Thursday, January 13, 2011

WE ARE A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:


"Understand then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people."  Deut. 9:6


This morning, early before work, I write to ask us to remember how gracious our Lord is in considering us His own, even when we have so often ignored Him, rebelled against Him, and disobeyed His Word.


It is only by His grace in Christ that we are allowed entrance into His promised land of spiritual plenty, and only through the Narrow Gate, which is our Lord Jesus Himself.  Today many would try to demand entrance with their own righteousness, and they bang loudly on the large gates of the City of God, shouting and insisting that they and others be admitted because they have this or that list of things they've brought along with them.  


By this I mean so many are stridently and angrily pushing forward their own versions of the gospel, most of which centers upon how we're to marry Christ to the Old Testament Law.  They demand others follow them in this, and are quite dogmatic.  Never have I seen such adamant followers of these doctrines in my lifetime.  Nor such vocal followers.


This letter is to warn this morning, and to bring us to our knees in prayer for the Lord Jesus Christ's protection against such heresies.


Paul and the other apostles faced these people all over the Roman and Greek Empires in their day.  All true believers in Christ were faced with persecution at their hands.


I am here to declare to you today.  Christ alone is our salvation, and the works of the law, and any emphasis on them, bring death.  It is only by dying to our own attempts to be good, to satisfy God, that we can live.  No man we ever made righteous by keeping the law, or trying to keep the law.


Christ is all.  He is our righteousness, He is our deliverer from sin.  It is not our own striving that will bring us into the promised land.  It is His finished work.  He is our enabler, and His Spirit in us gives us His resurrection power to live lives of holiness and love in this evil world.


Let us not be like the Israelites were, stiff-necked, stubborn, unwilling to love God.  Because it is our love God wants today, not our determined obedience to a set of rules.  That is what He wanted out of the Israelites, and, like us, they resisted, and continually rebelled, even in the desert.  Today, let us not harden our hearts, as they did so often, but let us love our Lord and Christ, and devote ourselves to Him in that love.  He will be with us in our dying, and He will give us His strength to face the wilderness when necessary.


Love today to you from Christ, and may we give Him our love in return--
Your brother,
A. Brother

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