VIDEO The Nature of Degeneration

Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… —Romans 5:12

The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin, but that the nature of sin, namely, my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race through one man. But it also says that another Man took upon Himself the sin of the human race and put it away— an infinitely more profound revelation (see Hebrews 9:26). The nature of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realization which leads us to say, “I am my own god.” This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality or in improper immorality, but it always has a common basis— my claim to my right to myself. When our Lord faced either people with all the forces of evil in them, or people who were clean-living, moral, and upright, He paid no attention to the moral degradation of one, nor any attention to the moral attainment of the other. He looked at something we do not see, namely, the nature of man (see John 2:25).

Sin is something I am born with and cannot touch— only God touches sin through redemption. It is through the Cross of Christ that God redeemed the entire human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a person responsible for having the heredity of sin, and does not condemn anyone because of it. Condemnation comes when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so. From that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. “This is the condemnation [and the critical moment], that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…” (John 3:19).


If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything.  Shade of His Hand, 1200 L

The Doctrine of Imputation (Romans 5:12-17) – Dr. R. C. Sproul

Grieving and Grateful

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21

After my mom died, one of her fellow cancer patients approached me. “Your mom was so kind to me,” she said, sobbing. “I’m sorry she died  . . . instead of me.”

“My mom loved you,” I said. “We prayed God would let you see your boys grow up.” Holding her hands, I wept with her and asked God to help her grieve peacefully. I also thanked Him for her remission that allowed her to continue loving her husband and two growing children.

The Bible reveals the complexity of grief when Job lost almost everything, including all his children. Job grieved and “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20). With a heartbreaking and hopeful act of surrender and expression of gratitude, he declared, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). While Job would struggle mightily later through his grieving and God’s rebuilding of his life, in this moment he accepted and even rejoiced in His authority over the good and bad situations.

God understands the many ways we process and struggle with emotions. He invites us to grieve with honesty and vulnerability. Even when sorrow seems endless and unbearable, God affirms that He hasn’t and won’t change. With this promise, He comforts us and empowers us to be grateful for His presence.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced gratitude toward God while grieving a great loss? How has He revealed His presence when you felt alone or misunderstood in your grief?

Compassionate God, thank You for knowing me and carrying me through every step of my grieving process.

Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem: “May They Prosper Who Love You.”

In Isaiah 62, God calls us to intense, persistent prayer, especially on behalf of Jerusalem:

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6–7, NIV)

In the New Testament, Jesus related the parable of the unjust judge, whom a widow kept beseeching incessantly. Jesus concluded with this question:

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7, NIV)

Both these passages indicate that some themes are so important and urgent that they demand our prayers not only in the daytime, but through the night hours, as well. The restoration of Jerusalem is one of these themes.

The prophet Isaiah also described these “watchmen” as those “who call on the Lord.” The literal Hebrew meaning of the word translated “call” is interesting. It means “those who remind the Lord.” In modern Hebrew, it is the word for a secretary. One important task of a secretary is reminding the employer of the appointments recorded on his calendar. This provides practical insight into the way God wants us to pray for Jerusalem. As His “intercessor-secretaries,” we have two main responsibilities: first, to be familiar with His prophetic calendar; second, to remind Him of the appointments recorded in it. One such appointment is God’s end time commitment to restore Israel and to rebuild Jerusalem.

Prayer Response

Thank You, Lord, for the blessing You promise to those who love Israel. I proclaim that I will remind the Lord “till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” I pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” Amen.

Joy and Gladness

 I have spoken these things to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. — John 15:11

The Christian message is a message of joy. God gives us joy and gladness. The singing may sometimes switch to a minor key, but we still sing. Even though there are many sorrows in this world, the Gospel message still provides the most uplifting and joyful words found anywhere. Countless people have attested to this over the centuries, including those who were killed for the sake of its message.

William Tyndale, one of the very first translators of the Bible into English in the 1500s was persecuted and martyred. Nonetheless, he wrote in his Prologue to the New Testament these words: “Christianity is Good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance and leap for joy.”

A man who accepted Christ after a woman from our church shared the Gospel with him, told me of his great joy. “You certainly cannot know,” he said, “you cannot imagine the indescribable joy I have known for the last year since I came to know Christ. I never would have believed it.”

Joy is what Christ brings to the human heart. Christ is no cosmic killjoy, a wet blanket on the party of the world, as some people think He is. Rather, He is the source and fountain of all real joy.

Question to ponder: How is your joy linked to your faith?

From Self to God

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.Matthew 16:24

It is a distressing thing that a truth so beautiful [as justification by faith] should have been so perverted. But perversion is the price we pay for failure to emphasize the moral content of truth; it is the curse that follows rational orthodoxy when it has quenched or rejected the Spirit of Truth.

In asserting that faith in the gospel effects a change of life-motive from self to God I am but stating the sober facts.

Every man with moral intelligence must be aware of the curse that afflicts him inwardly; he must be conscious of the thing we call ego, by the Bible called flesh or self, but by whatever name called, a cruel master and a deadly foe. POM026

Affections that do not terminate on God, terminate on self. Men who do not “seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s,” seek their own. Inordinate self-love is the ruling passion of their hearts and the governing principle of their lives….The glory of God the Christian must seek. DTC141, 143

The Great Creator

Yahweh … who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it.Isaiah 42:5

The Bible never argues that there is a God; everywhere it assumes and asserts the fact. Majestically the opening verse of Scripture says: “In the beginning God …” Its paramount concern is not to persuade us that God is but to tell us who God is and what He does. This is why the first thing we see Him do in the Scriptures is to act creatively, to show His might and omnipotence.

I love the story about a group of researchers who set out to discover what really happened when the earth was created. They spent months gathering information and feeding data into a computer. Finally they hit the print-out key and waited. Soon a message appeared with these words: “See Genesis 1:1.”

Many think the only reference to God’s creative act is the one that appears in the first two chapters of Genesis, but this truth is woven inextricably into the very texture of both the Old and New Testaments. One example of this is found in our text for today. We cannot have a right conception of God or contemplate Him correctly unless we think of Him as being all-powerful. He who cannot do what He wills and pleases cannot be God. As God has a will to do good, so He has the necessary power to execute that will. Who can look upward to the midnight sky, behold its wonders, and not exclaim: “Of what were these mighty orbs formed?” A great and powerful God brought them into being simply by saying: “Let them be.” This kind of God can have my heart anytime.


Father, I sense that the more enlightened my understanding, the more my soul responds to that enlightenment with thanksgiving, adoration, and praise. Enlighten me still more, dear Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 14:8-15; Neh 9:5-6; Ps 102:25; Heb 11:3

What did Paul and Barnabas declare?

How do we understand that God formed the universe?

All Things Are Pure

To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled.Titus 1:15

Your heart’s condition will be expressed through your life. It will be evident by your attitudes, your words, and your behavior. Jesus said that you can clearly see others only when your own eyes are unobstructed (Mark 6:42). If your vision is hindered by sin, you will not look at others properly.

If your heart is pure, you will approach life without malice. You will not question the motives of everyone around you; you will not doubt the truth of everything others tell you; you will not look for fault in others. Instead, you will look for the good in others, finding what is praiseworthy. You will not be naive or gullible, but you will seek what is good rather than what is evil. If your heart is pure, you will see others the way God sees them (Matt. 6:22).

If your heart is defiled, everything with which you are involved will seem corrupt as well. You will assume evil motives in others because you know what you would do given the same circumstances. You will be cynical about what you hear because your own words are deceitful. You will be drawn to evil people and evil things.

How do you look at the words and actions of others? Are you critical of them? Are you judgmental? If so, ask God to purify your heart. Once He has, you will be free to see yourself and others as God does.