What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,
"There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one.” "Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving," "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness"; "Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known.” "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
"Sheep are dumb and directionless and defenseless. So I guess when God says that we are sheep who need a shepherd, he doesn’t mean it as a compliment to us. It is just a very realistic assessment of who we are and what we need. We are sheep who are completely dependent upon a shepherd.”
You will save whom You will save We’re the lost and helpless ones The rebels and the renegades Who spurned Your holy love You will save whom You will save Mercy will be magnified Everyone has gone astray And followed after lies But You have loved us and opened our eyes
It’s Your grace From beginning to the end It’s Your grace We will never comprehend Why You drew the ones who ran from You What can we do but offer You praise?
You will save whom You will save We were captive to our wills And if our hearts had not been changed We’d flee Your mercy still You will save whom You will save Who can question what You do? You’re the potter, we’re the clay You can make us as You choose And there is no one who boasts before You
You will save whom You will save Yet the promised hope remains You will rescue anyone Who calls upon Your name You will save whom You will save Faithful love won’t be denied Christ has overcome the grave And for our sins He died And when He comes back His glory will shine
“No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I do,
And yet none abuses it more than I have done, and still do.
How heartless and dull I am!
Humble me in the dust for not loving thee more.”—"Amazing Grace", Valley of Vision.
O great God of highest heaven Occupy my lowly heart Own it all and reign supreme Conquer every rebel power Let no vice or sin remain That resists Your holy war You have loved and purchased me Make me Yours forevermore
I was blinded by my sin Had no ears to hear Your voice Did not know Your love within Had no taste for heaven’s joys Then Your Spirit gave me life Opened up Your Word to me Through the gospel of Your Son Gave me endless hope and peace
Help me now to live a life That’s dependent on Your grace Keep my heart and guard my soul From the evils that I face You are worthy to be praised With my every thought and deed O great God of highest heaven Glorify Your Name through me
Ever since I could remember, my family raised me on Christian values. From the very beginning my parents taught me that there was only one God and that anyone that said otherwise was wrong. And even though that was what I was taught to believe, I never applied that in my own heart and saw it as just a religion.
I considered going to church to be a normal routine. I remember waiting impatiently for the day to be over so I can go home and take my Sunday nap. Since I knew that there was a God and that He did not like disobedience, I tried my best to be on my best behavior at all times whether it be at school or at church. I felt that I was safe from God’s wrath because I considered myself to be a good girl and not as bad as the other kids my age.
Once high school and college hit, the motive for my behavior changed from not wanting to be punished to wanting to please others. I was very socially awkward and I felt the best way for me to make friends is to be like my friends. At church, I wanted to be just like my ate’s and my kuya’s and that drove me to join their weekly Bible studies. And this is where I began to practice a lot of lying. I became very deceitful. In order to feel accepted, to feel “cool”, and to save face at my church, I lied a lot about myself. I would be complimented for being studious of God’s word, for attending Bible studies, for being a youth leader, and for knowing a lot ABOUT God and I would enjoy all of these compliments. But in reality, I did all of that to keep up with my friends, to hide the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, and to make sure no one knew that I wasn’t saved. In fact, when people would ask me my testimony at the time, I would lie about it because I knew that outside of church I was a completely different person. I pursued what I thought were the true joys in my life. And I thought I was still safe because I still had the mindset of “well, at least I’m not doing drugs or drinking alcohol or causing chaos in the world”. Little did I know that the desires within my own heart were just as bad because they were completely off from what God desired. A majority of my high school/college life was revolved around being in and out of relationships that were not godly which further blinded me to the reality of my sin.
One day, I was invited by my cousin from church to go to a conference called Resolved. I thought, “Cool! An opportunity in the summer to hang out with them and have fun. And an opportunity for me to learn more about God… so that I could keep up with what everyone else knew”. The theme of this conference was Jesus Christ and I came in with the mindset that I already knew who Jesus Christ was.
But with each sermon, the Lord graciously opened my heart and my mind to His truth and I began to comprehend the gospel in its entirety. The holiness of God was emphasized so greatly that in turn it revealed the greatness of how sinful I am. The reality is that there is no good behavior or good deed that I could perform to win His favor. And there was also no amount of knowledge of God that I could build up to save myself. Romans 6:23 became real to me, that the wages of my sin was death. Eternal separation from God in hell. And this conference drilled into me that Jesus Christ was not just someone that I should know because someone told me to. But that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, who lived a perfect life in obedience to God. And through His death and resurrection, I am able to be forgiven of my sins. I am found justified before God because Christ took the death penalty that I deserve. The joy of Romans 3:24-26 became a reality to me that I am “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”.
God revealing this to me out of His loving mercy led me to repent of my sin and proclaim Jesus Christ Lord of my life.
From that point, my perspective on how I lived my life changed and I had a genuine desire for His word. The desire drove me to find so much joy in serving Him and obeying Him to the best of my ability. So now I no longer live to please others, but to glorify God and my Savior Jesus Christ. Of course, I’m not perfect, and I still fall short of His standards. It is only by His grace that I am making progress. To this day it’s incredible to think about God’s faithfulness and love for me. I was incredibly stubborn and prideful, yet God was gracious to save me. I find so much joy in this assurance of salvation, that in obedience to His word, it has led me to this day. My baptism is an outward symbol of what God has already done within my heart. That my identity is now found in Christ. My prayer is that you may be encouraged by what He has done in my life and that those who do not know Him, may come to know Him.
Praise God for His grace and the redeeming work through His Son Jesus Christ.
"What God would have us do in a given situation becomes increasingly straightforward the more we know him, and the way we know him is through the Word. Immersing ourselves in the Word is to immerse ourselves in the character of God.
"Sometimes, despite regular attendance on the Word of God and prayer, we still aren’t sure what to do. Could it be that we really don’t want to know? Maybe we are finding significant joy in something—a friendship, a pursuit, a pastime—and we sense that if we look too closely, we might find that God’s glory and our walk with him is diminished because of it. At some level, we know it isn’t God’s best. "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin" (James 4:17). A real test is whether we are heeding wise council or arguing against it. It is almost sure that if we spurn the wisdom of godly people and go after what we want, it will not end well.
"Wisdom is recognizing worldly joy as folly, turning from it, and walking straight ahead…we will find real joy only in paths of wisdom." —Lydia Brownback, Joy: A godly woman’s adornment
Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead. —Proverbs 15:21
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. —Proverbs 14:12
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. —Colossians 1:9-10
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. —Ephesians 5:15-17
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. —James 1:5-8
Thought: It’s possible to admire humility while remaining proud ourselves.
There must be purposeful application of truth.
In every step of our Christian growth and maturity, and throughout every aspect of our Christian obedience and service, our greatest foe is pride and our greatest ally is humility. —John Stott
REFLECT ON THE WONDER OF THE CROSS
“Fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin.” - John Owen
“How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?” -Don Carson
When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of Glory died, My richest gain I count but loss And pour contempt on all my pride.
BEGIN YOUR DAY ACKNOWLEDGING YOUR NEED FOR GOD
Speak truth to myself instead of listening to myself.
Speaking truth to myself will declare war on pride and set the right tone for the day. Mentally affirms dependence upon God and my need for Him.
BEGIN YOUR DAY EXPRESSING GRATITUDE TO GOD
“Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.” -Michael Ramsey
Ungrateful = proud = arrogant = Proverbs 3:34
Whatever grace we receive from God is so much more than we’re worthy of. Indescribably better than the hell we all deserve.
PRACTICE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES
Prayer. Studying God’s Word. Worship.
A daily demonstration and declaration of our dependence on God and our need for Him. A step to weaken pride and strengthen humility.
SEIZE YOUR COMMUTE
William Wilberforce = an evangelical statesman in the 19th century. Responsible for the end of England’s participation in the slave trade. Used his one-mile walk to and from Parliament to memorize and meditate on Psalm 119. Example of speaking truth to self, and not listening to self.
Seize your commute time or other “mundane moments” as a means of grace to allow Scripture to transform your thinking.
CASTING YOUR CARES UPON HIM
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
Grace will be given to make us care free, not responsibility free, but care free. Characterized by joy & peace.
STAYING CHARGED UP
Maintain a prayerful attitude throughout the day.
God doesn’t go anywhere. Still sovereign, good, and faithful. In the middle of the day, the issue isn’t God. It’s my pride that resists trusting/depending on Him.
All cares coming my way = provided by God specifically for the purpose of cultivating humility.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And left steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4 (ESV)
“What is legalism? Well, legalism is to do something with a view to obtaining merit. It’s not legalism to obey the word of God. That’s obedience. That’s grace. Because we know we don’t obey it apart from the grace of God, but we respond to the commands of God in obedience counting upon the power of God to enable us to do them. That’s not legalism, that’s obedience.”—Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, “The Local Church: Its Priesthood”
“But you know, if you really believed that the Bible is sufficient for the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Eschatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but when it comes to the organization of the local church you can just be perfectly free to have any kind of organization and government you like, does not that raise the question of the sufficiency of Scripture? I think it does. It seems to me that if the Bible is sufficient for our individual life and for our collective life, that we may therefore expect it to be sufficient for our church life. And I think it is. I think the things that we are to do in the local church are things that are set forth for us in holy Scripture. The principles that are found here are principles that we should follow in our churches.”—Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, “The Nature of the Church”