October 12

Psalms 51:4-6 (NIV) 4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

When the prophet Nathan exposed King David's sin with a parable, David wrote this psalm of repentance. He realized that though he had sinned against Bathsheba's husband and the people of Israel, ultimately his sin was against God who had trusted him with position and authority. All sin is ultimately a sin against God who alone is the standard of righteousness. We sin against His goodness and grace. We sin against His mercy and love. Whenever His sentence is against us, He is perfectly justified in pronouncing it.

David declared that he was sinful from the time he was born. Unlike modern philosophy, David knew sin was in his very nature, inherited from Adam. Even from conception, rebellion against God was the driving force of his character. We want to believe that children are born innocent, but you never have to teach them to be selfish and rebel. It is in their nature, as it is in ours. We need a Redeemer. We need a Deliverer.

It is God that teaches us truth in our mind and spirit. He shows us what is evil and cuts through all our justifications. His Spirit is the One who imparts wisdom. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. To recognize that God is just and will deal with sin, the inherited sin nature, and the sinful acts we yield to, gives us a healthy fear of God. Wisdom teaches us to come to God for cleansing for our actions and for who we are by nature. We are sinful from birth. Only God can change our nature. Are you a new creation in Christ Jesus? Have you accepted His sacrifice for who you are and for what you do?

Remember: The only appropriate response to such generosity is to make Him your Lord and God.

October 12

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul had just declared that his one desire was to know Christ, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. Then he tells us that he is not there yet. This man had been a missionary to much of Asia Minor, suffered in beatings and shipwrecks, stoned and left for dead, chased out of town after town, and planted many churches, yet he said he had not attained it! So much for those who claim to have reached perfection! That is what heaven is for. This life is a continual process of moving in that direction, but the destination will only be reached in His presence.

Paul declares that he presses forward to grasp that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him, to put His own character in him by an increasing revelation of Himself. In this life, Paul continually pushed in that direction in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. He told us that he did that by forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead. You can picture the prize just out of reach, or the runner who sees the finish tape. Giving it your all is the only thing that matters. Your entire focus is fixed on the goal.

The prize at the end of the race is knowing Christ. We know but a drop in an ocean. We see but a reflection on distorted glass. Then we will see Him face to face. If we don't have this longing to know Christ in all His fullness, we are missing a key ingredient and motivation for pressing on in the Lord. He is more beautiful than you can possibly imagine. His love is more excellent than can be told. Is this the Christ you serve, or have you settled for duty? Do you run because you should, or because you are in love? Are you running to Him, or to some other goal that doesn't come close in comparison? He is the prize that is worth giving up all else for.

Admonition: Run to Him, Christian! Reach for the prize.