Christianity and theology

The Worst Sinner

As I indicated in my previous post, the first “Trustworthy Saying” is found in 1 Timothy 1:15 and reads: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” In the verse two important truths are presented before us.

First, the reason Christ came into the world was to save sinners. Although while on earth Christ healed the sick, cast out demons and performed miracles, his main goal was to save sinners and this was achieved when he lived a perfect life, died on the cross and later rose from the dead on behalf of all believers.  Christ himself affirmed this when he said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). By the way, Bible Scholars say that this is the key verse of the Gospel according to Luke.

Therefore, we, preachers of God’s Word, miss the point when we emphasize on the physical well being of people the main reason Christ came into the world. For sure, Christ did not come into the world to make the poor rich rather he came to save sinners like you and me who were once dead in our sin but were made alive in Christ by God’s grace alone (Colossians 2:13, 14). This remains the main reason of Christ’s coming into the earth even today hence preaching should center on this.

Secondly, it is important to note how Apostle Paul addresses himself in the verse.  There is no doubt that Apostle Paul is one of the men that God has used greatly in the Church. Paul also wrote almost half of the New Testament yet when he examined himself, he felt that he was the worst sinner.

This is what happens to every Christian who is growing in his/her faith hence becoming closer to God. The more we get closer to God, the more we realize how greatly we fall short of His glory. Any Christian who gets closer to God can’t help it but realize how sinful he is and how holy God is.

For instance, consider Prophet Isaiah, the moment he came closer to God, he immediately realized how holy God is and how evil his heart was and he cried out, “Woe is me for I am (sinful)” (Isaiah 6:5). The same can also be said of Apostle Peter. In his first encounter with Jesus, it dawned on him that Christ is holy and he was very sinful hence he told Jesus:  “Depart from me a sinner” (Luke 5:8).

Therefore, it should scare us when we take the holiness of God for granted.  We have every reason to be afraid when we play with the holiness of God as a child’s toy. For sure, God is a our Father and we always have to approach His throne of grace with confidence as his children yet at the same time we should bear in mind that He is holy and we are not.  The only reason he welcomes us is because of Christ who clothes us with his holiness.  Without Christ, you and me are the worst sinner hence we should continually work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

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Christianity and theology

Give Me More of Christ Not the Devil

There are some wrong things done in the Church which are obvious and it doesn’t take long to notice that they are wrong. But there are some wrongs which are not obvious or may be we choose to deliberately ignore them and little by little they get established and grow roots. Eventually, there are no longer regarded as wrong. One such wrong which in my view has grown roots is a certain attitude towards the devil or Satan. Some Christians tend to mock, insult or make fun of devil.

I remember meeting one preacher at a certain Christian gathering and saying “Brother, make sure that the devils gives back what he owes you.  Squeeze his neck until he vomits all your blessings.”

Now what is wrong with that, you may ask. Well, the Bible discourages us from doing that. The Word of God in 2 Peter 2:10, 11 reads:

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, where as angels though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord” (ESV)

Apostle Peter is writing about false teachers and he describes how they conduct themselves and one thing that he points out is that they blaspheme the glorious ones. Now, the glorious ones in this passage refer to Satan and his fallen angels and not the angels in heaven that’s why Apostle Peter goes on to explain that angels though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against Satan and other fallen angels.

Jude also gives us a similar message in Jude 8-10:

“Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’” (ESV)

Jude is also discouraging Christians from insulting or making fun of the devil and other fallen angels like the false teachers he describes in the passage were doing. Therefore, I would like to remind us of this truth again: as we sing or preach, let’s avoid the temptation of insulting or making fun of the devil. The word of God discourages it.

Another sad thing I have also noticed is that sometimes preachers or Christian singers spend more time talking about the devil than Christ in their sermons and songs. This should also be discouraged because at the end of the day, listeners get to hear more of the devil than Christ and Satan enjoys that because we end up shifting most of our attention from Christ to him thereby letting him control much of our thoughts and actions.

I should also warn here against two extremes which Satan would want Christian to go. One is the extreme where he wants us to believe that he is too weak or he doesn’t even exist. If we go to this extreme, he will attack us when we least expect. The other extreme is the one where Satan wants us to believe that he is all-powerful like God. If we go to this extreme, we will always walk in fear of him; however, the truth is that Satan is under the power of God (Job 1:12).

Martin Luther who is said to have often fought against the devil as if fighting a physical being once gave a true picture of the devil in regard to his war against Christian in a hymn titled, “A mighty fortress is our God.” He said:

                                 For still our ancient enemy (Satan)

                    Does seek to work us woe;

                    His craft and power are great,

                    And armed with cruel hate,

                    On earth is not his equal.

 

                    If we in our own strength confide,

                    Our striving would be losing,

                    (If) the right man (was not) on our side,

                    The man of God’s own choosing.

                    Do you ask who that may be? 

                    Christ Jesus, it is he;

                    Lord Sabaoth,(is) his name,

                    From age to age the same,

                    And he must win the battle

That’s it! The devil being a fallen angel is more powerful than us; however, we thank God for Jesus Christ because only Christ must win the battle.  Let’s not buy into the lie that we can defeat the devil with our own strength. Only Jesus can do that in and through us. Let’s not waste time insulting or making fun of him rather let our response be like that of Archangel Michael, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan”

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Christ our Victory

Sometimes when things are not going on well, we are tempted to question if Christ is really in control. These are the times when all things seem to be falling apart.

However, Christ has a sure word for us in such times. In John 16:33, he tells us: “In this world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world.”

It is assuring that Christ is not hiding the truth from us. He, clearly, tells us that in this world, we will have trouble.  As a Christian you are not immune to hard times. Tribulations and difficulties will surely come your way. But “But take heart,” Christ says, “I have overcome the world.”

In these words, we have the assurance of victory. Because Christ has overcome, we will also overcome through him.  Victory is ours in Christ Jesus. As a matter of fact, Christ is our victory. Therefore, take heart.

I believe it is out of this realization that Rev. Martin Luther King could say: “And now to Him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from the valley of despair to the mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to Him be power and authority, forever.”

So, don’t doubt it, Christ is still in control and he alone is our victory.

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