Monday, March 8, 2010

Forgiveness and Adoption = 5 "Alones"

Okay I am going to give it to you straight! Straight from the Bible. I have always appreciated knowing I am adopted into God's family. See, at one time (The Old Testament) only the Chosen People (Jews) were justified. However, as I like to explain, "The Old Testament was the coloring book and the New Testament the crayons. Together the coloring book (OT) with crayons (NT) become a finished work of art (Jesus Christ)."

So many make the Bible to be a complex book of which only the scholarly can comprehend. However, when we have an open mind and an open heart, God will deposit the Truth of the Bible into our minds and will plant a seed which makes its way into our hearts and then becomes a beautifully strong and powerful planting of the Holy Spirit. Only when we realize God Himself wants to teach us what the Bible is all about do we stop fighting man and fearing man's interpretation. God gives us the Truth!!

Here is a word of great significance to those of us seeking forgiveness and adoption into God's Family:

jus·ti·fi·ca·tion –noun

1. a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends: His insulting you was ample justification for you to leave the party.
2. an act of justifying: The painter's justification of his failure to finish on time didn't impress me.
3. the state of being justified.
4. Also called justification by faith. Theology. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.
5. Printing. the spacing of words and letters within a line of type so that all full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.

As a Christian (which means Follower of Christ) I can confidentially tell you that Justification (applying to number 4 above) consists of 2 parts:

#1. The sinner (which applies to all of us Romans 3:23) is forgiven by Christ's righteousness on the Cross Romans 3:24. I love how Romans 3:23 and Romans 3:24 are right there in two verses! Just so we don't miss them they are written one after the other.

#2. The second part of justification is adoption. How wonderful to know that after a life of just feeling like we don't truly belong anywhere - God teaches us that we can become adopted as a child of God. We have all the rights of heirs (co-heirs with Christ actually Romans 8:17) Just in case you are a bit skeptical about this as if it sounds "too good to be true" check out 1 Peter 1:4

I like to refer to the next five supporting Truths as the "Alones". See, we must trust what God is telling us about "how to be justified" is all we need to understand and heed to be right before a perfect God. It's not how many meals we served the homeless, how much money we gave throughout our lifetimes, or about serving as a deacon or whatever we did. Being justified before a loving God consists of: faith alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone, Grace alone and Glory to God alone.

5 "Alones" = God's forgiveness and adoption into the Family of God. Just be reminded that justification means "right standing" with God - which allows for our entrance into Heaven (according to Christianity) and for a person's name to be written into the Lamb's Book of Life. (I could have also called this category the 5 Solas but I am not really a big fan of Latin ;) so I like to call the following "Alones":

1. By faith alone (Sola Fide)
2. Scripture alone (Sola Scripture)
3. Christ alone (Solus Christus)
4. Grace alone (Sola Gratia)
5. Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

I have come to grieve the fact that man has made a mess of what God had intended to be a very simple plan. I run back to Jesus Christ each time I experience conflict with others as a result of having to defend my faith. I never did find Christ in a church pew. I found Him in the heart of a loving brother who loved God enough and God's creation (me) so much that he shared the simple plan of salvation and the 5 "Alones" that I have come to love as friends.

See, in all the five "alones" God exists. In it we are "justified" because through the "Alones" God pardons, accepts and delivers a sinner to be "just" on the basis of Christ's righteousness (back to Romans 3:23 & 3:24 - see #1 above).

The results of being "just" before God:

God's peace (Romans 5:1) = leads to receiving His Spirit (allowing you to understand what you are reading right now! Romans 8:4) = and then leads to salvation

If you are still with me reading this then allow me to toss one more word out for you to absorb. Sanctification. I love this word!!! Check out Deuteronomy 29:29, John 17:17 and Galatians 3 (particularly the beginning of that chapter).   What I do every day as a "justified" sinner saved by God's Grace is receive forgiveness so that I can keep running the race marked out for me.

Unlike Justification which is a one-time event, meaning grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works and merit of the sinner Romans 1:18 and Romans 3:28 Sanctification is a daily occurance. Knowing this has freed me of alot of guilt and tears over not "being good enough". Because I don't have to be good enough or great enough or any "enoughs" to be justified by God. I am justified because of Jesus dying on a Cross - one time for me forever.

Because I have adopted all of the 5 "Alones" above, I will no longer be alone (Hebrews 13:5)!

And so take a deep breath - another and another as you gratefully realize how much you are loved and sought after as all of what I - no not I but what God has said in His Bible about justification (forgiveness) and sanctification (adoption). Again, seek God not man about the matter of salvation.

I am grateful to have had wise parents who imparted their faith and their traditions to me Proverbs 22:6 . As I navigated through life I found knowing of God was not enough for me. I wanted to know Him personally. I wanted to find that which would fill the hole in my heart that existed since before I took my first breath (Psalm 139). And so I sought forgiveness again and again and one day found myself very alone. That time in the desert prepared me to realize I was never alone and lo and behold - today I have adopted the 5 "Alones" for my life.

I am a forgiven sinner saved by Grace and justified by the death of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Daily I am being sanctified and tho I go down struggling at times to justify myself (pride - and not the good kind!) God isn't done with me yet. Do I know everything I need to know? No!

But I can say this: The Bible is my reference point. I no longer am swayed by what well-meaning people speak into my life. I love them and appreciate them. I never want to fight with them because of religion or false claims. Instead I walk on all the while hoping one day they will understand their aloneness and adopt the 5 "Alones" for their life.
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