I enjoy some amateur photography and snapped this wildflower recently. I like how the flowers are in focus and the background is blurry. If I tried to get everything in focus the wildflower would get lost in the rest of the landscape. Life is a bit like that. We need to make Jesus our focus and keep our eyes on him. Sometimes we're so focussed on ourselves and what's happening around us that we lose sight of Jesus and he kind of blends into the background.
Hebrews 12:2 says, We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. So how do we keep our eyes on Jesus?
According to Wikipedia, justification is God's righteous act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin. Romans 4:25 in the Easy to Read version says, Jesus was handed over to die for our sins, and he was raised from death to make us right with God. It's like you committed a crime and went to court but someone else pleaded guilty and went to prison in your place. Justification is being found not guilty by God because Jesus did the time for your crime.
Romans 5:18 (NIV)
Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
It's a bit easier to understand in the Easy Read Version.
Romans 5:18 (ERV)
One sin of Adam brought the punishment of death to all people. But in the same way, Christ did something so good that it makes all people right with God. And that brings them true life.
Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. And it was defeated when Jesus died and rose again. That's justification.
CHALLENGE: Spend some time reflecting on how awesome it is that you are free and forgiven when you deserved to be penalised and punished.
Fervr are offering a free e-book called A Christian teen's guide to dating and sex. It is a very quick read and offers Biblical advice on the topic. I highly recommend it. And it's free! You can download it at https://fervr.net.
The word iniquity is not used much any more, even in church. Put simply it means sin or the consequences of sin. King David fell in love with Bathsheba and had her husband killed off so he could marry her - pretty wicked, right? David wasn't sorry until he was caught. When the prophet Nathan confronted him David repented - that's when he wrote Psalm 51.
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
Because King David repented God forgave him. 2 Samuel 12:13 says, The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. However, the consequences of his sin remained. The prophet Nathan warned him "the sword will never depart from your house." Bathsheba's baby died shortly after birth and David's sons Ammon and Absalom were both killed.
Even though our sins are forgiven because Jesus died in our place, sometimes there are still consequences for our sins. For example, if you rob a bank (please don't though), Jesus will forgive you if you ask him to, but you will still need to serve a jail term.
Isaiah foretold the death and resurrection of Jesus to forgive our sins. Isaiah 53:5-6
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Praise God that Jesus took our sin, our iniquity, so we can live eternally with him!
Sometimes we are a bit casual about sin. We think that it's ok because it's just a 'little sin'. Jesus made it quite clear that there is no scale of sin where being mean to your brother is a 1 and killing someone is a 10. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said,
You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘You must not murder anyone. Any person who commits murder will be judged.’ But I tell you, don’t be angry with anyone. If you are angry with others, you will be judged.
CHALLENGE: Is there a sin in your life that you have convinced yourself is ok because it's just a little one? Ask God to forgive you and to turn away from it.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.