Today’s Reading: Jer 23:1–24:10, Rom 3:21–31, Prov 18:1–24
Today’s Theme: God’s Righteousness
God’s plan for our justification and righteousness is expounded powerfully today by Paul in Romans. Man’s righteousness would never do so God saved us by his own righteousness as a graced gift through faith in the Gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ the one who died in our place, meeting God’s righteous requirements and opening the door for us to revive God’s gracious impartation of righteousness… Hallelujah!!!
Don’t just get lost into the words today, praise the King of Heaven for all he has done.
A woe for today
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.(Jeremiah 23:1, ESV)
This woe is extended today to self centred prosperity preachers and to the dead theologians in the mainline churches who bicker about small points of theology at the expense of the flock
Thank good for good Shepherds
I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.(Jeremiah 23:4, ESV)
Thank you so much for the Pastors you have given us who care for us in your name.
The mention of none being lost seems to point forward to that great shepherd off the sheep our Lord Jesus Christ who said of all the Father gave him he had lost none and any who come to him he will in no way cast out.
We can have assurance in our salvation and the joy of eternal security because Jesus is our shepherd.
Jesus the Branch of David
In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’(Jeremiah 23:6, ESV)
This branch is the Messiah, here is evidence from the OT that the Messiah will one day reign as king, this will be fulfilled at the second advent when Jesus returns to rule from Jerusalem.
Don’t be led astray
In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.(Jeremiah 23:13, ESV)
Lord keep your people from false and demonic prophets and fake “spiritual” people who seek to manipulate your people through demonic lies to lead us astray. Give us spiritual discernment needed to see through their deceptions.
Don’t give in to the flesh
But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”(Jeremiah 23:14, ESV)
The capitulation to the flesh seen in liberal and “word of faith” theology and practise must be resisted.
Vain hope is pointless
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.(Jeremiah 23:16, ESV)
Vain hope is pointless hope, the church is not here to make people feel better but to lead them to and build them up in Christ.
But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.(Jeremiah 23:22, ESV)
Lets pray that Pastors will seek God for his council about what to say to the people in the long (what to study or read together) and short term (what to say at a particular gathering or moment)
God is everywhere
“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?(Jeremiah 23:23, ESV)
God is omnipresent, he is the only one who is everywhere at the same time, he is both transcendent and imminently close while remaining Holy and set apart.
God is not limited by time and the three dimensions of space as we know them, after all he created both time and space and in his infinite wisdom and great power he is able to occupy dimensions of space and existence that would make our minds boogle in the same way a 3D cube would be beyond understanding to the people on a 2D world.
The Word is a hammer
Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?(Jeremiah 23:29, ESV)
The word is like a hammer and is like fire. It breaks the hard heart and purifies and sets alight for God the soul of man.
Grow in the faith yourself
Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who steal my words from one another.(Jeremiah 23:30, ESV)
Plagiarism and just quoting other men is very prevalent today, we need to seek God in his word and prayer to hear from him ourselves and not stand on the faith of others but have our own relationship with God and personally and corporately grow in the faith ourselves.
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.(Jeremiah 23:32, ESV)
Lord keep us from falling for the reckless lies of false prophets who seem to get so much airtime in the media.
How God chooses to regard you
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans.(Jeremiah 24:5, ESV)
The Lord determines this, he chooses how he will see his elect, they are his and he has redeemed them with a price, thank you Lord for choosing to see us as good figs.
6 I wills of God
I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.(Jeremiah 24:6-7, ESV)
Here we see a further 5 I wills of God (the first was in the previous verse where God said I will regard….), when God says he will, no one, not me, no man and no devil can stop Him… He is GOD.. He is the all powerful Sovereign Lord and King.
He declares he will..
* Set His Eyes on them for good
* Build them up
* Plant them
* Give them a heart to know Him
* Be their God
This shows the paternal heart of God for his children who are under his discipline, Lord give us a heart to know you too
Righteousness through faith
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:(Romans 3:22, ESV)
We are made righteous before God through putting our faith in Jesus, this applies to all humanity.
We now leave the teaching on man’s condition in sin to the brighter things of righteousness and how it is and always has been truly attained ,which is through faith in God.
Although now the faith is quite specific, the faith is in the message given in the gospel of God which is through Jesus only.
So lets be clear, Paul is clearly saying that righteousness with God can not be achieved but is received or imparted through faith.
All have sinned
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,(Romans 3:23, ESV)
The common need of all men to be saved, religion and human understandings of righteousness can save no one because all have committed sin at some point. This is why it is a gift received through faith.
God’s grace is a gift
and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,(Romans 3:24, ESV)
Gods grace is neither an entitlement or right, it is a gift. This truth alone sets Christianity apart for all the other religions which have a works based righteousness system and gods bound to or by powers so unable to bestow the gift of righteousness.
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.(Romans 3:25, ESV)
This is the crux of Paul’s teaching to us on the gospel and new covenant. It is not based on the righteousness that man in futility tries to achieve but the righteousness that God already has and graciously bestows.
God’s righteousness was revealed and satisfied in the person, work, death and resurrection of Christ which is the heart of the good news that Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for all who believe so that through the blood he shed they can receive by faith the righteousness God provides by passing over our sin.
Jesus was our atoning sacrifice to appease the righteous requirements of the law, upholding the righteousness of God and God’s gracious love simultaneously.
God, the just, justifier
It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.(Romans 3:26, ESV)
God did not want to just waive away our sins as this would make him unjust, Jesus on the cross was the solution.
God is a just, justifier of sin because someone did die for our sin making the way open for us to be forgiven and made righteous through faith in him.
The only way this solution could possibly work was for Jesus to be the unique one and only God-Man.
One God, One Way
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.(Romans 3:29–30, ESV)
We Gentiles and the Jews serve the same God and he seeks to justify us by faith in the Son of God or thorough faith in the son of God. It is simple we are made just as if we didn’t sin, justified, through faith in God’s one solution…. Jesus.
Live righteous lives
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.(Romans 3:31, ESV)
Our faith if genuine, leads us to live lives in righteousness, we live according to the righteousness imputed to us by God, we live in honour of it and uphold God’s righteousness in our lives by his grace and Spirit.
Don’t be isolated
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.(Proverbs 18:1, ESV)
Self isolation is an un-natural and dangerous thing, the asceticism of the monks and nuns is wrong, its only saving grace is that they are in community with each other.
What is your opinion worth?
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.(Proverbs 18:2, ESV)
Lord keep us form expressing our opinions which are not profitable and just the sound of our own voice.
Don’t let your mouth ruin you
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.(Proverbs 18:7, ESV)
The mouth is a dangerous and powerful thing which will ruin our life if not governed by the Holy Spirit. Not in a mystical way but in a very practical way it can ruin relationships, careers etc
Don’t be slack
Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.(Proverbs 18:9, ESV)
Lord helps us to not be slack in our work
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.(Proverbs 18:15, ESV)
Lord help us to have godly intelligence like this and not the devilish so called intelligence of the world.
Use words wisely
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.(Proverbs 18:21, ESV)
Our words have great potential for good and bad, so whatever we say we need to be prepared to deal with he result of what we say (it’s fruit). If we use words with wisdom we will enjoy the fruit of well said words.
Use word wisely in this world.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.(Proverbs 18:24, ESV)
Don’t have too many so called friends (companions), instead have friendships which are of a high quality, that are like family.