Monday, February 27, 2012

Satisfied by Righteousness

We are so satisfied by entertainment, by food and drink, and everything that the world has to offer us, we do not notice how unsatisfied we truly are. There is a rock in the wilderness from which water flows to the weary; there is a well with water that will make us never thirst again; there is a river of life flowing from heaven to the souls of men. Christ is that rock, he is that well, he is that river. He is mana from heaven; he is the bread of life; our food is the will of the Father.

Matthew 5 tells us to hunger and thirst for righteousness. In simple terms, that means don’t be satisfied by anything that is not righteous. What is righteousness? It is to be aligned with God’s plan, his perfect will. We cannot be aligned with God’s perfect will because we can never live up to God’s perfect law. So the Gospel, the Good News, is that we are not perfect; in fact, we are evil, unable to attain righteousness by our own merit. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much good we do, we will never measure up to God’s requirements for perfection. How is that Good News? Because we cannot gain righteousness on our own and because God loves us tremendously, He chose not to punish us for our imperfection, but rather sent Christ to take on the punishment.  1 John 2:1b-2  We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

So now what do we do? We’ve been on death row, and all the sudden the gates to all the cells are opened. We can either stay in the cell and receive our punishment, or we can leave the prison as free people and live a changed life. Our debt has been paid, our sentence is lifted. Is there anything more amazing than that? Yes. God is not done yet. Ephesians 3:11-12 says He has this ”eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
So before, we were so bad, so unworthy we could not be in God’s presence because he just could not be around sin. And now, we are justified. We are righteous in God’s sight and we can approach him, anytime night or day, and talk to him freely and confidently. Imagine being a death row inmate, and the President sends his son to die in your place and tells you, “You are free to go. I will make sure you have your needs taken care of, and not only that, but you can come talk to me anytime you want. If you want to chat, or whatever, I am at your disposal.” That is just not real, it’s crazy. And that metaphor does not even scratch the surface. God offers so much more than that.

So we were unrighteous and condemned. Christ was perfect and blameless. He takes our sin, and gives us his perfection. We are justified in God’s sight, and have constant access to him. Now what?

We don’t stay the same, that’s for sure. This is the epitome of the cliche, “life-changing” and if you receive salvation it will change your life. Every time. You get this glimpse of holiness, a sneak peek at God’s grace, and you will say to yourself “I want that.” I promise you.

In this busy, confusing world, we always want something to do. And there are so many practical ways to use this. So many things this beautiful truth can inspire us to do. But that’s not the point right now. The point is to take a moment, and just sit down, shut up and be in awe of God. Take 5 minutes, set an alarm. And don’t say anything. Don’t have music on. Turn the phone to silent. And just meditate on God, how great he is, and what he is like. Let his glory, his love, his grace, his power, his peace, and his righteousness wash over you. Be satisfied in God.