A New Day May Be Awaiting You

Power comes in many forms. In the physical realms we have all heard of electric power plants of immense proportions generating enough electricity for upwards of four million people. Yet, another type of power exist that is much more in demand and is not so much about creating energy, but about altering behaviour, which still requires power, but of another kind altogether different. It is about exerting influence over people where much needed changes are needed such as a prison system that tries hard but is unable to rehabilitate a large portion of its inmates. It seems that over the centuries any number of tyrants, fascists, and terrorists have appeared undeterred from previous efforts to completely eradicate such menaces from our world. Yet, they remain, wrecking carnage on society even to this day. It seems we cannot stop it. On a lesser note but still quite serious is our educational system where student apathy, absenteeism, and disruption in schools and now shootings are continually before us. Are there better ways to address these issues or do we just settle on the idea that we have no solutions anymore. Let’s face it, many measures have been put in place and it is not enough. Things are getting worse instead of better. Greater problems have appeared. Is there any reason for staying hopeful in these dark times? But as difficult as it is to face what is on the outside, that is not the worst of it! Our struggle is much worse than what we think it is when we look at what is going on inside of each of us. No amount of ingenuity or effort can ward off what is germane to the human heart — it is sinful and will continue to be so. Any attempts at peace, justice and harmony will always fail if the gospel is ignored since inner renewal is required. We are in worst trouble than what we can imagine and the power of the gospel is badly needed to be brought to bear on each of our lives.

The transforming power of the Gospel found its rawest moment in the crucifixion. Calvary is where Christ laid down His life to effect change in people, the kind that is legendary. For instance, Paul who at one time was a persecutor of the Church was changed and became its strongest ally. That is why Paul could say that I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom.1:16). A missionary by the name of Bruce Olsen to the Motilone Indians of Columbia tells of a converted Bari tribesman named Bobarishora. According to tribal tradition, he was challenged to a singing dual by an older chief where the two men sang alternating lines, but unlike his competitor Bobarishora sang about Jesus the whole ten hours. The effect was startling. The entire tribe accepted the song about Jesus. Soon, the song had spread to villages nearby, and within months, virtually the entire Barí people had accepted the gospel. Reports worldwide attest to the power of the gospel. In Zambia, a bar once the most notorious in the land became a place where converts met to fellowship. (Elizabeth Elliot among the Aucas; Bruce Olson among the Motilones. Pg. 22) And here in our own nation, Baptist churches in Quebec experienced an unprecedented number of conversions during 1970’s and 1980’s. Whenever we think about God’s impact upon the Church we must look globally, to places like North Korea, Southern Sudan, and even China where Christianity faces deadly opposition yet continues to prosper. Statistics report more conversions in our world from the 1800’s onward than the combined total from previous eras and more martyr’s in the last two centuries than all the previous centuries combined. The gospel is not only powerful but unstoppable!

Jesus is the reason for the gospel’s success. Having repelled the devil’s temptations in the desert, Jesus would heal Peter’s Mothers-in-law of a fever and after that cured the man suffering from leprosy. The Lord’s power stayed the same; His latent power remained undiminished in carrying out His many miracles. The Great Physician conducted miracles of every sort by mere command, touch, or thought. His power was undeterred and unaffected! That same divine driven power saves countless of souls today, the same as it did back then, with Christ as its source.

Have you considered the life-changing power of the gospel that transforms life? The old saying that today can be the first day of the rest of your life can come off as a cliché. But a whole new life can be true of you, if the gospel finds its way into your life. You will be a changed person! Many have been transformed by the gospel. Will you be one of them? Look to Christ for salvation and repent of your sins today and start a new day with a new agenda. God will make you a new person.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Cor. 5:17

Crisis of Ethical Proportion

A common sentiment today is that government should steer away from religion at all cost. In reality every decision you make is based on it being right or wrong, much like every law that the government passes goes through the exact process where a set of morals underlines every decision made. It is a question as to whose morals they belong to. Let me repeat, every choice legislative bodies or we as individuals make is chartered by morals and shapes the course of our lives and society. Morals govern our decisions. In the same way that relative moralism steers a course of action taken on the premise that either no absolutes exist or by-passed for the sake of pragmatism, what is expedient and self-serving, where arbitrariness replaces absolute moral truth as the rule in life, in its wake it lays waste a people. Consequently, Canada is undergoing extreme strains on every level in society. Can it be stopped? Let’s consider the current landscape.

Living honest and pure lives under current conditions has not been easy and there are reasons for that. To live honest and good lives is under attack, not so much from external pressures as it is from within where we do not find rigorously applied moral convictions in our leaders as we once did. Many are only interested in a power base to win voters to their side. The fall-out has been ruinous. In the last few decades, behaviour and actions in Canadian society has deteriorated. Sensual displays are increasingly common in the media and movies, immorality is now the norm, and values such as truthfulness and integrity are not only less appreciated but even ostracized. The issue at hand is not so much admitting that we are in a moral crisis, but the very opposite — that operating without absolute principles is a problem at all! The opposite of self-righteousness is best seen in the expression, “Live and let live.” It seems our own experience teaches us that what is expedient and pleasing to ourselves is on the front burner. What many accede to in life is not whether something is actually right or wrong, but is it good for me and what can I get out of it. We are smug in our self-conceit to think that we know what is best for us acting independently from God in our quest for living the good life. We wish to be excluded from being accountable. The underlying notion here is tolerance:  I can hold whatever beliefs I wish on issues of morality or faith, and what others do is none of my concern as long as it does not harm me. We have become so arrogant and self-righteous that our self-declared autonomy should preside over the moral and social good of societies and that God’s right in this world to rule is no more important than the latest food fad. Any that think that whatever is good for you should not be interfered with and should be left alone or any who hold the notion that God’s morals for us do not play a central role in policy-making will find that their argument collapses on itself, if you accept the fact that without morality you can neither live a spiritual healthy life and nor can you find fairness under laws that avoid Christian values. The Ten Commandments represents the moral law. Under the current pretense that says you cannot legislate laws unless free from religious input is simply wrong. It gives pundits a permission slip to proceed as ruling atheists where supposedly no religion should enter into writing our laws. Meanwhile, Atheism is a declared religion that pays no respect to God’s existence. Just consider what the primary functions of laws is about —  in fact it is “to legislate and enforce morality. Why can’t we steal money from a bank? Because it is wrong to take money from other people. Why can’t we beat our children? Because child abuse is morally wrong. Why can’t we shoot and kill our noisy neighbour? Because murder is wrong and against the law. Of course we legislate morality. Government exists to do just that for the protection and defence of its people.”   https://www.humancoalition.org/2014/05/27/huco-helps-unravel-thorny-pro-abortion-arguments/    Anything in this life cannot be decided without God. God has His hand print on everything.

In recent days, certain restrictions were presented to any organization applying for youth employment grants where they had to agree with the current government over abortion, if they were to receive grants, even though they may in their conscience and practise understand abortion as wrong.   Here is another example of a ruling party who have imposed their personal values over that of religious groups. They are intimidating people to accept their view or lose funding. It is dismissive thinking to not see how much personal ethics has entered their decisions. Behind every immoral decision that is made, an appalling and defective code of ethics lies behind it. Afoot is a growing crisis. So, what can be done?

First, to get your feet under sound footing, you will need to face the fact that that our past moral foundation is crumbling and besieged by relativistic and indifferent thinkers to questions of what is truly right or wrong. If you are going to survive you are going to have to seek higher moral ground than what we have now. We must seek real change which will not so much be a matter of better laws or living better but requires an absolute newness in our lives. Let us begin with Christ the only one who has ever kept God’s moral code perfectly.

Christ started His public ministry by being baptized. He said I came to fulfill all righteousness.    Jesus affirms, in effect, that it is God’s will –“all righteousness” — for that reason that John baptized Him. It is according to “that righteousness” that purpose that Jesus stayed true to His mission that led Him to Calvary and His death and resurrection. It meant that because of His perfect obedience in His lifetime, He met the divine demands of God’s Law every time even in His final act of submission on the cross. This means that He became our righteousness. In Christ we see both His exemplary and redemptive sides of His life that make up the whole. RC Sproul points out that every step Jesus took met the standard set for us “Jesus is not acting in His baptism for Himself, but for His people. And if His people are required to keep the Ten Commandments, He keeps the Ten Commandments. If His people are now required to submit to this baptismal ritual, He submits to it in their behalf”.  (https://www.ligonier.org/blog/jesus-our-righteousness/)   Had Jesus failed in keeping the legal standards, none of us could be made righteous. To keep any of this alive was perfect obedience from Jesus, whether it be found in the Jordan submitting to baptism, or resisting temptation in the desert from the Devil, or finishing His mission by dying on the cross a horrendous death, had Jesus failed at any given point meant a premature end to His mission, and an with that any hope for salvation.

This was not the case, though. Jesus paved the way and demonstrated through His life the direction our own lives must take, if we are going to follow Jesus. By meeting the just demands of God, Jesus not only lived by them, but made evident an ethos for us to value for ourselves, by which truth unspotted and virtuous should be found in our conduct. No double talk, false defence, rhetoric or pompous language to hide behind sinful actions, Jesus remained exemplary throughout his mission, even under the weight of opposition from adversaries that sought His demise. On the aftermath of the Lord’s baptism, Jesus was driven into the desert by the Spirit and there met His chief adversary. Three times He was tempted but He resisted. Even in His most vulnerable state, weakened by hunger, thirst and weariness, He remained incorruptible and used spiritual reasoning from Scripture to defeat Satan.

The cast is set, then. Only through Christ can you find your way in a world ripe with deception, hypocrisy and sin. Even under difficult conditions, Jesus defined what it means to obey the moral law.    He paid the price for our sins though He himself was without sin so that we could be made righteous.  Being righteous means holding to the truth of God and living it. It means to be exonerated of your sins and qualified for heaven because of what Christ did on our behalf in His lifetime! It means the way we think and act is changed. Christ made all of that possible. First, He lived in perfect submission to the Father, and second He died on the cross and resurrected, as an obedient servant, fulfilling all the righteous demands of the law to the letter! No other could have done this. But Jesus did and He did it successfully! We are in need of being made righteous, whereby the punishment of our sins are laid on Him and in turn His righteousness given to us. You can be righteous (saved) today and enabled to live that way if you put your trust in Christ alone and repent of your sins.  May God bless as you consider these truths from God’s Word.