“Saved Through Him from Wrath” ( Romans 5: 1-10, HOLMAN ) by Carley Evans


So much of the good news is contained in the first ten verses of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. He says clearly that we are “declared righteous,” that “we have peace with God,” that “we have obtained access” to “this grace in which we stand.” We may know with certainty that “this hope will not disappoint us.” Why? “Because God’s love has been poured out.” We have been given the Holy Spirit. And all this was given to us “while we were still helpless.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s you and me! This willing death of God’s Son “proves” God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Therefore, “we will be saved through Him from wrath.” After all, says Paul, if Christ died for us while we were His enemies, “how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His Life!”

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that,but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

“Confidence?” ( Psalm 119:60, WYC ) by Carley Evans


above_treeline_CEEDavid, an adulterer and murderer, boldly claims:

I am ready, and I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments. (I am ready, and I have not delayed, to obey thy commandments.)

What gives David his confidence? Is his confidence in himself? Is he honest when he claims he is ready? Does he correctly assess himself when he says, “I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments”?

In what, in whom is David’s confidence?

“Clean From All Sin” ( I John 1:7 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


wood_hole_CEEJesus’ blood, shed to save the world, cleanses us from all sin – not from some, but from all. As we join with God where He dwells, “we too live and move in Light” and we have “fellowship between us.” Living within Light overshadows the darkness that surrounds us; therefore we are clean despite living in a dirty, fallen world. Our fellowship is with the Holy Spirit and with each other. We live and move in Love.

God dwells in light; if we too live and move in light, there is fellowship between us, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin.

“Shame Not the Gospel” ( Romans 1:16 WYC ) by Carley Evans


I love – again – how different versions (i.e. translations) of the same Word give new insights into His Mind – here Paul says he “shames not” the good news. In other versions, he says he is “not ashamed” of the good news.

For I shame not the gospel, for it is the virtue of God into health to each man that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16NRSV)

In one translation, the gospel is described as the “virtue of God;” in many the good news is the “power of God.” His virtue is His Power, and therefore, our power! In one version, the result of the gospel is “health;” in many the outcome is our “salvation.” What a wondrous thing is the Word of God. Salvation is our health! 

Let us praise Him together as one, as we should.

“Over the Wall” ( Psalm 18: 25-29, WYC ) by Carley Evans


IMG_1140With the holy, with the innocent, with the chosen, with the meek; God delivers from temptation. In God, these people “shall go over the wall.” Their lanterns shall brighten and God shall make them safe. He shall deliver them from temptation, and light up their darknesses. So says David, the psalmist:

25 With the holy, thou shalt be holy; and with an innocent man, thou shalt be innocent. (With the holy, O Lord, thou shalt be holy; and with the innocent, thou shalt be innocent.)

26 And with a chosen man, thou shalt be chosen; and with a wayward man, thou shalt be wayward. (And with the chosen, thou shalt be chosen; but to the wicked, thou shalt be vengeful, or punishing.)

27 For thou shalt make safe a meek people; and thou shalt make meek the eyes of proud men. (And thou shalt save, or help, the poor; but thou shalt humble those who be high in their own eyes/but thou shalt look with contempt upon the proud.)

28 For thou, Lord, lightenest my lantern; my God, lighten thou my darknesses. (For thou, Lord, brightenest my lantern; my God, thou lightest up my darknesses.)

29 For by thee I shall be delivered from temptation; and in my God I shall go over the wall. (For I shall be rescued, or saved, from temptation by thee; and by my God/and with God’s help, I shall go over the wall.)

“The Simple Message of the Good News” ( Galatians 2: 16-21, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Mankind is not justified before God by working hard to please Him. Paul simply says that if that were so, then Christ died in vain. Rather mankind is saved by the Work of God in His Son, Jesus Christ and by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Paul also says that if we fall into sin, that does not then make Christ the “minister of sin!” He also claims that if we strive to obey the Law, we make ourselves trespassers. Rather we “are fixed to the Cross” so as “to live to God with Christ.” The Law is nailed there on the tree, and all its power destroyed.

Paul warns “cast not away the Grace of God.”

“16 know that a man [soothly knowing for a man] is not justified of the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; and we believe in Jesus Christ, that we be justified of the faith of Christ [that we be justified by the faith of Christ], and not of the works of the law. Wherefore of the works of the law each flesh shall not be justified.

17 And if we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves be found sinful men, whether Christ be minister of sin? God forbid. [That if we seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves be found sinners, whether Christ is minister of sin? Far be it.]

18 And if I build again things that I have destroyed [Soothly if I build again those things that I destroyed], I make myself a trespasser.

19 For by the law I am dead to the law, [For by the law I am dead to the law, that I live to God;]

20 and I am fixed to the cross, that I live to God with Christ. And now live not I, but Christ liveth in me. But that I live now in flesh, I live in the faith of God’s Son, that loved me, and gave himself for me. [with Christ I am fixed to the cross. Forsooth I live now, not I, but Christ liveth in me. Forsooth that I live now in flesh, I live in the faith of God’s Son, which loved me, and betook himself for me.]

21 I cast not away the grace of God; for if rightwiseness be through law [for if rightwiseness is by the law], then Christ died without cause.”

“His Effective Power” ( Philippians 3: 20 – 21, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


“we find our true home in heaven. It is to heaven that we look expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save us; 21 he will form this humbled body of ours anew, moulding it into the image of his glorified body, so effective is his power to make all things obey him.”

God is perfectly capable to make all things obey Him. Because this is true, He is ultimately sovereign, for that which He determines to allow to happen is in His perfect will. He withholds or exercises His power as He desires to meet His own ends in His own ways. That we do not understand this is because our view of God is limited by our own limited capacity. How can we fully comprehend the all-powerful and the perfect when we are neither powerful nor perfect?

We look to heaven for Jesus Christ to return “to save us.” With His immeasurable power, He plans to call our decayed bones together and refashion our bodies to match His own glorified body. He has that level of power! And it won’t matter in the long run whether you are buried at sea, in the ground, or turned to ash in the fires of the crematorium. You will have a body fashioned by the Lord; and your home will be heaven.

“If You Will Use” ( Romans 10: 9 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


ImageHeard this before? Cheap grace? Read Paul’s short description of “finding salvation”:

Thou canst find salvation, if thou wilt use thy lips to confess that Jesus is the Lord, and thy heart to believe that God has raised him up from the dead.

What’s cheap about that? As a matter of fact, what’s particularly easy about that? Certainly it is not common to believe a person rises from the dead – it’s common to pretend this happens but to believe it really happens – well, that’s not as likely and definitely not easy to believe.

To say out loud “Jesus is Lord” and act like Jesus is Lord is not that easy and certainly not cheap either. To act like Jesus is Lord is costly. Jesus warns about starting a task you haven’t planned to finish, about forgetting your daily cross, about lip-service to God without a change of heart.

He warns that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” actually understands who He is and what He does.

“To Drain the Cup” ( Hebrews 9:28 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Image

The author of Hebrews emphasizes the offer of Christ is “once for all” and is designed by God the Father “to drain the cup of a world’s sins.” Jesus comes the first time to deal with sin; the second time He comes has nothing whatever to do with sin. Instead He brings salvation “to those who await His coming.”

For some reason, I think of a dishwasher thoroughly cleaning a cup in one wash. I unloaded dishes last night. I’m not sure the reason, but the dishes were sparkling and ultra-clean. Jesus ultra-cleans the cup on His first visit to earth; at His second, He finds the cup thoroughly washed, waiting patiently ( or impatiently ) and ready for use.

and Christ was offered once for all, to drain the cup of a world’s sins; when we see him again, sin will play its part no longer, he will be bringing salvation to those who await his coming. 

“Come To Seek and Save” ( Luke 19: 10, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


English: Young Christ as the good shepherd
English: Young Christ as the good shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always loved the image of Jesus as shepherd, carrying the lamb on His shoulders. He’s also the shepherd who puts that lamb in with the others of the flock, then turns to search far and wide for the sheep that wander, the sheep that are lost in a ravine, in a flood, in a deep hole, amongst wolves.

That is what the Son of Man has come for, to search out and to save what was lost.