Made Right

For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:10

righteous – one who has a moral character and is honest right – being conformed to what is good & proper; to be restored to an upright position that which had fallen 

A recent question asked of me was “Are we still sinners if we have been saved?” If you want to live in the sin nature and under the law, then the bigger question to me is… are you really saved if you have those desires? Have you really committed your life to walk with Jesus and have him as your best friend? Is the Holy Spirit in charge of your life, the small decisions as well as the big? 

My answer is: I don’t consider myself a sinner anymore because I have confessed and believe in my heart that Jesus redeemed me from my old sinful nature and has made me right with God. What does it mean to be ‘right’ with God? It is re-establishing ourselves into his original purpose for our lives, which is to be in relationship with him. It is accepting the gift he gave us to redeem us from spiritual death. It is by having faith in Jesus Christ. It is by replacing who we once were, to the person we were meant to be. 

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God! For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

It IS His Grace that saved me, but the sinner I once was has been replaced with the Spirit of the one who carries the keys to the Kingdom.

And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” – Matthew 16:19

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. – Romans 3:22-24 NLT

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT

Jesus loved me when I was a sinner (Luke 5:31-32) and he loves me now as a Child of his Father and as a joint heir with him. I don’t look at who I used to be, but I rejoice in who I am now. If I still call myself a sinner, then I am rejecting what has already been gifted to me. I don’t say that to exalt myself, but to give glory to God for bringing me back to him through Jesus Christ who lives inside of me. I am a child of God and an heir to His Kingdom and I have been made righteous.

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. Luke 22:20

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. – Romans 8:9-10

Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.I do not walk under the condemnation of the law but under the new covenant which has replaced the law. Galatians 2:18-21

Prayer: Father, Thank you for restoring me to you. Thank you for the relationship you desire from me. Thank you for making me right with you by my acceptance and faith in Jesus.  

(My emphases on scripture by underlining, italicizing, or bold.)

Words of Honor

There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19

As I thought about these verses yesterday, I came up with these sayings:

You can dress up a lie with flowery words and the allusion of honey, but in the end, it is still a lie.

False accusations will eventually bring sorrow to those who speak them.

A smooth lie wounds deeper than a harsh truth.

A vicious tongue cuts deeper than a sword by dividing relationships.

Controlling what comes out of our mouths is essential to peace in every facet of our lives.

Once a person becomes used to lying, they become immune to understanding truth.

If you claim to show love, but cannot control your tongue, the only person continually fooled is yourself.

A salty ocean cannot produce pure sweet water.

Pleasant words and a bitter heart are in conflict with each other. They produce dissension and division.

Those who pretend to be your friend and gossip behind your back are not your ally.

If you want to put out a fire, don’t give air to a spark of rumors.

When you listen to rumors, you are as guilty as the one who gossiped and when you repeat the gossip, you are embellishing hearsay. You start with a domino effect and create an avalanche of trouble.

Prayer: Lord help me to control what comes out of my mouth and may all my words be a blessing to you. May I glorify God as I journey through this life. Allow the Holy Spirit to say words that are worthy of your honor and in a timely manner.

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:16-25

Fragrance and Beauty

Hosea 14:4-9 “The Lord says, Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Thoughts on these verses:

God says he will be like the refreshing dew. = There is no end to the dew, it is new every morning, it is continually replenished. We should Look for Him, Expect Him, Feed on Him and His Word.

Then you will bloom like the lily. = The lily is compared to great beauty.

Your roots will go as deep as the cedars of Lebanon. = The cedars of Lebanon were more fruitful as they aged and their roots held firm, as we are to hold firm to our faith and in our relationship with God. (Also, the cedars were resistant to rot and decay and repelled insects. We should be resistant to sin and repel the enemy.)

Your branches will spread like a beautiful olive tree. = Branches will provide shade for others, to guard them, nurture them, teach them in the knowledge of God.

Flourish like grain. = Each stalk of grain produces many seeds and grain feeds others.

You will be fragrant like the oil of the cedars of Lebanon. = Fragrance attracts

You will Blossom like grapevines. = Constantly bearing fruit again and again, season after season and make new wine. Be an example of the true grapevine, Jesus Christ and our Father is the Gardener. (John 15:1)

Fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. = Again, fragrance attracts and wine quenches thirst.

The Lord answers our prayers, He cares for us. = We should have a prayer relationship with God. Not a ‘laundry list’ of our desires but prayers of thanksgiving and worship, we should care for him as He cares for us.

He is the tree that stays green. = The cedars of Lebanon are evergreen, we should not wither, but have life continuously.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord  and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

He is the source of our fruit. = Our fruit can only ripen and be fully formed through Him. How can any bad fruit come from God?

Matthew 7:16-20 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

When we are wise in the Lord, we understand. = When our wisdom comes from God, we have understanding.

When we have discernment, we listen carefully. = When we perceive what is true and good, we will listen intently to the Word of God.

Proverbs 4:10-13 My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.  When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Righteous walk in the true and right paths the Lord has prepared, however sinners will stumble and fall in the very same paths. In the NIV, it says the rebellious will stumble. If you are not following God, you are rebelling.

Prayer: Father, help me to seek you daily and worship you, to recognize your refreshing ways Every day. Help me be firm in my faith, to attract with the beauty that comes from inside of me, which is your light. Help me to guide others to you and show them the fruit which you have given me. Help me to be an instructor, an encourager, and a protector of those who are less mature in their faith. May I be fruitful and fragrant with your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen