May 27, 2013

Case Closed (Romans 3:31)

Here is the case of two writers in the Bible that some have supposed stood in contradiction. Martin Luther was a man who struggled with severe legalism until one day while reading the book of Romans he realized that he could in no way earn his salvation, but it was rather a gift of God through his Son Jesus Christ. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Romans he stressed that a person was saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law (Romans 3:28). So, Martin Luther, while reading the book of James saw a seeming contradiction in Scripture. For James declared that a person was not saved by faith alone, but by works (James 2:24). This enraged Luther and he wanted James tossed from the pages of Scripture. He insisted that it did not belong.

So were James and Paul at odds? This debate still rages between some today. However, one simple verse should settle the issue. Of course Paul would go to expand on the verse, but nonetheless the Gospel of Jesus Christ insists that a person is indeed not saved by any works of their own or by abiding by God's law. The reason why is that in our sin and imperfection we are incapable of doing so. In order to be saved through the law, that is to be right with God and escape hell and be rewarded with eternal life, we would have to keep the law perfectly because God is perfect. God's moral law cannot save because of our sin. In fact when we replace obedience to the law with faith in Jesus Christ, it frees us to obey him without fear of condemnation when we fall short of its standard. The law no longer has that power over those who trust in Jesus.

However, and here is the key to what Luther missed, James and the rest of Scripture actually agree. In fact, the book of James becomes much clearer when we read one simple verse that Paul wrote to the Romans after he stated that we are justified, not by works of the law, but by faith. That verse reads, "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law" (Romans 3:31). Case closed.

May 23, 2013

The Rewards of Learning to be Content

If I can learn like Paul, to be content in each and every situation, patience would flow and selfish ambition would cease. I would understand that God knows exactly where I am today and where he wants me to be. He is in absolute control and I am his child. I would understand that life is God's classroom and each and every circumstance is in the lesson plan. I would desire what he desires because I would realize that the teacher knows better than the student. I would think more clearly and love more dearly. Lord help me to endure all things through Christ who strengthens me.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

- Scott Hescht

May 18, 2013

How is Your Marraige?

When people ask how our marriage is going they aren't asking if we are married. In the same way it isn't enough to examine our relationship with God by whether or not we have that relationship. Sure to have one is foundational, but what is the health of that relationship? There are plenty of people who are married, but their spouse is nothing more than a room mate. That's not much of a relationship. The question we must ask ourselves is, not only are we married to Christ, but are we abiding in Christ.

- Scott Hescht

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

April 30, 2013

The Great Physician

In a conversation about his medical condition, a family member once told me, "You have to believe in your doctor. She gives me an option and I say no, I want what you think is best for me. You just treat me like your son because I believe in you. I love her to death. I even have her cell and home number in case I need anything or have any questions. How many doctors do that?"
He didn't intend to, but what a perfect description of the Christian's relationship with God!

- Scott Hescht