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I want to look at a controversial subject in Christianity that we need to understand to have a right relationship with Christa€”justification. I think we can help stem that confusion by searching in the Bible and asking God what He has to say about this pivotal facet of faith.
Therea€™s a woman who lives there that lost her son, her only son, in this war fighting for your freedom.a€? And he continued, a€?See that house over there?
Others who are on the edge of belief dona€™t know what justification really means, if they can truly have it, and theya€™re afraid of taking that first step toward Christ. Therefore, to be justified by Christ means that the Lord declares you to be forgiven, untainted by the crimes you have committed against Him. In the book Steps to Christ, wea€™re told that a€?if you give yourself to Him and accept Him as your Savior, then sinful as your life may have been for His sake you are accounted righteousnessa€? (p. He smiles brightly and says, a€?Herea€™s your gift!a€? Thata€™s really exciting to you, so you walk out, get into your car (because you dona€™t want to look too eager), and open the envelope. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of lifea€? (emphasis added). The answer seems clear by what we have already read from Scripture, but leta€™s get more information from Jesus. If you want to understand the science of justification, the parable found in Luke 18 is one of the best ways to learn it. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
They trusted in their own righteousness while they looked down on others as worthless sinners.
The Pharisee was a part of a sect of Judaism known for its rigid stance of obeying the law, while tax collectors (publicans) were associated with a very loose and scandalous lifestyle. His feelings of guilt and shame cause him to bow his head and beat on his breast, a sign of repentancea€”a genuine display of his sorrow for sin. So according to Jesus, if we come to God humbling ourselves, truly repenting of our sinful deedsa€”confessing our sinfulnessa€”and pleading for His mercy, we will go home from the house of God justified. That means if you, whoever you are and with whatever sins you carry today, do what this publican did, you can rest assured that before God, Christa€™s character is accounted to you.
His response basically boils down to saying, a€?To hades with your request!a€? For Peter, it was outrageous to think that the gifts of God could be purchased for money.
This theology is not any different than what Simon tried to do, even though the Bible has such a severe response to those claiming they can pay for what God gives! How silly then would it be to give God money, or works, to obtain your salvation in light of the work Christ already did on your behalf? The story of the two thieves who died on crosses next to Jesus gives us a stirring picture of the extremities to which justification can reach.
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
Theya€™re both guilty of sedition against their government, perhaps even of murder, and to support their activities they stole. They also find themselves in the same helpless position, unable to do anything to save themselves from their suffering and death.
However, as the hours go by, apparently one of them begins to notice Christa€™s behavior and begins to rethink his attitude.
He says to the thief, a€?Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradisea€? (NKJV).
After all, if someone gives you an all-expense-paid vacation and you wona€™t even take their phone call a€¦ well, that would be really rude! It happens all the time: Some Christians need a different message than others to draw them close to Goda€™s will.
Paul responded to this by saying that people cana€™t earn salvation; rather, it comes as a free gift of God. When the tax collector repented and asked God for mercy, Jesus said he went home justified.
Would he have returned to the sins that put him in bondage before the moment Christ freely gave him forgiveness? The Bible is filled with apostles and prophets talking about how important good works are in this world.
Youa€™ve got a wagon called works, and you have a horse thata€™s called gracea€”a free gift from God. The person who wrote this passage in the Bible is the same person who wrote that we are saved by faith in Romans. He presents me to God in the spotless garments of which no thread was woven by any human agent. That woman lost three sons fighting for your freedom.a€? Then he said, a€?You see that house over there? If one of these describes you, I urge you to take a few moments and read through this short book. If you ask each individual in the church, youa€™re likely to get several answersa€”from faith to works, and some will even say both. You dig and dig through it, yet all you find in there is your regular paycheck that amounts to covering your regular hours. If so, it wasna€™t a gift, because anything ceases to be a gift if youa€™ve done something to earn it. Pharisees might have been considered the obvious choice for eternal life by most people of Jesusa€™ day, but Jesus had different ideas. As the power of the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and miracles occurred, Simon thought, Wow! Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven theea€? (Luke 18:21, 22). But for Lincoln the price was already paid in blood, and to take money for it would be an insult. Do you think offering money to God, who gave the life of His only Son, makes much sense at all? Neither one has anything to offer to secure their liberation from the cross on which they hang. Indeed, they both are witnesses to Christa€™s suffering, yet only one of them has a change of heart.


However, James is dealing with new converts who have come into the church believing that since theya€™re justified by faith, obedience doesna€™t really matter. Here are some good questions to ask ourselves: Did the publican know he was justified when he went home? We should readily acknowledge that the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts to give us the peace that God has heard our prayers.
If he did willingly return to the sins of his past, do you think he was a true believer on the cross?
When you do that, the wagon, good works, ensures that you have something to show for the end of your journey. How will the hosts of the universe and the people on earth know that you really are for Christ unless you have something to show for it?
All is of Christ and all the glory, honor and majesty are to be given to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the worlda€? (1 Selected Messages, 396).
I know it is, because I have been nauseated since listening to the president's summit last Thursday.If nothing else in this never-ending suffocation of American health care has been clear, the sham was transparent enough. That confusion and fear is completely unnecessary, and I believe what you find out in this study will be a tremendous blessing for you, giving you confidence to face the future God has in store for you and providing a reason for you to believe. If you can only take possession of something with a paymenta€”whether ita€™s money, a trade, or servicea€”even after the fact, ita€™s not really a gift. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. He also didna€™t say, a€?Lord, Ia€™m a sinner, but look at all the good things Ia€™ve done.a€? No, he simply asked for mercy. When I am in a room full of people who believe in righteousness by presumption, I talk about surrender and obedience. I have prayed about certain problems, agonizing over them, but then later felt a sudden peace flood my soul.
He came as a sinner to stand humbly before God, and now he goes home covered with Christa€™s righteousness. Ia€™m only asking because, to me, real justification can be witnessed by the attitude and behavior of the one who has been saved.
Youa€™ve got the horse, you can push, or you can just leave the wagon in the ditch, which symbolizes eternal damnation. Dona€™t let your lowly pride get in the way; rather, let God exalt you as His good and faithful servant by believing in His gospel. All that matters is what the Bible has to say about it, so thata€™s what wea€™re going to concentrate on. He goes on to thank God that hea€™s not like the worst sinners of the world, and more than that, he reminds God that he tithes and fasts regularly.
Nor did he make any demands like, a€?Lord, Ia€™m a sinner, now give me mercy.a€? It took faith for him to ask for Goda€™s mercy, because he has no tangible evidence that hea€™ll have it. So Simon offered them money, hoping that they could sell the power of the Holy Spirit to him. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradisea€? (vs. I suspect he heard someone talking about Jesusa€™ miracles, or perhaps he heard someone reading from Isaiah 53 or a messianic Psalm about the sufferings of the Messiah. When used in the sentence, it means Abrahama€™s works by faith were made manifest, that is, they gave evidence to his faith.
Ita€™s not a contradiction, but complementary teachings that form complete picture of justification.
Ita€™s that feeling that your prayer got through to God, and ita€™s all in His very capable hands.
But the bigger question is, will he behave differently now that he knows hea€™s been justified? Now imagine that you just cut the wagon loose and say, a€?Ia€™m just going to ride off to the Promised Land without the wagon.a€? It seems to me that wherever you end up, youa€™re going to have nothing.
We heard them mock their own bill by referring to it as a "prop." We watched as those who opposed the bill were insulted and shut off from discussion, and the end result was an immediate threat to "go along" with the 2,400 pages of lower- quality, higher-cost, more restrictive medical treatment or take it up at the polls in November.Do the progressives have no intellectual honesty left in them?
This is very, very important to understand, so I want to give you an illustration that makes it clearer.
We know that the Holy Spirit inspired both writers, and that both of these passages are Holy Scripture.
They know, as every American instinctively knows, this bill is not affordable to the citizens of this country, and they also know that it will reduce the availability and quality of health care for the majority of citizens.
It appears that, like spoiled children, these '60s leftovers care not about anything except their own power. But instead of thanking God for His goodness in humility, hea€™s thanking God for his resume as a point of pride.
We can know that this thief is going to be in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the saints. Sometimes you dona€™t feel like believing, and you need to pray that God will give you the courage and strength to believe in His Word. If we allow one-sixth of our economy to be taken over by what has essentially become a handful of "government gangsters" (Michael Barrone's term, not mine) we are in serious trouble. Move on to the important stuff.It's like a group who claims the sky is falling, using doctored data to "prove" it. Or in the case of global warming, government will force you to give it money, burden and tax industry with green regulation, and enjoy telling the rest of us what to do in perpetuity.As you read this, Democrats in Washington are planning a huge energy tax called cap-and-trade to "fight" climate change. The first of many, I'm sure, it will burden every citizen and business with higher costs of, literally, everything.Questions for the Tallahassee Democrat: Is what George Will says true? Did Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit admit there's been no warming in 15 years or that the earth was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period? Did the IPCC retract its assertion that Himalayan glaciers are melting?Then, why doesn't the Democrat report on it?
The state Senate last week approved a 294-percent increase in the state cigarette tax, and unless the House or Gov.
Crist rejects the plan, it will punish the very taxpayers the stimulus package purported to save.A A cigarette tax increase is a regressive tax hike on the state's low-income population during a devastating recession. Florida smokers' median household income is almost $10,000 less per year than that of Florida nonsmokers.


In some of the state's poorest counties, the cost of cigarettes will surpass 5 percent of household income.A Cigarette tax increases also have detrimental effects on nonsmokers by damaging the larger economy. Raising the price of a pack of cigarettes higher than those found in bordering states promises to not only repel out-of-state consumers but drive Florida citizens over the state border, where prices are lower. Retailers are justifiably clamoring to defeat the tax hike, because they see sales evaporating as customers buy their cigarettes in Georgia and Alabama, where a carton will cost almost $10 less. The price advantage that Florida's retailers enjoyed will go up in smoke if this tax hike happens.A Florida Senators are lauding the $1-per-pack hike as a victory for both balanced budgets and anti-smoking initiatives, but the reality is a cigarette tax increase cannot achieve both. Any drop among in-state cigarette purchases goes hand-in-hand with a reduction in tax revenues, leaving another gaping budget hole in the future. As growing numbers of Florida smokers buy their cigarettes somewhere else, revenue projections will not be met.
Between FY 2002 and FY 2007, state cigarette taxes were increased 57 times; 39 of those increases yielded revenues that fell short of predictions. In New Jersey, cigarette tax revenue actually declined after a tax hike there, with revenues falling 181 percent short of expectations. A study by the National Taxpayers Union found that, after 35 tobacco tax hikes between 2004 and 2006, 22 states followed up with other tax increases.For those of you keeping score at home, cigarette taxes are bad for smokers, nonsmokers, the poor, retailers, the government and anyone who cares about the state's economy. It appears the only people these tax hikes benefit are the misinformed, who will change their tune soon enough.The fact that any tax hikes are on the table is preposterous. Florida expects to receive a $13 billion infusion from the federal government as part of President Obama's stimulus package. We need a government that will encourage entrepreneurs and preserve property rights, thus allowing citizens to invest in America.A This is what has made America great a€” letting one choose his or her own destiny. But keeping people employed through government jobs at the taxpayers' expense will not stimulate the economy. Government should reduce jobs, just as the private sector does.A This brings me to ask why we, the citizens of Leon County and Tallahassee, are being hit with so many fees in these troubled times? Are citizens here obligated to furnish local-government employees with a better lifestyle by imposing fees while local businesses are hurting for sales? What's next?A The city and county should first look at the situation we have now, which is an ex-fire chief managing the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and a fire chief managing the Tallahassee Fire Department.
Taxpayers are covering the cost now, and taxpayers have always paid for fire protection through their property taxes.In the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s, property taxes paid for local government without the fees we are faced with today.
It appears that, like spoiled children, these '60s leftovers care not about anything except their own power. Did Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit admit there's been no warming in 15 years or that the earth was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period?
Did the IPCC retract its assertion that Himalayan glaciers are melting?Then, why doesn't the Democrat report on it?
Florida smokers' median household income is almost $10,000 less per year than that of Florida nonsmokers.
Florida expects to receive a $13 billion infusion from the federal government as part of President Obama's stimulus package.
But keeping people employed through government jobs at the taxpayers' expense will not stimulate the economy.
What's next?A The city and county should first look at the situation we have now, which is an ex-fire chief managing the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and a fire chief managing the Tallahassee Fire Department. If Nader hadn't drawn 90,000 Florida votes in 2000, the reasoning goes, a handful of his supporters might have closed their eyes, swallowed hard and voted for Al Gore a€” probably closing the 537-vote gap by which Bush carried the state.
A Imagine Clinton or Obama (maybe Clinton and Obama) versus McCain or Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee next fall. Once again, the Democrats will be the peace party while the Republicans defend their policies.
A It's probably too much to hope for, but the best-known leaders in both Florida political parties are being mentioned for vice president. Charlie Crist's well-timed endorsement of McCain raised his running-mate ratings in the GOP. Bill Nelson, having won four times in a state with 27 electoral votes, should be on the short list of either Democrat. They're affable and telegenic, but they have shown they can be tough, capable campaigners. On the other hand, gay-marriage proponents, who have pushed this issue in the courts and legislatures from Hawaii to Massachusetts, seem startled and offended when their cause runs into resistance.
Ulysses Grant's drinking, Abraham Lincoln supposedly joked that he would find out what kind of liquor Grant liked and send a case to each of his other generals. Well, Leon County has always had totally clean elections a€” zero defects in the recounts, readily certifiable results, relatively short lines, few if any complaints from candidates. Even in the post-presidential merriment of 2000, Ion Sancho's office stood out from the rest of Florida. So now Sancho is investigating allegations of drinking on primary night by some of his employees. Considering how well our elections have run, maybe he ought to find out what they were drinking and send a case to colleagues in some other counties.
With the interviews to begin in FSU's athletic-director search, did you know that the first FSU AD was a woman?
Montgomery entered Florida State College for Women, she found there was no provision for recreation for women students outside of a couple of tennis courts.
Some said it was not quite ladylike for women to take physical education and was a hazard to the health of women to take violent exercises. When FSCW became FSU and men were enrolled, a football team was organized, and of course a (male) coach was hired. Montgomery had a doctorate in physical education, and the coach had only a bachelor's degree, she still remained head of the department of physical education.



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