We started off our hunger session by sharing our “God moment” (a moment that made us think of God) for the past week then speaking out the first thought that pops up when we think of a concept. That concept was salvation. My answer? Jesus Christ.
Then Kuya Aleks proposed a challenge. How would you communicate salvation if you had to use a different term? I thought of eternal life. By that, I didn’t simply mean having everlasting life in heaven with God, but knowing Christ in the here and now.
Our session the other day was entitled “Getting Right With God.”
After Paul’s sermon for the Jews in the previous chapter, we moved on to chapter 3 where he mentioned the merit(s) of being a Jew. Israel’s disobedience highlighted God’s faithfulness. It reminded me of Switchfoot’s song entitled “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine.” However, it is not a license to sin. The Jews’ logic might have been that the end justifies the means. They shouldn’t be punished because God’s purpose was revealed, should they?
He(Paul) anchored his answer on the character of God and because the Jews believed that God would judge the world… in favor of the Jews.
He wouldn’t be the Judge if He weren’t fair. The issue is not His fairness, but living up to His standards (and failing).
We were then asked to evaluate our beliefs whether all have sinned and if we were better than the criminals. In theory, I believe that all sins are equally dirty in God’s eyes, but in practice, I sometimes don’t hesitate to cast stones.
As an exercise, we substituted ourselves individually with the subject in verses 10-18.
“No one is righteous—
No one isI am not truly wise;
no one isI am not seeking God.
AllI have turned away;
allI have become useless.
No one does good,
a single oneI.”
TheirMy talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues areMy tongue is filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from
Their mouths areMy mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”[f]
TheyI rush to commit murder.
Destruction and misery always follow
TheyI don’t know where to find peace.”
TheyI have no fear of God at all.”
It sounds harsh, I know. But when we think of Christ’s standard, sin in thought is sin still. The difference between criminals and us is the ability to act out thoughts.
The Law was not for people to obey or to follow but to see how helpless they are in striving to please God.
The closer you are to Jesus, the clearer your sins are.
What is striking about verse 21 is that getting right with God (salvation) was initiated by Him.
Salvation through Christ has been God’s plan all along.
Paul demonstrates God’s forbearance. He (God) released His anger on His object of love. Abraham was right with God because of Jesus. Abraham believed in God’s promise that God would be faithful.
If we look back, we’ll see that Abraham possessed a forward-looking faith.
Can we boast that we have done anything to get right with God?
Only when we have faith do we fulfill the Law.
What kind of Law-keeping is Paul opposing because it belittle’s Christ’s work? The kind of work that is apart from Christ.
God is not opposed to effort. God is opposed to earning.
In what ways do you earn?
When you consider doing something and feel that God is indebted to you.
You cannot expect to love God unless you’re willing to see how sinful you are. But don’t stop there. Dwell only to the extent that you will see God.
Speaking of God moments, I remembered a time when I just lost a loved one and I was in fear of losing another. Since I couldn’t grasp that a sovereign God would allow those things to happen and still be good, I refused to believe in God. But I was wrong. His love is bigger than my fear. Just yesterday, I almost lost my family to a car accident, but He stepped in. They’re all safe. Well, the point is that I experienced and am experiencing our session finale:
God is wooing you to Himself until everything you are is His.
* I haven’t included any referenced authors yet. But the photo and the quotes belong to Kuya Aleks as far as I know. 🙂