Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 30, 2013 0 comments

When you come to a crossroads in your life where you have to make a big decision, how do you decide? Do you look only at what’s best for yourself? Do you look at how your choices would affect others?

A philosopher named Jeremy Bentham lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and he is credited for the theory called utilitarianism. In this theory, decisions we make or actions we take should be judged on if they attain the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He believed that the best decision is one that helps the most people, regardless of the negative consequences that could happen to some.

As an illustration of this, let’s say it’s dinner time and I need to choose between eating leftovers at home, or going out to a restaurant for fancy dinner. If I choose to eat leftovers at home, that helps me become nourished, and it cleans out my refrigerator a bit more. If I choose to go to a restaurant, I’m still nourished by the food, and it provides business for the restaurant, income for the owner, and income for the person serving me. But, I had to spend money that I wouldn’t have needed to spend if I ate at home. The good of helping the restaurant, owner, and waiter outweighs the good of me saving money and clearing out my refrigerator, so based on utilitarianism, I should eat dinner out every single night.

There are many passages in the Bible that tell us to do good to one another, such as Psalm 37:27, Proverbs 3:27, and Luke 6:35 just to name a few. But, we need to place more importance on doing what is good in God’s eyes than what is good in mankind’s eyes. We can only know what God sees as good through His wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)

At times, utilitarianism may line up with God’s wisdom, but at other times they may disagree. What will you choose in making your decisions - the worldly theory of utilitarianism, or God’s wisdom?

For further study on God’s wisdom, read Proverbs 2-4 and James 3:13-18.

Unity - It's Found In Weakness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 26, 2013 0 comments

I remember the first time I truly learned what unity is, or I should say what it is not. I played football for my local high school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and, to say the least, we weren’t very good. My school was essentially the “little brother” of the powerhouse school with which we shared a district. But regardless of our record, we had one motivational moment at the end of every practice. The whole team would come together, much like you see in football movies, and then raise our fists together, count to three, and shout, “Unity!” It made us feel like a team, like we were united in our goals. The problem was that unity wasn’t something we could just speak into existence. We had to live it, which proved to be nearly impossible. The more we lost, the more certain players found things to complain about regarding other players and even coaches. We still did our usual shout at the end of each practice out of ritual, but I often looked around the group and realized “unity” was just a word, not the character of our team.

As I’ve pondered the situation with my high school football team over the years since, I’ve come to realize that the problem was that we tried to have unity from some position of strength rather than our weakness. The fact that we were a bad football team could have brought us closer together and forced us to lean on one another more to help cover each other’s individual weaknesses. Instead, blame spread through the team like a cancer. The same is true with our country. We call ourselves the “United States”, and a popular slogan we have is, “United we stand, divided we fall”. However, think about the times when our country has shown the most unity. We banded together after the tragedy of 9/11/01. Natural disasters that we see and hear about every day have caused people to put aside their differences and help each other. But when things have returned to a state of normalcy and we have once again operated from our positions of strength, we have quickly gone back to fighting over political and economical differences.

The same thing happens in the church. Why do you think the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Rome to “not think of yourselves more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3)? He knew that the believers were still human beings who would compare themselves to each other and would be in danger of forgetting their common weakness. Friends, whether you call yourself a follower of Christ or not, I can say with 100% certainty that everyone who reads this post has one area of unity that I also share. As Paul says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. That means that no matter what you believe, no matter how strong or successful you are, and no matter how well you compare yourself to others, you have a weakness, and that weakness is called “sin”. This weakness unites everyone from the least to the greatest.

One of my favorite passages that I have used in past writings is Luke 17:11-19. You can read it for yourself to see how Jesus healed lepers and how the lepers responded to the gift they had received. For now, I just want to draw your attention to verses 11 and 12. “Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” What’s interesting about this is that Jews (Galilee) and Samaritans simply did not associate with one another. But because these men had the dreaded and contagious disease of leprosy, they were cast away from their own peoples and forced to stay near the borders of their regions. Guess what that meant? The horrible disease was the ONLY thing that could unify these men that despised each other because of their differences!

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that we must continue to dwell on our sins even after we have received new life in Christ as if we are not free. Paul even tells us that we may “boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). But that’s just it. Our boasting is not in our strength, but HIS. We have no reason to have disunity with other believers because it was our sin that initially unified us and now it’s the cross which unifies us as new creations in HIS church. You may get irritated by how one person’s specific weakness affects you, but never forget that he may be strong where you are weak. As fellow members of Christ’s church, you can both rejoice even in your weaknesses because you have unity by HIS strength. The cross has set you free from having to compare yourself to others, so why keep doing it? Accept and rejoice in your weakness, because like the song says, when we are weak, HE IS STRONG!


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 23, 2013 0 comments

When I worked for a large company in Detroit a few years back, one of the main themes throughout the whole company was diversity. Every single employee was required to take at least one diversity class every single year. It was stressed that we need to recognize and be ok with the differences that we have, whether that diversity is ethnicity, age, class, gender, etc.

While it is important to recognize the diversity in one another and how we were all created by God to be unique individuals, that seems to go against the strong theme of unity that we see in the Bible.

We see in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 that we are all diverse, yet we all need to be unified. In particular, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” Each person is like one diverse body part, but together we are unified to form one body.

In Galatians 3:28, it sounds like the apostle Paul is writing specifically against diversity when he writes, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We all know that we still do have different nationalities and different genders. Paul knows that it’s always easier to love someone who’s similar to yourself, so he’s encouraging us to love one another as if we didn’t have those differences.

Jesus himself prayed that we would live in unity with one another in John 17:20-21: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” The context of this passage is Jesus praying with His disciples, but the underlying principles here apply to us today as well. We know that Jesus and the Father are perfectly united together, and it is Jesus’ desire that we have that close of a relationship with Him as well.

In all of these verses, we see two types of unity - unity with God and unity with other people. We cannot have one of these unities without the other! If we are living in a unified relationship with God, then His love will flow through us and create unity with those around us. Because we live in a sin-filled world, we cannot live in unity with other without the love that comes only from God.

Are you living in unity with God and others, or are you solely focusing on the diversity? I challenge you to work on a unified relationship with God, so that you can live in unity with other people. Want to know how to pursue that relationship? Leave a comment on this blog post and we’ll chat about it.

Universalist - Denying God's Power

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 19, 2013 0 comments

I happen to be someone who likes animals. I’m fascinated by learning about their habits, their unique characteristics created by God, and how they survive by protecting themselves from harm and providing for their own needs. But recently, I was reading about a creature that I hope I never come across. The humpback anglerfish has to be one of the ugliest sea creatures I’ve ever seen. You can find a picture of it on Wikipedia if you’d like. The reason I was reading about it was because of its “aggressive mimicry”. It is designed to look like a harmless species, when it actually intends to devour anything that gets near it. If you look at the picture, you can see its wide mouth, which enables it to swallow smaller prey whole, and its long, sharp teeth, which allow it to tear apart something larger. It lures its prey by looking like a prey itself. In addition, some actually emit light from their heads to attract prey.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would be talking about something that would seem so despicable. Last week, I talked about the Apostle Paul’s final words before leaving this earth, in which he warns Timothy that a time will come when people will reject sound doctrine and listen to those who “say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). Well, earlier in the same letter, Paul gives a different descriptor for these people. He says that they will be “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (3:5). Essentially, he says that some of the people who will be living in such a way that rejects Christ might actually be seen in CHURCH! They might engage in rituals that seem to worship God, they might pray, and they might give to the needy. However, their apparent godliness is merely a “form”, and they deny its power in directing their lives. The “light” they are shining is merely to attract others to themselves for selfish gain, just like the humpback anglerfish.

Anyone who denies the power of godliness denies the power of God. Such a person says in effect that God’s Word cannot tell him how to live, even though he has the appearance of one who believes in it. Friends, one example of this type of person would be a Universalist. As Katie said in Monday’s post, Universalists are those who believe that all of mankind will eventually be saved. In other words, how they choose to live their lives is irrelevant. If you want to read more about the beliefs of this recognized denomination, you can go to www.newadvent.org/cathen/15181a.htm. I’ll give you some of their doctrinal principles that are according to that website. First, they say they believe in the Holy Scripture, and that it contains a “revelation of the character of God and of the duty, interest, and final destination of mankind”. Next, they believe in one God “who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness”. The website tells us that a later convention resulted in the denomination’s shortened view on essential principles, stating that they believe in the “trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a revelation from God” and also “the final harmony of all souls with God”. These core doctrinal beliefs seem on the surface to be free of contradiction, unless of course one actually looks at what the Bible has to say about the final destination of mankind.

I would encourage you to look deeper at what the Bible says about the place called “hell”, and also to look in the archives from August 2012 and see the posts Katie and I wrote on HELL. For now, I’ll just urge you to look at the very end of the Bible. Revelation 21 and 22 talk about the characteristics of “heaven”, the place where God dwells with those who followed Jesus as Lord. It then tells us that “outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (22:15). So clearly, if you believe in the “Holy Scripture” and the “trustworthiness of the Bible” as the Universalist denomination says that it does, a belief in the “final harmony of all souls WITH God” is contradictory when at least some will be OUTSIDE the place where he dwells!

I cannot say who is a Christian and who is not a Christian because, thankfully, I don’t have that right or that responsibility. There is one righteous and just Judge and I’m not him. In addition, having an inaccurate theological position does not automatically disqualify one from salvation. However, it is vitally important that anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ knows the truth of God’s Word, and allows God’s power to transform and dictate the course of his life. We cannot foolishly and selfishly believe that we can live in rebellion to God and still have harmony with him in the end. And if anyone who has the form of godliness teaches this, we must respond with loving truth and correction. Universalism sounds like something we’d all like to believe, but we must remain steadfast in the knowledge that those who reject God’s power and truth will be separate from him for all eternity, so that we are that much more motivated to do all we can to stop people from continuing on that path.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 16, 2013 4 comments

“Will I go to heaven?”

That is probably the most common question people ask regarding what’s after this world. And on the heels of that question, the next is, “How do I know for sure?”

Imagine a world where everyone will go to heaven, guaranteed. There is absolutely no question that all people everywhere and in all times will live in heaven with Jesus forever. Wouldn’t that be great?

Well, yes and no. Yes, assurance of salvation is a wonderful, priceless gift! But is a gift truly a gift if everyone receives it? What if it’s your birthday and you get the present you’ve always dreamed of - but so does everyone else who decided to show up at your party? Wouldn’t you feel less special if everyone received the same gift regardless?

God wants to give us the gift salvation. He truly does - to each and every person on earth! But He can’t give us that gift unless we believe that it is Him, and Him alone, who saves us.

Universalism is like everyone at your birthday party receiving your prized present. Universalists, who may or may not claim that title, believe that everyone will go to heaven. Period. No questions asked. No particular belief necessary. Are you a good person? You’re going to heaven! Are you a bad person? You can go too!

The Bible is very clear that although God desires that all will be saved, it will not happen that way. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 states:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

God desires that every single person come to know Him and have a relationship with Him. But, there is only one way to receive this gift: through Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Paul elaborates on that in Romans 1:16:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Universalism is the belief that all people will be saved. However, the Bible clearly gives us the truth - all people who believe will be saved! You can’t just show up at the party; it needs to be your birthday, and it’s your birthday every day when you believe in the precious gift of salvation through Jesus.

Unadulterated - No Lies, No Guesses, No Opinions

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 12, 2013 0 comments

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself, about some of my colleagues, and about humans in general over the last several years is that we don’t like to be without an answer. This is especially the case when we are in the position that we feel the answer is expected, whether that pressure is put on us by ourselves or by others. As I was traveling to the place I was the guest preacher this morning, I saw a sign on the side of a building just off the highway that read “Christ is the answer”. Almost immediately I was asking myself, “But what is the question”? Christ certainly is not the answer to every question in the world. However, he is the solution to our fleeting problems of this world, and he should be the answer to all questions related to the church, God’s Word, and our faith.

The difficulty that we face is that we love for things to be crystal clear, black and white. But not everything related to the church, His Word, and our faith is neatly packaged for us. So, what do we do when we need an answer and it’s not obvious? Well that, my friends, is the turning point when our faith either remains unadulterated or becomes impure. For some, the answers they do find in Scripture still are not obvious because they don’t seem to jive with what seems right to them, so they make up lies and declare them as truths. For others, the pressure to come up with answers forces them to guess based on limited knowledge or experience. And then there are those who simply value their own abilities to reason above seeking Christ, so they declare their opinions.

I believe that, to remain unadulterated, we must be willing to do away with lies, guesses, and opinions. We must be willing to accept that sometimes, there is no clear answer we can give others, except to encourage them to seek the Holy Spirit’s counsel through a relationship with Christ. Jesus Christ is the “Word that became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Even when things appear to be confusing in the written Word, the Holy Spirit is more than able to shed light on the truth. But, while there will be those times that an answer is not clear, there will also be times when all one has to do is search the Scriptures to find the truth. As believers, we must be knowledgeable in the Word so that we are prepared for questions. We must not leave this responsibility solely to “educated” teachers, for we never know when someone who is searching might approach one of us with a difficult situation looking for answers found in the written Word.

Speaking of the Word, one passage that has really been jumping out at me lately is found in 2 Timothy 4:1-5. You may not know this, but 2 Timothy is widely considered by scholars to be the final letter written by the Apostle Paul shortly before his execution in a Roman prison. There is certainly language to support that theory. “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:6-7). What is eye-opening for me is what Paul chose to talk about in his final words before leaving this earth. He could have chosen anything that would be important to the faith of Timothy and the church he would be entrusted to lead. But at the forefront of Paul’s mind was what he considered to be the most critical issue for the church of that time, and I think we can all agree it’s still the most critical issue today. He tells Timothy to “preach the Word”, to be “prepared in season and out of season”, and to do so “with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). He then explains that “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, (but) to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (v. 3).

Friends, we are certainly in such a time right now. One look at what is going on both in our culture and in our churches will tell you that. Many who call themselves Christians have even chosen to believe what their “itching ears want to hear” and have lost their faith in the truth found in the Word. The charge to Timothy is the same charge for us. Paul encourages him, and you, to “keep your head in all situations”, rather than turn away from the truth and toward “myths” as others will do (vv. 4-5). In other words, Paul’s charge to Timothy and to those of us who would come after him is to keep a faith that is unadulterated, not polluted by the myths we want to believe or the false teachings of others. I’ll say it again: For this to happen, we MUST know both the written Word and what it is like to be in relationship with the Word that became flesh. We must make sure we are neither the ones teaching lies, guesses, and opinions, nor the ones believing and perpetuating them. If we keep this charge, we will continue to proclaim the unadulterated truth to the world and will bring those that desire it to a relationship with Jesus.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 9, 2013 0 comments

When you saw the title for this blog, you may have the same question in your head as I did when I sat down to write it - “How does the word unadulterated connect with the Bible?” To help us on our quest to find out, I did what many people would do; I googled it. Google’s definition for unadulterated is, “not mixed or diluted with any different or extra elements; complete and absolute.”

Having that knowledge now, the question for today is this: Is your faith unadulterated? What I mean by that is, is your faith true to God’s Word and purpose, or does it have all sorts of other things mixed in with it? We should desire to have an unadulterated faith, not mixed in with anything that could corrupt it.

I grew up in a very traditional church, and there were many rituals that were followed. For example, the pastors always wore the traditional robes and such; the cloth decorations at the front of the worship area were the right color for the season; certain words were said during every service; etc. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things, where in the Bible does it say that during the summer (a.k.a. the Sundays after Epiphany) all of the cloths have to be green? Or where does it provide the wardrobe description for the person preaching the Word? It doesn’t. Those things are elements that were mixed in with my faith growing up, because of the tradition my family was a part of. Placing emphasis on these things rather than knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior could dilute a person’s faith.

However, there are many other, more harmful things that could cause a person’s faith to not be unadulterated. For example, I have had conversations with many people who believe that God created the world by using the process explained in the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is dangerous to mix with a faith in the Bible, because it gives an incomplete faith. If a person believes in evolution, then sin and death existed before humans did, then Adam and Eve did not commit the first sin, then the whole rest of the Bible’s story of redemption is unnecessary. This is why a true, unadulterated faith is vitally important.

If you claim to be a follower of Christ, take a look at your faith and the way you live out your life. Do you have an unadulterated faith, or have you subtly mixed in other things that are taking over? Are you focusing only on the unadulterated Word of God, or do you allow the teachings of the world to creep in and dilute your faith? I challenge you today to pursue a completely unadulterated faith - one that is not mixed or diluted with any different or extra elements, one that is placed completely and absolutely in Jesus Christ.

Undeserved - Mercy Despite Wickedness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 5, 2013 0 comments

A little over a month ago, I wrote about a story that made national news in 2006 and involved the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The word for that week was “shun” and I talked about how the community showed mercy, grace, love, and support to the surviving family members of a gunman who had killed five Amish girls and wounded others before turning the gun on himself. Rather than shun the family, as is common practice in the Amish community, they chose instead to reach out to those who were hurting just as they were. However, there were two sides to that coin. Their act of forgiveness was on display for the whole nation to see, yet some worried that such an attitude would cause people to deny the existence of evil. I can also remember the anger that some had over the fact that the gunman killed himself and didn’t have to face the law or man’s punishment. One guy even called into the radio station I was listening to and ranted about the gunman “getting off easy” and “not getting what was coming to him”.

Does that sound like an attitude you would have toward a deranged man that destroyed the lives and families of innocent children? Would seeing justice (according to YOU) happen in the situation give you greater peace or joy about the wickedness that was done? I’ll never forget John McCain’s words to the then-unknown terrorists who had committed the heinous acts of September 11, 2001. As I sat in my college dorm room later that afternoon listening to media coverage, Senator McCain said to those responsible, “May God have mercy on you, because we will not!” Other politicians have had similar responses to other acts of terrorism. I can remember some fellow believers saying that we need to pray for the salvation of men like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, but that was usually not the sentiment of the majority. It seems to me that all humans have an innate desire for justice and I believe that it comes from being made in the image of a just God. The problem is that sin has corrupted our understanding of what justice really is, so we only seem to push for it when it is in our best interest. There’s a man in the Bible who most of us probably learned about when we were children who wrestled with his own version of justice against God’s. In the Book of Jonah, the prophet is called by God to travel to the wicked city of Nineveh and preach against it (1:1). I remember hearing once that Nineveh would be equivalent to our modern-day Las Vegas, but there is no real evidence to suggest such a thing. It was a wicked city because it had a lot of people, and people are wicked! If you read, Katie’s post from Monday, you learned that ALL have sinned.

What made the call to Nineveh so displeasing to Jonah was the fact that it was the most important city in the nation of Assyria, which was a major enemy of Jonah’s native country of Israel at the time. The Assyrians had shown unimaginable cruelty to the Israelites over the years, and now God was asking Jonah to go and warn them about their wickedness and call them to repentance. Before you pick on Jonah for his actions, ask yourself if you’d jump at the chance to warn your hated enemy of God’s wrath ahead of time and make yourself look like a fool and maybe even a traitor in the eyes of your fellow countrymen. The Israelites knew they were God’s chosen people, so they always waited and assumed God would totally destroy their enemies and get revenge. Who would want to stop that? If I were Jonah, I’d probably try to escape as far away as possible like he did.

If you don’t know the story of Jonah, please go read it. After disobeying God and being so distraught about it that he just wants to die, he asks sailors on his boat to throw him overboard to calm the storm that God had caused. Reluctantly, they do so when there is no other hope in their situation. Jonah expects to die, but God provides a giant fish to swallow him whole and eventually vomit him back onto dry land (Jonah 1 and 2). While inside the fish, and likely covered in disgusting intestinal juices you and I can’t begin to imagine, he has a thankful and humble attitude as he rejoices that his life is spared and he has a second chance (see Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2). Once he’s back on land, he obeys God and goes to Nineveh, where his warning of God’s destruction results in nationwide repentance (Jonah 3). How would you feel if you were Jonah? What if God called you to warn your enemy or our nation’s enemy about his wrath with the hope of motivating them to repentance and it worked? Would you feel like the enemy was “getting away” with their wickedness?

The last chapter is really the key to the story of Jonah. After being thankful for God’s mercy toward himself, Jonah is “greatly displeased and angry” because of God’s decision to have mercy on Nineveh and not punish them for their previous wickedness (4:1). He had gone out and found a place east of the city, presumably to sit, watch, and rejoice at the destruction of his enemies. When it doesn’t happen, he returns to his state of self-pity and, once again, wants to die. God provides a vine to give him shade in the midst of intense heat from the sun, but then causes the vine to die the next day. For the third time, Jonah asks to die. The whole point for us is summed up in God’s question for Jonah at the end of his book. “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

The question is one that not just Jonah, but also every one of us needs to answer. Jonah was concerned about the life of the plant, but not the lives and eternities of 120,000 people created in the image of God. He was too worried about his view of what they DESERVED, even after he had personally received mercy that was UNDESERVED. I pray that we are not so misguided.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 3, 2013 0 comments

When I looked at the word “undeserved” for today’s blog post, it occurred to me that this word can go two different ways. Either (1) we receive something great that we feel we’re not worthy of, or (2) we receive a punishment or negative consequence that we feel we’re too good for. Which did you think of when you read the word undeserved?

Interestingly, the actual word “undeserved” only appears in the NIV Bible once, in Proverbs 26:2: “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” But while the word itself may only be used once, the concept is all over the Bible in the form of undeserved grace or undeserved mercy.

The Bible is full of examples of grace and mercy that are completely undeserved; not because we as humans are too good for it, but because we are totally and completely not worthy of it. One passage that explains this concept is Romans 3:21-25:

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 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. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”

Do you see where the word “undeserved” relates to that passage? All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but all are justified freely by His grace! All of us are unworthy; all of us don’t deserve anything but death from God. We all committed sins that should be punished, but we weren’t punished for them yet. In spite of that, God gives us grace, which is favor that is completely undeserved!

We humans tend to be proud, so the whole concept of something being undeserved (whether in the positive or negative sense) is difficult for us. Especially in America, we say that you should get what you deserve. If a person commits a crime, they should get the punishment they deserve. If a person has an important achievement or great skills, they should get the reward they deserve. But that’s not how God’s Kingdom works. Instead, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)

We’re all undeserving in God’s Kingdom, but God loves us and gives us the opportunity to receive His grace and mercy anyway!

For more on grace, see this blog post by Katie Erickson or this one by Logan Ames.