Posts Tagged ‘Savior’

Ruth 3:1-18 (Part 2 of 3)
Ruth Follows Naomi’s Plan

Usually, I will relate a personal experience to the passage at hand. That’s my schtick! That’s how I make the Bible relatable to my life … to take the meaning and truth from a passage and find an experience in my life that I can use as proof of that truth. However, today, there is just so much beautiful symbolism in this story that I would not want to ruin it with some profane attempt to relate it to my mundane, ordinary life. There are two things that we have to, have to talk about here. First, the “laying at the master’s feet” and, second, the covering.

In Israelite custom, it was not uncommon for a servant to lay at their master’s feet. It was for the security of the servant and it was also for the convenience of the master. Usually, when outdoors, it was necessary to sleep with the availability of one’s weapons nearby. There were thieves and murderers in the last millennium before Christ just as there are today. When you go camping today, it is not uncommon for a dad to have a weapon nearby to protect his family from what evil person may lurk in the night or some wild animal that may approach because of the smell of some previously eaten food. As a father of a wife, two daughters, and a stepdaughter, these women are my life. All four of these ladies, I would lay my life down for. It was the same back in the day in Boaz’s and Ruth’s time. A servant who was normally unarmed would lay at their master’s feet because their master would usually “be packin’!” They would have had their choice weapon of the millennium before Christ – a sword, a club, a rod or a staff, some object of defense against marauders or wild animals.

Ruth laying at Boaz’s feet meant that she (1) was telling him that she was his servant and (2) that she wished to be under his protection and care. It takes humility to admit that you need help and become someone’s servant. It take humility to lay at someone’s feet as if they are superior to you. I know that mindsets of people about their own human rights were different back then but still there is some sense of pride swallowing to humble yourself to lay at someone’s feet. In Israelite culture, feet were considered profane in the sense that they encountered dirt and filth more than any other part of the body. Thus, feet washing when a person entered a home was not just a honorable gesture it was one considered necessary to keep one’s home holy and set apart from the profane and dirty world outside. So, to lay at someone’s feet was a recognition of one’s lowly state in relationship to the person at whose feet you were laying. Is this not symbolic of our relationship with Jesus Christ? We will come back to that thought.

Laying at his feet was recognition of the servant-master relationship but it also recognized that she was now under his protection. As a servant, she became part of which Boaz would now defend with his life. He was now responsible for her. He would make her a part of his household. He would defend her from things in the night that could hurt her. By laying at His feet, she would be protected by his weaponry that He had available. By laying at his feet, she was in proximity to the source of her defense. How symbolic is that in relation to Christ’s defense of us? We will come back to that thought.

As well, because of being a servant, they, when traveling with their master, did not necessarily have everything they needed for a night’s sleep. Everything was about the master’s comfort and not the servant’s. Thus, when sleeping outdoors and sleeping at the master’s feet, the master would often cover their servant with their blanket or covering. It demonstrated the master’s care for the servant’s well being. There is nothing worse to a master than a sick or dead servant. Through the covering, the master ensured the health and continued service of the servant. It is the same with us and Jesus. How symbolic is that? We will come back to that thought.

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning when I read through this passage for the second of three times that we will write about it – how this scene is symbolic and forward pointing to how we are in relationship to our Master, Jesus Christ. Let’s read the passage together for the first time this morning, Ruth 3:1-18:
3 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. 2 Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. 3 Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law.

7 After Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he lay down at the far end of the pile of grain and went to sleep. Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. 8 Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor. 11 Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman. 12 But while it’s true that I am one of your family redeemers, there is another man who is more closely related to you than I am. 13 Stay here tonight, and in the morning I will talk to him. If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself! Now lie down here until morning.”

14 So Ruth lay at Boaz’s feet until the morning, but she got up before it was light enough for people to recognize each other. For Boaz had said, “No one must know that a woman was here at the threshing floor.” 15 Then Boaz said to her, “Bring your cloak and spread it out.” He measured six scoops[a] of barley into the cloak and placed it on her back. Then he[b] returned to the town.

16 When Ruth went back to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “What happened, my daughter?”

Ruth told Naomi everything Boaz had done for her, 17 and she added, “He gave me these six scoops of barley and said, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said to her, “Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.”

In this passage, we see that, in v. 4, that Naomi’s advice seems strange to us 21st century Americans, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. In reality, Naomi was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israelite custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the master’s feet and even share a part of his covering. By observing this custom, Ruth would be symbolically informing Boaz that he could be her family redeemer and that she was his faithful servant. As her family redeemer, he would take responsibility for her and find someone to marry her or marry her himself. It was family business, nothing romantic. However, this story would later become beautifully romantic as Ruth and Boaz developed an unselfish love and deep respect for one another.

In our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must humble ourselves and lay at His feet. We cannot be in relationship with Him until we recognize his vast superiority to us. We must humble ourselves before the Creator of the Universe. We must recognize that Jesus is God. We must recognize that He is perfection and we are sinners. We must recognize that in the absence of Him, we are destined to hell. We must recognize that He was humble enough as the God of the Universe to come to earth and live as a man, live the perfect life so that he could become the once and final perfect sacrifice for man’s sins, and that He as God in the flesh was able to conquer sin and death. That is recognition that Jesus is pretty freaking awesome! And then there’s us. It takes humility to recognize that we are not in control of our lives and that we need an intervention from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh, the One through whom all things were created. We must humble ourselves to recognize that we are nothing compared to Him. We must humble ourselves and lay ourselves at His feet and beg simply to be His servant.

In our relationship with Jesus Christ, when we accept that we are his lowly servants and accept Him as our Savior and Redeemer and Lord, He gives us His covering. He gives us his cloak of righteousness. Our best attempts at holiness are but filthy rags in comparison to the royal robe of righteousness of Jesus Christ. In His love for us, when we accept Him as our Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, we are cloaked in his royal robe. We are covered by His righteousness. He ensures our eternal future as His servant when He covers us in His perfect royal covering. We are no more filthy rags that are exposed to the elements of sin. We are covered in His impenetrable warm covering of righteousness.

In our relationship with Jesus Christ, when we sleep at His feet in recognition of His Lordship over your lives and His covering of righteousness, we gain access to His protection from all that can hurt us and drag us down. Under His covering, we are most protected against the evil of this world. We can renounce evil and have victory over through Jesus Christ who is completely victorious and completely superior to all that is evil in the world. We cannot do it alone. We must be near and close to the Lord so that we are within His protection. When we do not sleep at the Christ’s feet, we are susceptible to the marauder and the wild animal known as Satan who wishes to ensnare us and capture us and devour us in sin so that He can say He has another one! When we rest at the Master’s feet, He will protect us. He will send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to teach us, correct us, and remind us to stay at the Master’s feet and within His protection.

Oh wow! How this scene in Ruth chapter 3 is so symbolic of what our relationship with Jesus Christ is like. There is nothing like it. There is nothing to compare it to. That’s why today I can give no example from my life other than to say I am at the Master’s feet. I admitted that I needed Him in December 2001 and my life has changed completely since that time. It has not always been easy for this prideful sinner to lay at the Master’s feet but it is at His feet that I can be found for He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Lord. I am His servant. I am subject to Him at His feet. He has covered me in His blanket of righteousness. I am His. He is my Lord. He is my Savior. He is my Redeemer.

Amen and Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:1 — This letter was written by Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, and he says that he was chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. Let us examine this one verse. It seems very simple and straightforward. It is a typical greeting to ancient letter in which the writer introduces himself and his dictationist to the recipient(s) of the letter. It is in that sense, yes, very simple and straightforward. But the sentence/verse is loaded with background and meaning. Paul says he was chosen by the will of God to be an apostle. This is the point that we should dwell on today.

Paul never knew Jesus personally. He was not one of the twelve disciples that were on the inside of the core of Jesus’ earthly ministry nor part of the early beginnings of the church. As a matter of fact, Paul was the opposite of that. He was not one of the rag tag band of fishermen, tax collector, or scribe that made up Jesus’ core team. He did not know hard labor like many of Jesus’ disciples. He grew up the son of Jewish man who became wealthy enough apparently to buy Roman citizenship for he and his family. When he was old enough, he was sent to Jerusalem to begin his formal biblical education. He was an educated man. He studied under one of the great biblical scholars of that age, Gamaliel. Paul was very much a scholar. He knew the Scriptures at a level in depth that probably many of Jesus’ own disciples did not. But, yet, he was not part of the inner circle of Jesus. He never met him prior Jesus’ ascension.

There is a lesson here for us. Jesus can call us at any time from any walk of life. You can be well-educated, like Paul, or you can be just an average joe worker like many of the disciples. Jesus in His Sovereignty can call any of us to ministry. Each of us has talents to offer Jesus and His church. Each Christian has a job to do, a role to play, or a contribution to make. It is not necessary for you to be hand picked by your preacher to play a role in Jesus’ continuing ministry on earth. You have to be willing to hear the call of the Lord and pursue it. The Holy Spirit will find your place and led you to where He wants you to offer your gifts. One assignment may seem more spectacular than another but all assignments within the church, the body of Christ, are necessary for the building up of the fellowship of believers and for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world around us. We must, as my senior pastor says, be faithful, available and teachable. We must be willing to hear God call us. We must be willing to serve Him. We must be willing to be so in love with Jesus we will serve in whatever capacity that he sets in front of us at this time. We also must be willing to be so in love with Jesus that we will follow His call outside of our comfort zone. He certainly did that with Paul. Paul was used to a life of privilege and academia and God called him to a life that required living off the good graces of others while he preached the gospel in places that were often hostile to him. Let us be willing to hear God’s call on our lives and serve Him with humility in ways that He wants us to serve.

Another lesson that we learn from Paul’s calling is that when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to save us from our sins, God will use us no matter what our past is. Prior to meeting the resurrected Lord on the Damascus road, Paul in his zealous defense of the Jewish faith had murdered, imprisoned, beaten, and ridiculed Christians. He killed Christians for believing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Talk about your unlikely candidates to be one of the biggest driving forces of Christianity outside of Jesus Himself. He was a murderer of believers. He hated anything to do with Jesus Christ. And, yet, Jesus on that road to Damascus called Paul to be an apostle. There is nothing that you and I have done in our pasts that is too heinous to be forgiven by Jesus Christ when we come to Him with repentant hearts. Jesus can redeem and use the worst of us. No one is too far gone. If you have run from the church because you have a past, guess what? We all do! Every last one of us are sinners redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ. If you think that the Christian life is not for you because of some checklist that you have had to keep all your life you’re wrong. That’s religion. Jesus wants a relationship with you. He can redeem you and make you new. He can change your dark heart from the inside out. He has more than enough grace to cover the sins of your past. Just look at Paul. He was a murderer of Christians for being Christian. Talk about your unlikely candidates to be a gospel bearer! He was redeemed from a life of direct persecution of believers into one of the greatest voices of Christianity in Christian history. He can redeem you. He redeemed me and uses me despite my checkered and ugly past and He can do the same with you.

Paul, a murderer of believers, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Redemption. Restoration. Gospel Bearer. He did it with Paul. He can do it with you! There are those who will say there is no way that you can be a follower of Jesus. I knew when buddy! There’s no way that your faith is real. You were such a sinner. You’re too far gone! God is sovereign and can redeem any life no matter how bad it was previously. He can redeem it. He can make it new. He can use your past to be a real part of your testimony of redemption. He can use your talents that you used for evil and use them for good. That is the beauty of a relationship with Jesus Christ. He redeems. He makes new. He calls us to His ministry!

Luke 24:44-49 — In this next to the last passage of the Book of Luke, Jesus explained the prophecies that He fulfilled, that He was the suffering Messiah predicted in the Old Testament (OT), and that this fact must be preached to the whole world because it is through His sacrifice that all the world may come to salvation and restoration to a right relationship with God. Jesus is the point of it all.

This scene reminds of those post-game shows after a major college football game where the analysts try to tell what the implications are for the winner and the loser of the game. Here, Jesus is telling them what all of the past three years were about and what the implications for the future are.

None of the past three years would have made any sense if Jesus was not the Messiah, the promised Savior. Jesus walked them through the OT. He showed them that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), check. He showed them that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), check. He showed them that the Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15, 19), check. He showed them that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem in a triumphal entry (Zechariah 9:9), check. He demonstrated that the Messiah would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:1,3), check. He even showed them that the Messiah would be betrayed by one of His own followers (Psalm 118:22, 41:9), check. The Messiah was to be tried and condemned (Isaiah 53:8), check. The Messiah was to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7), confirmed. The Messiah was to be struck and spat upon by His enemies (Isaiah 50:6), yes that happened. The Messiah was to be mocked and insulted (Psalm 22:7-8), yep. The Messiah was to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:16-17), that’s an affirm. The Messiah was to suffer as and with criminals and yet at the same time pray for his enemies (Isaiah 53:12), this is recorded. The Messiah was to be offered bitter wine as He was dying (Psalm 69:21), got it. The Messiah’s clothing would be subject of gambling bets among His captors (Psalm 22:18), check. The Messiah’s bones were not to be broken (as was often the case in crucifixion to hasten on death) (Exodus 12:46), yes. The Messiah was to die as a sacrifice for our sins (Isaiah 53:5-12), we know this. The Messiah was to be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10), we are reading about it right now.

Jesus showed them that He was the fulfillment of all OT scripture. He was the Messiah. He was all the things that God promised. That’s the point. Anything else, his 3 year mission was too short, his death was meaningless, and his resurrection from the dead unneeded. He is not just another prophet. He is the Messiah who came to earth for the express purpose of fulfilling prophecy which includes Him being the sacrifice once and for all time for our sins. When we believe in the Messiah, we are restored to a right relationship with God. That’s the message. That’s the good news!

What’s the point of all of it? What are the implications for the future? Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. Jesus fulfilled all of the above OT prophecies and others that are not named above. He is the real deal. He is the Son of God. He was the culmination of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. He is the point of it all. Jesus came to be the agent by which we can be restored to a right relationship with God. This is what the OT predicted. God has been working His plan through the ages and Jesus was the culmination of His Promise and His Plan. God never does random. There is purpose. Jesus is the way in which all things are culminated and He is the way in which we are made right with God.

What are the implications for the future? Jesus tells us right here that we must go forth and share the story of redemption through Himself. Without the fulfillment of the promise in Jesus, there is no hope for our eternity. With and through Jesus, we have hope. We are made right with God through Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the Messiah. God keeps His Word. This is the message we must share with the whole world.

Unless it is about leading people to see Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise as the Messiah, the Savior, the Anointed One, there is no point. We can touch the world around us with nice acts of charity and do big free events to get people in our doors, but if the end game is not about showing them the Messiah, showing them the Jesus who died for their sins to make them right with God, then, there is no point. Close the doors. Send everyone to charitable agencies and to the kindness of the good people out there. The point of Jesus’ church as Jesus Himself says in Luke 24:47 is that “it was also written that this message be proclaimed in the authority of His name to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem.” We have our charge from our boss, and that’s the point.

Luke 2:8-20 — Often we miss what the angel of the Lord said here. It is important for us to really get what is said. The angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord, has been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David. And you recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger” (vv. 10-12, NLT).

Do not be afraid. The Shepherds were afraid. The angel reassured them that they did not have to be afraid. It reminds us of the assurance that we have in God. Our God is not out to squash us like bugs. He wants us not to be afraid. Although God is a God of justice and evil cannot stand in His presence, God is not out to punish us. He does not want us to be afraid. He wants us to come to Him. He calls out to us. Do not be afraid. God is love and He loved us so much that He pursues us through the person and work of Jesus Christ and through His Word. He does not want us to be condemned by His perfect and fair justice. He wants us to open our eyes and not be afraid. We all stand condemned and should be afraid but God provided the answer to the fear in this innocent child lying in a manger.

I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Notice how broad is the angel’s message. It’s not for just the pious or the Jew, but “for all the people.” What wonderful news for those who are estranged from God. Great joy for all people. The shepherds are great examples of a whole people group that had been written off as unworthy and unsavable by their Jewish brethren. The birth of Jesus being announced here changes everything. The game will no longer be the same. Jesus came for everyone. His actions from birth to death and resurrection are for all, even for unbelievers. All you have to do is believe that He is the Son of God who died for our sins and who was raised from the dead to give us our eternal hope. This is good news. No one is too far from the grace of Jesus Christ. No one. Liars, thieves, murderers, prostitutes, drug addicts, adulterers. All are welcome at His table. All we must do is receive the grace that already exists in Jesus Christ. All we must do is confess our sins. All we must do is humbly ask Jesus to come into our lives and change us from the inside out. All we must do is realize that our way is the road to destruction but humble submission to the Lord is the way to permanent life change and eternal life. This is the good news that is great joy. This is the good news that it is for all people. Not just the pious few but for all people.

The Messiah has been born. The Savior. The Messiah. The Lord. He is all of these things. Having all of these descriptors used together at one time. Those who study Hebrew understand that the angel is making sure that those who read the text understand that this is no ordinary baby. He is God himself in the flesh. No ordinary baby. Jesus, part of the eternal trinity of God, coming to earth as a baby born in the usual way. He is the horn of salvation for all people. This act of coming into human history forever alters the course of human history. You cannot have the cross without the manger. He had to come and do it in the way that He did. He came to show us how much God loves us. He came to sacrifice Himself for our sins, past, present and future. He came to finish. He came to put and end to the hopelessness of our sin problem. This birth is the most necessary thing ever. The Messiah has been born. The Messiah has been born. Announce it! We would have none of our favorite hymns, favorite contemporary Christian music. We would not have churches. We would have none of it if God did not choose to send Jesus. This is the most loving thing ever. This is the most important thing ever. The Messiah has been born.

You will find a baby. You will find a baby. Jesus came to earth as a baby. He could have come as He will in the second coming in the clouds with trumpet sounds. But, the first advent is a humble one. He came as a baby. A child. Can you imagine the God of all things in a baby’s body? I bet Jesus was thinking, wow, this is pretty limited! LOL But back to the point. Jesus came as a child just like you and I are born as babies. He was a baby. He crawled. He learned to eat food. He learned to walk. He learned to be a part of a human family unit. He learned to do chores. He learned love. He learned physical pain. He learned emotional pain. He learned his father’s trade. He lived as a man. He knows. He knows. He knows what it is like to live the human experience. Jesus is our advocate with the Father because He knows what it is like to live in a human body. All of it. From birth to death. He lived the human experience. He knows. Because he came as a baby. So, when you think that God will not understand what you are going through or feeling, think again. Jesus knows. Jesus knows your troubles. He knows how you feel. He can more than just sympathize. He can empathize. He lived the human experience. He walked among us. He knows your hurts, habits, and hangups. He knows. He came to us as a baby. He did not magically appear. He lived the whole human experience. Never think He does not or could not understand. He knows. He came as a baby.

Father, thank you for the good news that makes us no longer afraid. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for sending Him to us to deliver us from our condemnation in our sin. Thank you for sending Him to live the life that we experience. Thank you for His understanding of the human experience by coming to earth in the way that we do and living the life that we live. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.

Luke 2:8-20 — This is it! We are here. The passage about the birth that changed history. What are the things that God speaks to us in that passage? I think that there are several things that we should explore over the next few days.

The first thing that you see is the mother of all birth announcements is not made to kings and queens. It is made to shepherds. Those who did shepherding for hire were not considered trustworthy by the mainstream culture at the time. They lived nomadic lives not connected to the mainstream life of Israel. They were necessary but shunned. Their testimony was not even considered reliable at trials. This is who the announcement was made to. In our cute little nativity scenes of today, the shepherds are considered almost noble. Usually clean cut young men play these parts. In reality, they were scruffy men who lived on the land. They lived most of the year outside, away from the townspeople. Many of them probably wished that they could be like mainstream folk. I bet that many of them felt locked into their lifestyle from which they could not escape.

So there, these lonely outcasts of society are the ones who receive the greatest news EVER. The Messiah is born. This is who the radiance of the Lord was revealed to. The radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded the angels. The brightest light of radiance imaginable is God’s glory. His presence breaks through the black night sky. All of this is revealed to lowly shepherds. The angels were joined by the vast host of the armies of heaven praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven!” This amazing scene is not above a palace or a temple. It is shown to unsavory shepherds in an open field. The Good News revealed to the lowest of the low. This is the message of the Christmas Story that really needs to be shouted. The Good News came to us all no matter who we are or what our social status is.

Do you think that you are too far gone to be reached by Jesus Christ. The Jesus I know is not the Savior of the rich only. He is not the Savior of those who have stayed out of trouble in life only. He is not the Savior of those who keep up good appearances only. He is the Savior of the prostitute too. He is the Savior of the drug addict too. He is the Savior of the thief. He is the Savior of poor too. He is the Savior of the outcast too. He is the Savior of all no matter who you. No matter what you’ve done. He comes to anyone with a heart humble enough to accept Him. Whoever you are, whatever you have done in your past, Jesus came for you. You are never so far gone that grace cannot reach you. Never think that you have to have extraordinary qualifications to receive Jesus in your life. He accepts you the way you are, where you are, who you are right now.

This is the message of this scene. The glory of God is revealed to the common man, to the outcast. The lowly are exalted to be in the presence of the Lord. The Good News is for all. Jesus came for all. He died for all. This is the Good News. It is yours. It is mine. We are never too far away from grace! Amen and Amen.

Romans 10:5-21 — Let’s spend a couple days on this passage. Today, the message is that it is really simple actually!

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that when we leave it up to man, he will create religion. He will create checklists. He will make it about performance. He will make it complicated. Paul’s message here is that it really is quite simple.

In order to be saved by the law, one must live a perfect life without sinning one time ever. As far we can tell, there has only been one person who was flesh and bone that ever accomplished that. His name was Jesus. However, what about the rest of us? Why did God give us the law if He knew from the get-go that we would be unable to stand up under its weight? The reason that God gave it to us was to show us that we are guilty and in need of a Savior. The law was a foreshadowing of Christ. The sacrificial system that God instituted through Moses was to educate God’s people on the need for a Savior. It showed us that we need a way outside of ourselves to make us right with God. Jesus was the culmination of the OT sacrificial system. He was that which makes us right with God once and for all. No temporary sacrifices that atone us for a period of time. He was the permanent, once and for all sacrifice.

The old sacrificial system was complicated but Jesus’ coming to earth in the flesh makes it simple. Salvation, being made right with God, is as simple and as close as your heart and lips (which represent the mind). If we believe from the depths of our soul that Jesus is Lord and Savior and we confess with our mouth our belief in our mind that Jesus was raised from the dead, we will be saved. That’s it! No complicated pagan ceremonies of pleasing a man-made God. No keeping a checklist of things we have to be and do. No apprenticeship that must be served. No, it’s quite simple. Believe and speak. We must believe that Jesus is the one sent by God to die on the cross as the ultimate, final sacrifice for our sin-filled life that condemns us under the law. We must confess that He was indeed the Son of God by believing that He arose from the dead.

All other religions make things complicated. All other religions make it up to us to perform. Things that we must do to become one with the universe. Things we must do to achieve perfection. Things we must do to prove ourselves. Christianity is different. It is because Christianity, in its purest sense, is not a religion at all. It is about a relationship with the Father that we come to through simple faith in Jesus Christ. It is not complicated. We must learn that we are sinners incapable of earning our way to heaven. The law does that for us. We must learn that we need a Savior to intervene on our behalf. The law does that for us. We must learn that there’s not a thing we can do to keep ourselves from the hell that our dark souls deserve. The law does that for us. We cry out to the Messiah to save us from hell. Jesus does that for us. We must simply believe that Jesus is the one who died for us and our sins. We must simply believe that His death makes us right with God. God does this for us.

What a wacky religion that is? No black belts to earn over time. No complicated levels to attain? And guess what it is not something that we can use to segregate ourselves from others? Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you have the same standing as a person who has been saved for 60 years. Once you accept Christ as your Savior you also can’t use it to say I’ve got it and you don’t. Being a Christ follower is available to anyone who will believe in their heart that Christ is Lord and who will confess with their mouth that they believe Jesus was raised from the dead. They are in the club once they have these beliefs. Not complicated. Simple. Jesus. Simple. Relationship not religion. Simple. Is it not true that the truth is simple and that lies are so complicated. All other religions are lies and are complicated. There is but one true way, there is but one truth, there is but one life. Jesus. Simple. Available to anyone who believes in their heart and mind that Jesus is Lord and that He was raised from the dead. Simple. Jesus.

Tomorrow, let’s revisit this passage one more time and talk about how this simple message must be shared since it is available to everyone who will believe!

Father, I have a simple prayer this morning. Thank you for pointing out through the law that I am a sinner in need of help from outside my efforts. Thank you for Jesus who is my Lord and Savior who was raised from the dead to demonstrate that He is indeed the Son of God. Thank you for His sacrifice that makes me right with you. Amen.