Friday, October 18, 2013

Seeing Jesus face to face

Psalm 11:7 (NIV) For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

This morning, as I continue to look into the characteristics and promises of God, I turned my focus to God’s righteousness. To begin my study, I went to the dictionary to get a definition of the word. According to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the word righteous means:

Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man.

So righteous means “one who is holy in heart” and “observant of the divine commands in practice”. As I pondered this definition I thought about the definition of the word holy and again returned to the dictionary. Holy means:

Holy: Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections.

Perfect. Pure in heart. Free from sin.

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So if we have all sinned, how can we stand before a holy (pure, sinless, perfect) God? The Bible tells us the wages of sin has always been and will always be…death (Proverbs 10:16 & Romans 6:23). We see this from the very beginning of human existence. Instead of living forever in the Garden of Eden with God, Adam and Eve sinned, were cast out of the garden and physical and spiritual death entered the equation. Because of their sin, we see God provide the first sin offering. Genesis 3:21 (GW) tells us:

The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them.

To atone for Adam and Eve’s sin, something had to die. The Hebrew word for atone is “to cover”. The blood of an innocent and spotless animal had to be shed. Year after year on the Day of the Atonement the nation of Israel came together to confess their sin. Sacrifices would be made and animal blood would be shed so their sins would be covered.

Notice I said “covered” and not “removed”.
Each year the Israelites were reminded of their sin and felt guilty all over again. What they really needed was forgiveness…the permanent, powerful, sin-destroying forgiveness that only the shed blood of Jesus Christ could give. At His crucifixion, our sin was poured into Jesus and His blood was poured out to eradicate it once and for all. Jesus became the final sacrifice for sin.

In Romans 3:22, just before the verse that tells us we’ve all fallen short, we see that righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ. If we confess our sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Did you see that?

Because Jesus, the spotless lamb of God, died on the cross to pay for our sin once and for all, we are purified from ALL unrighteousness…meaning we are made right with God, we are righteous! In fact, when we accept Jesus’ redeeming work on Calvary, we are called children of the Most High God. Think about that for a moment. We can have an abundant relationship with the God who spoke the entire universe into existence. Hebrews 4:19 tells us we can approach His throne with boldness and confidence. One day, we will even see the Lord face to face.

I wonder what that day will be like?


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