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May 2013

NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP

By John Carter

No one is perfect but the good news is that God knows all about you and loves you just the same.

Sin has messed us all up, one way or the other. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). The worst sin of all is religious pride, the sin of the religious pretender, the self-righteous Pharisee. We were all ruined in Adam thousands of years ago, but redeemed in Christ thousands of years ago. There are two words we need to think about: STANDING and STATE. People confuse them and go through life perplexed and depressed.

My state is what I am. It is never good because I am a sinner. I am weak, sinful, and slowly dying. Nothing I do is perfect. Are you kidding? Everything I touch is tainted by sin. So there is no room for boasting or looking down on others. I’m talking about ME. What about you?

Not only has sin messed up my state, it has devastated my standing with God. Because I have sinned, I am justly condemned by His righteous Law. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Romans 2:1-3).

As a sinner, I am judged “GUILTY.” Without grace, my standing with God is a broken relationship, a nasty divorce, a death sentence with no chance of a pardon. Without grace, it’s all over for me, the end of the line, a closed door, and no one to argue my case. It’s KAPUT!

BUT, there is GOOD NEWS. Get ready for it. It’s the best news you and I will ever hear. Here it is: Christ died for me and the moment I truly believe in Him, my standing with Him changes. BIG TIME. Once my standing with God was one of separation, alienation, and condemnation. But, when I come to Him in faith as a penitent, He declares I am “NOT GUILTY.” “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24). I am no longer condemned. My standing immediately becomes one of 100% acceptance. I am back in the family and peace floods my soul (Romans 5:1). Although my state may be woefully inadequate, in Christ I have a perfect standing. God looks on me as though I had never sinned. Amazing! What great, good news! Luther said, “A Christian is always a sinner, always a penitent, always right with God.” This means I have a perfect standing even though I have an imperfect state.

Then the Holy Spirit starts working on me, transforming, bit by bit, day by day, my state of brokenness. Slowly He repairs the old house with the rotting floorboards, broken windows, and peeling paint. He gives me sunshine for my shadow, and beauty for ashes.

He loves to take broken people and make them whole. You may feel unloved and rejected, but that is just your discouragement talking. Believe in Him, and you will see the Glory of God. Never, never, never give up, He has a plan for you.

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