Christ is the standard

“For Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law; The one who does these things will live by them.  But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ that is, to bring Christ down or, ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’ that is to bring Christ up from the dead. On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame,’ for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:5-13  This is a wonderful message to answer those who have the tendency to judge. For if a person believes in Jesus, but has a little different way of living, we have this tendency to judge them. In other words, to bring the righteousness by works into play, thinking of the “right” things they are doing, or the “wrong” things they are doing.  That is not the righteousness of the heart brought about through belief in Him. For the message is clear, and the message is being taught us and confirmed to us through the Holy Spirit and the Word.  If you believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, and God did this, and if you confess your faith in Christ verbally, you will be saved. This is because verbal confession  is what comes from the heart. We don’t have to be evaluators of whether people are living “Christian” lives, for if we do, on what basis are we judging them against?  But if someone makes a confession, who are we to think  that they might not be truly saved, or that they might be. The point of the matter is confession and belief.  Truly this confession and belief changes a person and that person’s life becomes different than what it was before. But oftentimes we are harshest on those who profess Jesus but don’t fit our mold of what that looks like, for it doesn’t look like us. It’s time to start looking at the heart of the individual instead of the actions by which they behave. Remember Jesus is still working on all of us to sanctify us, to grow us into what we all will be in Christ.  This is not an endorsement to live however we want to live, but it is a warning for all believers to not be so hard on people whose faith might not be as strong, but who confess Christ as Lord and Savior. Let’s concentrate on our faith, and our growth, and let the message of the heart ring out to everyone we meet, then even some will deny us for we will make them uncomfortable with our testimony. But testimony without judgment is faith in action. So let’s get active for Christ, not by doing, but by living our lives as true believers, focused on Christ, and transforming our lives to be more like Him. Pastor Andy

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