He is Faithful and True (Romans 3:1-8)

Preaching and teaching the Word of God is hard work. There is the studying. You spend time reading and rereading a passage of the Bible, asking God to open up the text to your mind and let its truths get down into your soul. You also spend time reading what other students of the Bible, great scholars and preachers from the past, have learned about the text. Then there is the preparation for the audience. You spend time thinking about your different listeners. You think about where they are in life and in their relationships with God and others. You pray for God to show you their spiritual needs and the practical challenges they will face in trying to apply the Bible passage to their lives as you are trying to do to your own life. The preacher asks God for His Spirit to reach the hearts of the audience with His Word and give them faith to believe it and do what it says. Every time before I preach in chapel or at church, teach my homeroom the morning devotion, teach the children on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, and lead lunchtime discipleship, I ask God for my message to have three things: conviction, clarity, and compassion. I want my listeners to know that I really believe what I am asking them to believe, I want them to clearly understand what the Word of God is saying to them, and I want them to know that I love and care about them and their walks with the Lord.

But the hardest part of preaching and teaching God’s Word is not the preparation or the delivery. The hardest part is knowing the aftermath. The hardest part is knowing that even if you preach lights out, even if you hit a grand slam and know that God was in the message with great power, not everyone will believe and obey the Word of God. Some and sadly sometimes many students, children, or adults will walk away totally unchanged by the sermon or lesson. That really hurts. You want so bad to see people put their trust in God, do what He says, and enjoy the blessings of eternal life with Christ. But a lot of them don’t. They go right back to life as usual, living as slaves to sin and unbelief. Does that mean that the preacher or teacher has failed? Does that mean that God’s Word has failed? Does it mean that God Himself has failed? Paul tackles that question in the beginning of Romans 3 and will revisit it in Romans 9-11. The short answer is – “NO! By all means, no!”

You see, Paul was a Jew by birth and he had a burning desire to see his fellow Jewish countrymen come to faith in Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah and Savior. But most of them had not believed. They wanted to keep trusting in their religious rituals like circumcision and their heritage as physical descendants of Abraham. He says that those things are great blessings, especially the fact that the Jews had received the “oracles” or revelation of God through the Old Testament of the Bible (Romans 3:1-2). But the reality was that “some” or in truth most of the Jews had not believed their own prophecies and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But their lack of faith did not mean that God had failed to be faithful and true (Romans 3:3-4). God had never promised to save all of Israel, but only those who believed and trusted in Him. Today, God does not promise to save every student who attends a Christian school or every adult or child who goes to church. God saves those who want it and are willing to pay the price of following His Son. God’s Word has always been able to spiritually save and protect and prosper everyone who hears it and responds to it with obedient faith. But to those who refuse to believe and obey, God is totally justified in letting them perish in their sins, both in this life and the next (Romans 3:5-6). We must never blame God for man’s sin and unbelief. God is not the author of sin. Though He loves to show mercy and grace to repentant sinners, He never encourages people to sin so that He can forgive them. As Paul says, such an argument is absurd and shows no understanding of the character of the God of the Bible (Romans 3:7-8).

The bottom line is that even if many people are faithless, God remains faithful and true no matter what. People love their sins and they love their idols, and they don’t give them up easily. Many people take the easy road in life and are too spiritually lazy to put in the hard work of following Christ. But even if every single person ignored every sermon and Bible lesson they ever heard and took the wide path to hell, God would still be just and faithful and true. The fault would not be His. Fortunately, not everyone ignores God’s Word. As Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower, some people hear the Word of God and really believe it. When they hear sermons and Bible lessons, they are listening. They receive messages in faith and let the Word take root in their souls. Their lives are being changed and shaped by the Word, and they bear spiritual fruit for God. They experience God’s joy, love, and peace as they trust and obey Him. May you be that kind of faithful hearer of God’s Word. And don’t lose heart if people you care about aren’t listening right now. God specializes in the impossible. Keep praying for them – God may yet open their hearts to listen. But even if He doesn’t, never forget that our God is always faithful and true. His Word says it, so let’s believe it.

The Text (Romans 3:1-8)

1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,

And may overcome when You are judged.”

5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?

7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.

Questions to Think About

  1. When did you first begin to listen and believe during sermons and Bible lessons? Are you still listening to God right now?
  2. Have you ever felt disheartened by other people’s lack of faith and unwillingness to obey God’s Word? How does today’s passage help you deal with that emotion?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

The Circumcision of the Heart (Romans 2:17-29)

The Jews of the Old Testament put a lot of emphasis on the ritual of circumcision. This physical procedure performed on baby boys was the sign of God’s covenant with them. The surgical cutting was a symbol of God’s favor that went all the way back to the times of Moses and even Abraham. It represented a special promise from God that He would bless His chosen people with land, many descendants, and His very presence. Along with circumcision came the Law, the commandments of God that were given to guide His people in how to live for Him. The Jews had not been left to wander in the darkness of sin like the pagans described in Romans 1. No, the Jews had the Law to show them God’s righteous expectations for their lives. Having both circumcision and the Law were meant to be great blessings for the Jewish people.

But circumcision and the Law were never intended to save people. They were outward things that were meant to show God’s people their need for His mercy and grace. God did not mean for His people to simply go through the motions of keeping many laws and completing many rituals like circumcision without letting those symbols stir their hearts to love and trust in Him. Religion as God designed it is good when it leads us to an inward turning of our souls toward Him. But when it becomes a rote, dead collection of “ought to’s” being done with thoughtless, cold automation, then we have tragically missed the point altogether.

In today’s passage, Paul is pleading with proud religious people to stop putting their spiritual trust in their good works and outward obedience to rituals. Such people boast that they the know much about God and how to follow Him (Romans 2:17-20). Yet they do not even see the deadly problem of sin in their own lives (vv. 21-23). They are quick to judge others and do not even realize that their own sins are dishonoring God’s name among the unchurched community (v. 24). God cares not for the outward actions of religion if a person does not love Him and do His will (vv. 25-27).

What God wants is a circumcision of the heart (vv. 28-29). What He wants to see in us is inner repentance and faith that leads to outward obedience. That is a work that is done by the Holy Spirit who lives inside the born again believer in Jesus Christ. It cannot be done through any amount of human effort. But through faith in Christ, that type of supernatural spiritual change is possible. I pray you experience even now the joy of God’s presence and blessing. May His Spirit cut all our hearts afresh today.

The Text (Romans 1:26-32)

17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Questions to Think About

  1. What kinds of outward rituals do people sometimes trust in for salvation instead of putting their hope in Christ alone?
  2. Why do you think that God cares more about the state of our hearts than our outward acts of religious obedience?
  3. Have you ever met someone who was religious but seemed cold and distant in their love for God? Have you ever felt that way yourself? Explain.
  • Notes
    • The Jews were right to believe that they were God’s chosen people, but they were wrong to think that they were better than the rest of the world. God had always told them that He did not choose them because they were good or mighty, but simply because of His love and grace (example: Deuteronomy 9:4-6). Also, God had planned for Israel to be a witness and light to the Gentiles, to show the nations the way to God. The Jews should have been inclusive, bringing lost people into the blessings of salvation. They weren’t and God judged them it. This is a strong reminder to those of you who have grown up in the church, Christians schools, and godly families that you should not become proud of those blessings. Instead, take advantage of your heritage of faith and use it as a source of strength in bringing others to Christ!
    • Passages like today’s also show us that God’s plan of salvation for His people has always centered on a grace and faith-based relationship with Him. Just as people today cannot be saved by good works and religious actions, the Jews in the Old Testament were not saved by their outward rituals and obedience to the Law. Those were just symbols and tutors to show them their need for God’s love and mercy. May we remember that lesson well in our own daily walks with Christ.

    In Christ,

    Mr. Reel

    The Kindness of God (Romans 2:1-16)

    The kindness of God is not like the kindness of man. It is infinitely greater. We call a person kind if they do nice things for us, if they say nice things to us, if they treat us with respect and listen to what we have to say. We think of the gentle old greeter at church or the sweet young elementary school teacher at school. But the kindness of God is so much more than that. God shows us His kindness in patiently enduring those who reject and hate Him, extending His love to anyone and everyone who will accept it. God’s kindness is rooted in His holy love that hates sin but loves sinners. It is a kindness that should lead us all to repentance (Romans 2:4).

    We are unkind people. As we saw at the end of Romans 1, we know that the lost world lives in open rebellion against God and His holy and just commandments. Their sins against both God and other people are clearly many and awful. A walk through the mall, a trip to a sporting event, or an hour of streaming almost any recent television show prove this truth right away – this world around us does not know or love the God who created it. But as Romans 2 shows us today, the religious people are no better. We pride ourselves on having the Word of God, being called the people of God, knowing the name of God, and enjoying the blessings of a spiritual heritage. But in our hearts, we are guilty of many and perhaps almost all of the same sins that condemn our unchurched neighbors (Romans 2:1-2). We are quick to judge others, but do we ever allow God to examine our own hearts and show us our sin (Romans 2:3)? Or do our hearts remain hard, stubborn, and self-righteous, unwilling to come clean with God in honest admission that we have a great sin problem, too (Romans 2:5)?

    For Paul’s original first-century Christian audience, Romans 2 was directed at the Jews, God’s people from the Old Testament. But for us living 2000 years later in the church era, this chapter would apply to those raised up in the church, Christian schools, and/or Christian homes. We have the knowledge of God, His Word, His Son, and His way of salvation clearly revealed and available to us. But knowledge is not enough to spare us the judgment we all deserve for our sins. What God wants from us is obedient hearts and lives. He doesn’t want us to be just hearers of His Word, but doers of His Word, both inwardly and outwardly (Romans 2:13). You see, the fairness of God is that one day He will repay everyone just as they deserve (Romans 2:6). People who live justly and humbly before Him will receive honor, glory, and life, while those who love only themselves and evil will receive His anger and wrath (Romans 2:7-10, 16). Simply being raised in a religious setting will not give anyone an exception from this just reality (Romans 2:11). More knowledge only makes us more accountable for how we have lived. In some ways, the totally unchurched person who never heard the name of Jesus may fare better in the end than the person who lived their whole life in the presence of God’s people but never gave their heart to Jesus (Romans 2:14-15).

    “Wait,” you say, “I thought this was supposed to be a post about God’s kindness, not His judgment.” Yes, it is. You see, the kindness of God is seen in the fact that He has offered us free forgiveness and mercy for all of our sins. As long as people are still alive, God is graciously holding back His judgment, giving stubborn sinners space to turn away from their evil deeds and come to His Son Jesus for salvation. God’s great kindness is intended to lead people to repentance and faith (Romans 2:4). No human being would show the divine patience that our God has for His most beloved creation. Our sin problem is bad, but God’s goodness and grace are stronger. May we never stop rejoicing in the kindness of our God.

    The Text (Romans 2:1-16)

    1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

    12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

    Questions to Think About

    1. Who are the kindest people you know? Why do you think that they are kind?
    2. How does today’s passage give you a greater appreciation for your salvation?
    3. In what specific ways have you seen God’s kindness toward you in the past two or three years?
    4. Have you ever talked with someone who just would not admit that they need Jesus? How did that make you feel? Now, how do you think their attitude makes God feel?

    Notes

    • Today’s passage is not teaching that we are saved by doing good works. Paul is actually saying quite the opposite. Because we have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteous standard (Romans 3:23), we all need to repent and come to Him for forgiveness and grace. His point in warning religious people that they will also give account for their lives just like the lost and that they will also not escape judgment for their sins is not that they need to do better, but that they too need Jesus! Again, the good news of salvation by grace through faith is coming up in chapters 4-8, so by all means read ahead if you want that encouragement now!
    • Not all Christians agree on exactly what will happen to lost people who have never heard the gospel and had the chance to believe in Jesus and be saved. The Bible does make it clear that there is salvation in no other name than Jesus (Acts 4:12), and that we must urgently bring the gospel to the nations and the lost people in our country and communities (Matthew 28:18-20). More importantly, if you are reading or hearing this blog post, than you are not part of that group that has never had a chance to be saved! You have heard the gospel, and you are accountable for how you respond to the call of God on your life. My prayer for all us is that we would do God’s will and be found as good and faithful servants of Christ on the last day.

    In Christ,

    Mr. Reel

    It’s Bad, Real Bad (Romans 1:26-32)

    Today’s passage is one of the most brutal, depressing descriptions of sin in the entire Bible. We have in these verses a stark, totally honest presentation of the many sins that fill our lost world. We see in Romans 1:26-32 a vivid picture of what happens to people who have abandoned God altogether and fallen deeper and deeper and deeper still into the awful prison of their own wickedness. While I will not enjoy explaining these verses, I’m going to do it because: 1) It is part of God’s Word and all parts of God Word are inspired and given for our spiritual growth, 2) The culture in which we live is guilty of all of these sins, which means that many of you by middle school have already been exposed to their existence through your friends and what you have seen on your devices, and 3) We need to know what God says about the horrible depth of our sin problem so that we can see our incredible need for salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ. So here we go.

    I will not go into detail about verses 26-27 beyond saying that homosexuality is a vile or very evil sin that God openly condemns. God loves every sinner, but He hates sin, and according to this text some sins are particularly awful in His sight. Verse 28 then tells us that as people reject the knowledge of God and resist the work of His Word and Spirit, God allows them to fall further into their own sinfulness. They become unholy, commit acts of sexual immorality, become jealous of what others have, become mean and hateful, fight with others, and whisper gossip behind their backs (v. 29). People who don’t know Jesus, people who lack the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives, become people who hate God and others. They commit violence against others with their hands and tongues, they are proud and boastful, they dream up ways to do evil, and they disobey their parents (v. 30). People without Christ lack understanding and wisdom, they are untrustworthy and unloving, incapable of forgiving others even for the smallest offenses (31). Worst of all, as we saw in yesterday’s post from Romans 1:18-25, lost people know deep down in their souls that their sinful thoughts and actions deserve to be punished by a holy God. Yet even though they know that those who sin so openly and habitually “are deserving of death,” they still continue on in their wickedness and even love seeing others fall into sin with them.

    So what are we to make of today’s passage? First, we must realize that we are not good people on our own. Our sin problem is bad, real bad, and we cannot escape it without the supernatural power of God. Second, that means that we need Jesus bad, real bad! You and I need the mercy and grace of God every day to rescue us from the wicked world, the sinful desires of our heart, and the temptations of Satan that constantly seek to destroy us. We needed Jesus when He first came into our life when we were born again and brought to life by the Holy Spirit. And we still need Jesus each day to keep us on the path of life. So third, we must be in God’s Word every day so that the Lord can use His truth to renew our minds and make our hearts holy and good. Without the transforming work of God’s Word and Spirit, we will fall into the awful depths of sin and its bitter results. Let today’s passage be a warning to us that sin is deadly and to live in victory over it, we need Jesus every day.

    The Text (Romans 1:26-32)

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

    Questions to Think About

    1. Why do think that Paul gives such a detailed list of sinful behaviors and attitudes in this passage? What does God want us to learn from a text like today’s?
    2. Before you accepted Christ as your Savior, did you think of yourself as a pretty good person? Why or why not?
    3. Do you think it is harder for a “good kid” or a “bad kid” to come to faith in Christ? Explain.

    Notes

    • Romans 1:26-27 is one of the clearest condemnations of homosexuality in the entire Bible. If we believe that the whole Bible is inspired by God, then we must accept according to these verses that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and against the creation order. While we should not be mean to anyone even if they are living in open sin, we must also stand firm in refusing to say that the homosexual life is okay with God, because His Word tells us it is not. As with any other sin, we must love the sinner but hate the sin.
    • What Paul is doing in Romans chapters 1-3 is laying out just how bad sin really is. God wants us to see that “all have sinned and fallen short of His glory” (Romans 3:23). We have to acknowledge that our sin problem is big and unfixable through our own efforts before we can understand our desperate need for Jesus. Good news will be coming in chapters 4-8, so hang in there with our study!

    In Christ,

    Mr. Reel

    Without Excuse (Romans 1:18-24)

    Deep down, all people know that there is a God and that they ought to worship Him. As God tells us through the apostle Paul in today’s passage, everyone who refuses to worship their Creator is “without excuse” for their sin and the judgment it will bring if they do not repent (Romans 1:20). We can see from the majesty of the mountains, the thunder of the storm clouds, the heat of the sun, and the crashing of the ocean waves that One who is greater than us has made this world in which we live (Romans 1:19). In our own selves, we see the amazing design of the human body, so many systems and organs working in beautiful harmony to give us life and breath each day. We find in our hearts a moral conscience that tells us that things like murder and stealing are wrong while loving and serving others is good. God has burned the knowledge of His existence into the soul of every man and woman who ever walked the face of His earth.

    Yet in our pride, we reject the truths that God is and that He ought to be worshiped. We try to “suppress” God and kick him out of our thoughts and lives, choosing instead to sin against both God and our neighbors (Romans 1:18). We refuse to glorify God with our words and deeds and minds (Romans 1:21a). Our hearts are thankless, ungrateful, and foolish (Romans 1:21b). We fancy ourselves to be so smart and wise, yet we fail to do the thing that matters most – worship the God who made us – and thus show ourselves to be stupid (Romans 1:22). Instead of worshiping the Creator as we ought, we worship the creation (Romans 1:23; 25)). As I told our seventh grade boys on the way to Grandfather Mountain last week, people praise the mountain but fail to praise the God who made it. In the ancient times when Paul wrote this letter, people worshiped fake statue gods, idols that were supposed to represent gods of the sun, moon, stars, and animals. Ridiculous! But today, we worship money and stuff, power, popularity, relationships, sports, and our own selves. Idolatry has not stopped. People still look to worship anything and everything but the God who actually deserves the devotion of their hearts, minds, strength, and souls. And what does God do? He simply turns us over to our own wicked hearts, allowing us to sink deeper into our self-made chains of sin (Romans 1:24). As we will see in the next post, God is not the cause of our sin; we choose to reject Him and do evil. But He is not obligated to save anyone of us. If God let everyone of us die in our sins, He would still be absolutely fair and just.

    But the good news is that God has not left us without hope! Though our sins against Him are many and we have no excuse for ignoring and rejecting Him, He has extended an offer of forgiveness and pardon to all who will honestly turn to Him in repentance and faith. This is the “Good News” – the gospel of Jesus Christ! While we were still prisoners of our own sin and disobedience, God in His great love for us sent His Own Son, Jesus, to save us by dying for us on the cross (Romans 5:8) and then rising from the dead. Through a personal relationship with Jesus, we can turn from worshiping idols and instead serve the living God who rescues us with His Own blood. If you reject that great salvation and choose to keep loving and serving idols, the wrath you will face is on you; you remain “without excuse” for your sin and cannot blame God. But if you repent and follow Christ, He will set you free to worship the only One who truly deserves your praise, both in this life and forever. I’ve made my choice. How about you?

    The Text (Romans 1:18-25)

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    Questions to Think About

    1. Before you accepted Christ or rededicated your life to following Him, what did you worship instead of God?
    2. What idols are competing with God for control of your heart today?
    3. Have you ever tried to blame other people or your life circumstances for your own sins? Did placing blame help you to repent of those sins and find spiritual victory? Explain.

    Notes

    • The “knowledge of God” that Paul discusses in this passage is theologically known as God’s “general revelation.” Through the creation and our own moral consciences (our natural sense of right and wrong), people can see that there is a Creator who is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good. They can also understand that they have a problem because they do not live as they should, so deep down people feel shame and guilt towards God and they fear the just punishment that awaits them when they die. Today, our culture, which lies under the influence of Satan, is constantly working very hard to suppress this knowledge and get people to not feel bad about their sin and idolatry by convincing them that God is not real. The first step of evangelizing or trying to win people to faith in Christ in our culture, then, is not to tell them that Jesus loves them. Before we talk about God’s great love, we must first awaken people’s lost sense of their own sin problem so that they will again feel the shame and guilt of their burden and recognize their offense as being against their Creator. Only then will they be ready for the good news of being able to be saved from sin and restored to a right relationship with the One who made them.
    • Scripture always lays the blame for our sin firmly at own feet. It is God’s grace that saves us and gives us His goodness, so that as Christians, anything good in us must be credited to God alone. But the bad that is in us is our own fault. We must never fall into the trap of trying to blame God or circumstances or others for own sins. That thinking is not biblical and will only keep us from the honest repentance that we need to get back on track in our walks with Christ.

    In Christ,

    Mr. Reel