Aren’t you amazed with how God deals with us? Aren’t you awed by His mercy and long-suffering; His love and compassion?
Listen to this – taken from a book called “God’s Love Affair With the Guilty”, by Pastor Bill Lehman:
“In order to correctly understand guilt, we must understand the law, for sin is transgression of the law. It is sin that causes guilt, so the more we preach only the law, the more we feel guilty … (Romans 7:13 quoted)…“The stronger we preach the law, the stronger the guilt. Paul said that the commandments make sin appear ‘exceeding‘ sinful; therefore, the sinner will feel exceedingly guilty. Is that what we want to happen to people? We need to come to terms with a statement made many decades ago that, ‘as a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain.’ RH, March 11, 1890
Now-a-days we have gotten away from preaching much about sin or the law at all, but have we done it in the right way? Sin is sin, no matter if we talk about it or not. And we say more, sometimes, by what we don’t say than what we do. Let’s continue:
“… Directly following the above statement, however, is found the remedy for our dry preaching: ‘We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food for the famishing flock of God.’ … The people are starving for the real nourishment that is found in preaching Christ in the law. Do we preach Christ in the law today?
” Think about this new concept of preaching Christ in the law. What is the law like when Christ is put into it? We may also phrase it in reverse and say that when the law is put into Christ, the people will be nourished. In other words, if you preach Christ without the law, that preaching is dry, also.
“The law in Christ, or Christ in the law, is described by Jesus when He said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ Matt. 22:37-40. I believe this is what Christ is saying happens to the law when He is put into it. If this is the law, as Christ has taught it, then obedience to the law is supreme love for God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. That is genuine righteousness, or obedience. It is supreme love for God and loving our fellow men as ourselves. Along with what Christ said, we may also bring in a text by Paul that reads, ‘Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Rom. 13:10.
“Love always does good to its neighbor, and therefore it accomplishes the law. If obedience is supreme love for God and unselfish love for our fellow men, then what is transgression? … It’s vastly different than we have been thinking for years. Transgression or disobedience is an unloving attitude towards God or towards our fellow men. That is much different, and we’ll amplify this as we go along. Now, if an unloving attitude towards another person is transgression of the law, what is true guilt? Do you see it? Genuine guilt comes only from violation of the law of love. True guilt causes ill feelings because we have wronged someone. It isn’t because we lied to that person. It isn’t the lie that is so bad; it’s our attitude towards that person — our treatment of him or her. If we’re experiencing true guilt, we don’t say, ‘Lord, forgive me because I lied.’ Instead, we say, ‘Lord, forgive me because I hurt a person I should have loved.’ But in our attempt for perfection, we always put it the other way, thinking that if we could just abstain from lying we would be qualified to go to heaven. We say, ‘Lord, make me flawlessly perfect so I never lie.’ No. ‘… Make me loving so I never want to lie.'” God’s Love Affair With the Guilty, Bill Lehman, pg. 99,100
Isn’t that powerful? Doesn’t that take righteousness right down to the root of our being? Doesn’t it get right to the root of sin and the heart of the whole matter?
What is truly in our hearts? Love? or a lack of love? It intrigues me that in 1 John 2, when John talks about hating our brother, the word “hate” actually means to love less. That understanding really makes this hit home, for me, and I continually come back to what Ty Gibson said when he was at Campmeeting a few years ago: “You can only love God as much as the person you love the least.”
Shouldn’t we be praying for hearts filled with love for God and others? Shouldn’t that be our focus as we study for ourselves? Isn’t that why God promises to take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh? Shouldn’t these things be the “bread” we bring to the people week by week that will nourish their souls?
I want to highly recommend the book “God’s Love Affair With the Guilty” by Bill Lehman (buy it here: http://www.inverity.org/product/gods-love-affair-with-the-guility/, or listen to it, here: https://pastorbilllehman.org/audio-sermons/blessed-are-the-guilty/). This man had an amazing understanding of the message of Christ our Righteousness, and Who God is. He brings salvation and sanctification down to the nuts and bolts of life, with real solutions to today’s problems, and if you absorb what God says through him, I guarantee it will be a huge boost to your ministry.
May your love increase immeasurably this week! I’m praying for you!
By Erna McCann