God thinks about you…a lot. How do we know this is true?
Just look up, then look down.
We now know that there are at least 2 trillion galaxies without our known universe, each with an average of 200-400 billion stars. And you are just one of almost 8 billion people on a little rock rotating around a spark that is just one of those 200-400 billion stars in our galaxy.
This information might make you feel small and insignificant IF you had no hope in God or knowledge of His word. And yet, here is what God’s word says about those 2 trillion times 200-400 billion stars:
“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” (Psalm 147:7)
Now, look down and consider the number of grains of sand you could hold in your hand. Then think of how many handfuls of sand there are at a beach. Then think of the number of beaches on earth. Then think of what God’s word says about those grains of sand:
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…” (Psalm 139:17-18)
Why is what God’s word says about stars and sand significant? Because the number of grains of sand on earth is similar to the number of stars in our observable universe! And yet, God thinks about YOU more than the number of grains of sand on earth, more than the number of stars in our universe, even more than all the aspects of all creation combined—and His thoughts towards you are good!
He loves you! He can take you from a small, insignificant speck of dust to a co-heir with Christ—no matter who you are or what you’ve done. God loves YOU so much that He died on a Roman cross to rescue you—to pay your price for you—so that you can be elevated from a slave to sin to a saved, sealed, redeemed, and reconciled co-heir with Christ. Call out to Him today—He is willing and wanting to save!!
This past Sunday, we paused our study in Romans, but continued the theme we considered at the end of Romans 5—the thimble of our sin compared to the ocean of God’s grace.
We see this illustrated in the short letter to Philemon, which the Apostle Paul wrote to Philemon regarding his runaway slave Onesimus. Though seen as small, insignificant, and worthless in the eyes of society, God would esteem and elevate Onesimus to the highest position that anyone in creation could ever hold—co-heir with Christ!
God wants to do the same for you. He thinks about you more than the number of grains of sand on earth, more than the stars in our universe, and more than all aspects of all creation combined! His thought towards you are good.
This is what the letter to Philemon is about. You are NOT worthless. You are loved by God, who invites YOU to be transformed from His creation to one of His children. Watch our study from Sunday and marvel at the marvelous grace of Jesus.
Consider the great lengths God went to in order to express His love for humanity. He showed this love in a tangible way—“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In 2 Corinthians, we read that “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin so that in Him we might become the very righteousness of God.” (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)
That’s an important reality to realize. Jesus didn’t just pay the debt of your sin and zeroed out your balance. He didn’t just credit your account His righteousness. No, He went even further—He made you INTO the very righteousness of God itself.
So if you are in Christ—be who you are!
In Christ, you are no longer a daughter or a son of Adam—you are now daughter or a son of God.
In Christ, you are no longer a sister or a brother of Cain and Abel—you are now a sister or a brother of Jesus.
In Christ, you are no longer a subject of the reign of sin and death through sin that came as a result of Adam’s disobedience—you are now a citizen of the reign of grace through righteousness to eternal life through Him.
In Christ, you are made into the very righteousness of God in Him!
Be who you are—in all places and at all times. And should you forget who you are—should you drift back to being a son or daughter of Adam and revisit the reign of sin and death—remember that God’s grace is greater than your sin. All of your sin collected and contained would only fill a thimble compared to the ocean of God’s grace.
In Romans 5, Paul writes about two different men—Adam and Jesus. Each of these men did something that had lasting effects on everyone who came after them. Adam’s act of disobedience caused a reign of death and sin—a reign that all of mankind has lived through. But Jesus’ act of obedience caused a reign of grace through righteousness to eternal life through Him!
Paul wanted us to know that although we were born into the reign of sin and death, we can be born into Jesus’ reign of grace. His one act of obedience resulted in a gift of righteousness which will allow anyone who has been born again into His family to reign in life and grace!
Watch the replay of our study in Romans 5:12-21 as we considered this portion of scripture and see once again how God’s grace is greater than our sin.
While we were at our worst, Christ died for us. While we were still sinners, God demonstrated His own love toward us. While we were unworthy in every way, God give us His one and only Son. Not only His Son, but peace, access to Him, hope, love, and His Holy Spirit. When we were at our absolute worst, God showed us how much He loves us by giving us all of this.
Think this through: God gave us all of this to us when we were the most ungodly, unworthy, and unrighteous. What Jesus did was so much more than paying your debt and crediting your account. Jesus not only gave you His righteousness, He had made you into the very righteousness of God.
How much more do you think He will do now that we have been made righteous—His righteousness? If He has given us such peace, hope, and love while we were His enemies, how much more will He give now that He has made us into His friends—His children?
His grace is truly amazing!
Do you remember your identity before you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ? You were anxious, alone, lost, and rejected.
But then, something happened once you met Jesus and yielded to Him. You were no longer afraid, but had a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. You were no longer alone, but a friend of God. You once were lost, but now are found. In Christ, you have been accepted and restored.
In the passage we considered this past Sunday, the Apostle Paul points out these disparities—the difference between a life without the hope of the gospel, and a life that’s forever changed by Jesus.
On one side, there are words like without strength, ungodly, sinners, and enemies. And on the other side are words like love, justified, saved, reconciled, and life.
Paul wants everyone to know that Jesus is willing and wanting to take anyone from a place of weakness to a place of life, love, and strong consolation. Watch our study from Romans 5:6-11 and learn about the reconciliation that Jesus offers to all of us.
In Romans 5, we discover the gifts that Jesus is eager to give those who place their faith in Him: peace with God and access to God. These are essential to remember when circumstances tempt us to think that God is against us.
Paul knew we would encounter suffering. But he also knew that suffering produces perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. This happens when we stand in the grace that God has given us and remember that God is for us, not against us. Trials, tribulations, difficulties, and bad days are NOT God being displeased with us or judging us. If you are in Christ, you have been justified—God sees you as sinless!
So the next time the devil reminds you of your past, stand firm in the grace of God and remind him of his future.
The next time the accuser reminds you of your sin and says, “Who said you could go to God?” remind Him that Jesus has justified you and has given you peace with God AND to God—then go to God and receive grace and mercy.
The next time you endure a trial or difficulty and Satan tempts you to think that it’s because God is mad at you, remember that nothing in all of creation could separate you from the love of God.
God is using suffering to produce in you the priceless qualities of perseverance and endurance, which will produce strength of character structural moral integrity, which will eventually produce hope.
So stand, dear friend—not on your own two feet, your own merit, or your own strength. Stand firm in the grace God has given you!
So far in the Book of Romans, Paul has provided the ordered and logical argument that the only way of salvation is to be justified by grace through faith.
In the fifth chapter, we learn about the practical benefits of this justification, beginning with this incredible truth: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1)
Through Jesus and Jesus alone, we have peace with God. But it gets better! We also have access to God: “…through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…” (Romans 5:2)
Through faith in Christ, we have peace with God AND access God’s throne of grace—where we will receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need!
This grace truly is amazing! Watch our study from Romans 5:1-5 as we opened up the word of God to read, hear, trust, and obey.
Jesus loves Thomas and Mary and John—the three people we meet in John 21 who encountered Jesus in real and tangible ways. Jesus met them right where they were at. They all saw and believed.
And yet, Jesus loves you as much as He loves them. He says Himself that there is a special blessing for those who have not seen and yet still believe. He freely gives a special blessing—a gift of faith—for those who have not seen, but who have heard God’s word. And that’s because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
We have the blessing to open the Bible week after week together, and day after day with Him to read the things that were written so that we can have the hope of resurrection and the help to find faith in Him.
In the pages of the Bible, we encounter the One who can forgive us, the One who loves us, the One who tells us the truth, and the One who gives us purpose.
These things have been written…”that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)
On Good Friday, we consider Jesus. We consider Him, who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself so that we won’t grow weary and give up. For the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross so that we could enjoy unhindered fellowship with Him forever!
As Jesus approached Jerusalem the week leading up to His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, He wept. Not for the horrors that He would encounter that week. No, the Prince of Peace saw the city of peace and was overwhelmed with sorrow because they did not have peace with God.
Though the multitude cried “Hosanna!” that day, a few days later they would cry “Crucify!” and fail to recognize that God had come to them to give them peace. Because of that rejection, destruction came when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem.
Have you recognized Jesus coming to you to seek and to save that which was lost? One day, we will all have to stand before God alone. He will inspect your heart to see if you have peace with God.
If you don’t know the things that make for your peace and haven’t received Jesus, the coming destruction will be eternal—eternal separation from God. But it doesn’t have to be that way! This is why Jesus came—to save you from destruction.
You can ask Jesus today—right now—to forgive you of your sins, to fill you with His Spirit, and to make you a brand new creation in Christ. Cry out to Him and He will save you! Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as the Lord of your life.
For the last several weeks, we have been studying “the things that make for our peace” in our study of the book of Romans.
This past Sunday, we met some people who refused to recognize “the things that make for their peace,” which would eventually lead to destruction that didn’t have to happen.
This caused the heart of Jesus to be broken as He wept over the city of Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday.
Watch our study from this past Sunday as we considered Jesus’ emotional entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19:28-44.
God not only gave life to the dead, He continues to give life to the dead.
This is the gospel.
God did not come to make bad men good. God came to give dead men life. He came to give life to those who were dead in their sins and transgressions.
We see God giving life illustrated through the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, even though their bodies where as good as dead (see Hebrews 11:11-13).
But this was not written just for Abraham and Sarah. The promise of life to the dead is was not just for them, but for us too—so that we would understand and believe that no matter how dead we are spiritually because of our sin and our transgression, God CAN and DOES and WANTS to GIVE LIFE to the DEAD.
Do you believe in Him? Do you believe Jesus was raised up from the dead? Do you believe Him who was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification?
That’s what it takes to receive God’s righteousness, redemption, and salvation—belief. There is nothing we can to do to earn God’s righteousness. There is nothing we can do to merit His favor. There is no amount of work we can accomplish to gain what He wants to freely give through faith.
His full and complete acceptance is possible by just simply believing and receiving it by faith as a gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
As we continue our study in the book of Romans, we are learning that God’s righteousness, redemption, and salvation is received by trusting, not by trying. In fact, all of God’s gifts are received by simply and merely trusting and believing, not by trying harder.
The futility of trying harder versus trusting God was something the Apostle Paul understood. Before Paul met Jesus, he endeavored to earn right standing with God through his own good works, religious rites, and religious rules. But once he encountered Christ, Paul realized that salvation comes by simply and merely believing God and receiving from God by faith.
This is the theme Paul has been emphasizing so far in the book of Romans. Watch our study from Romans 4:9-25 as we continued our study of God’s amazing grace.
John Phillips said, “Under a system of works, everything depends on the sinner. Under grace everything depends on the Savior. Under the first, God gives a fair trial. But under the second God gives a free pardon.” Either everything depends on you & your works, or everything depends on God & His grace.
We explored God's amazing grace as we continued our study of the Apostle Paul's layered, ordered, and logical argument for God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense—given freely to anyone and everyone who simply and merely believes.
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Apart from Jesus Christ, Abraham is the most famous and widely known person mentioned in the Bible. He is given so much literary real estate throughout the scriptures—not just his life, but his faith in God.
In fact, faith is the word that is most often associated with Abraham. It’s the very quality that is necessary to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It was the faith the Abraham obtained and implemented so much by him that he would be called God’s friend on three different occasions.
But here’s the interesting thing about Abraham—there was nothing extraordinary about him. Even though Abraham was and is so highly regarded by so many, there was nothing uniquely special about him, as compared to others in scripture, like Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, or Ezekiel. It’s his ordinariness that makes the life of faith accessible to everyone. He simply and merely believed God—and his belief was accounted to him as righteousness. It was this belief that gave him an everlasting hope–a hope that is an anchor for the soul.
That faith and hope is accessible to us—right now! You may never be a great lawgiver like Moses, a smart military leader like Joshua, a brilliant king and psalmist like David, an incredible statesmen like Daniel, or one of the greatest prophets like Elijah—but you can be a person a faith like Abraham.
You see, Abraham was just a man—and God met with him right where he was at. Not only that, God gave him His word and a covenant to conform His word. It was by these two immutable, unchanging, and eternal things that Abraham had every opportunity to believe in God and to believe God.
We too have God’s word and His covenant so that we can believe Him. Like Abraham, the covenant God has made it one-sided. We have no contribution in it—only the opportunity to believe God.
As the Apostle Paul continues his ordered and logical argument for God’s grace in his letter to the Romans, he looks back in history for an example of righteousness to which he can point. In his search, he looks beyond the prophets, beyond the kings of Israel and Judah, and beyond Moses. He finds the example he’s looking for in Abraham—the father of the faith.
It's faith, Paul tells us, that is the means through which we are justified. It's not by our works we are saved, or anything we can earn, but a gift of God that is received by faith (Ephesians 2:8). We see this faith that justifies throughout the life of Abraham. Just like the covenant that God made with Abraham, we have no contribution in the covenant He made with us through His son—we only have the opportunity to believe.
Watch our study from Romans 4:1-3 as we considered the faith of Abraham and the righteousness God credited to him—and credits to us—through belief.
The solution to the greatest quandary in all of history is found in Romans 3. How could God be a loving Heavenly Father and an absolutely righteous Judge at the same time? We are absolutely sunk unless God can solve this. And He did! Only in Jesus could God be absolutely just AND the justifier of those who have faith in Him.
Think of it this way: one day, an absolutely just judge has his son on the docket. His son is guilty and his punishment is a $50,000 fine or 5 years in jail.
This judge has a reputation of being a just judge who gives everyone a fair trial. But for those who were guilty, he would deliver the maximum sentence allowable by law. Do you see the quandary? If he threw the book at his son, he would violate his character as a loving father. But if he was lenient in his judgment toward his son, he would violate his character as a righteous judge.
The judge calls a recess to think things over. Everyone is wondering how will he solve this seemingly unsolvable situation. Once seated, he looks at his son, lifts his gavel, and delivers his verdict: “Guilty. Maximum sentence allowable by law.”
But then the judge stands, removes his judicial robe, steps down from the judicial bench, walks over to the bailiff, and writes out a check for the full amount. He pays the full penalty himself and solves the quandary of being absolutely just and the justifier.
This is what God did for us in and through Jesus—and so, so much more! He took off His royal robe, stepped down from His throne, lived an absolutely righteous life, and then died an absolutely horrible death in order to pay our penalty the maximum penalty allowable by His law in full. In doing so, God showed Himself to be an absolutely righteous judge AND a Father who forgives and paid our penalty Himself.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends