It is by faith, and faith in Christ alone….

29 12 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY SEVEN : Amos 3 v. 1 – 4 v. 13; Romans 3 v. 9 – 31; Psalm 85 v. 8 – 13

Witnesses Summoned Against Israel – This is ‘the word the Lord has spoken against you…the whole family’ of Israel.
– You only have I chosen….therefore I will punish you
– Observe two who have agreed to walk together, or a lion who has caught nothing, or a bird which has never known the sting of a trap (nothing happens without a cause)
‘Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servant the prophets’. The lion has roared…who can prophesy?
– God is rousing the forces of Ashdod and Egypt at Samaria, and says to Israel: ‘An enemy will overrun the land, pulling down your strongholds and plundering your fortresses’
– only a remnant of Israel will be saved (‘as a shepherd saves from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear’)
– God will punish Israel, destroying the altars at Bethel, tearing down both summer and winter houses, mansions will be demolished

God will destroy those things which cause Him greatest grief – altars dedicated to false gods, and extravagant luxury (especially when the poor are badly treated)

Israel Has Not Returned to God – God calls the cows of Bashan to hear His word (be His witness) – literally he calls the women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, greedy cows.
– the time will surely come when you will be caught by hooks, just like helpless fish
– you will be cast out towards Harmon
– God has seen how they go to Bethel and Gilgal, bringing sacrifices every morning, tithes every three years, boasting about the offerings they bring
– God allowed a shortage of food, but their empty stomachs did not turn them back to Him
– God withheld rain from certain fields, close to harvest, so that people struggled for water, but they did not turn back to Him
– God struck their vineyards with ‘blight and mildew’, locusts devouring fig and olive trees, but they did not turn back to Him
– God sent plagues (as He had in Egypt), and their soldiers fell to the sword, but they did not turn back to Him
– God overthrew some of them – ‘you were like a burning stick snatched from the fire’, but they did not turn back to Him
‘Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel…prepare to meet your God, O Israel’ – the very God who
~ made the mountains
~ crafted the wind
~ reveals His heart to humanity
~ turns daylight to dusk darkness
~ strides across the highest places on earth

God seeks to remind them of His power and ability, compared to the false Canaanite gods they worshipped in vain, and they are about to meet their maker !!

No-one is Righteous – No one ‘people’ is better than another : ‘Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin’
‘There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God.’
Paul quotes from the Old Testament (mainly from the Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) to show that no-one can work their way into a right relationship with God, even by seeking to fulfil the law.
Paul contends that the law exists to ‘make us conscious of sin’, but not to make us righteous. The law identifies the problem, but doesn’t provide the solution.

Righteousness Through Faith – ‘but now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known’ – through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
We are made right with God ‘through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe’.
‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’.

Justified : is to be forgiven and accepted into a right relationship with God
Grace : shows that salvation is not because of our merits, but because of God’s love
Redemption : indicates the costliness of God’s love : it cost Him Jesus Christ to buy / bring about our deliverance

Jesus is an atoning sacrifice for our sins (‘through faith in His blood’). This is a demonstration of God’s justice, ‘so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus’.
None of us can boast then…not by our observing the law…it’s only by faith in Jesus.
God is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles alike. Both circumcised and uncircumcised will be justified through the same faith.
But this is no reason to nullify the law; rather, every urgency is encouraged to ‘uphold the law’.

I choose to listen out for the Lord
He pledges His peace to His holy ones
and will not let them turn back to foolish ways
My Lord, my God, Your saving grace is close by
to all who are in awe of You
and Your glory will inhabit our nation, our land.

In life, love and faith should be woven together,
right-living and peace should be bound as close as a kiss.
Faithfulness, spring up from the earth
Righteousness, observe us from heaven
My Lord, my God, grant us only Your goodness,
that our land will prosper.
Your righteousness is one step ahead of You
preparing Your path, Your way.




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