Bible reading and recitation, all reference to God was strictly forbidden in public school-the free exercise of religion had to give way.”
If something isn’t done soon we are going to be a lot like other communist nations that discourage or prevent the free practice of religious worship. Ladies and gentlemen, this blog is not all about politics or governmental intervention in our constitutional rights. This blog is all about Jesus Christ and His love for us. However we must do something.
It is my prayer that any and all readers of this blog contact their governmental representatives and express their concern about the direction our great country is taking. We are losing important freedoms at an alarming rate and it must be stopped. Now!
May God have mercy on this great nation by eliminating the evil forces that have been doing everything in their power to eliminate Him from our love and awareness.
Have you ever come to the Lord in repentance, confessing your wrongdoing, and yet still felt guilty? Sometimes the problem is that we can’t forgive ourselves. Therefore, we go into a self-punishing mode, repeatedly replaying the sin until we feel unworthy not only of pardon but also of blessings, answers to prayer, and the Father’s love. Eventually we build a prison of guilt because our offense seems unforgivable.
But what does such behavior tell us about our faith in God and our estimation of ourselves? According to the Bible, our Father freely bestows forgiveness on the basis of His Son’s payment of our sin debt—and has removed our transgression “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Is our refusal to forgive ourselves a way of saying we consider Christ’s sacrifice insufficient? In other words, is our standard of righteousness higher than the Lord’s?
To be free of an unforgiving spirit toward ourselves, we must realize it’s the result of self-focus. Instead of believing the truth of God’s forgiveness, we’ve been relying on our own feelings and making them superior to His Word. It’s time to humble ourselves and place trust in God—not in our feelings.