22nd January 2012


“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
Titus 3:4 (NIV UK)

Things are not always as they appear. That was certainly the case with Jesus. The crowds saw a miracle-worker, a remarkable man of God who could heal their diseases. They came from all over the region to see him and hear him speak and to be healed. Sometimes the crowds were so thick that Jesus had a boat ready in case they pressed him into the Sea of Galilee.

After a long day of hearing Jesus teach and seeing him heal the sick, the people would go home. They would go back to their families and their jobs and life would return to normal.

But they would wonder about that day by the sea. They would wonder who that amazing man was who healed the sick. They would talk about him in their towns. He had inspired a sense of hope in them, whoever he was. Some said he was John the Baptist, come back to life. Others said the great prophet Elijah had returned. But things are not always as they appear.

The day would come when they would hear of this man again. And what they would hear would change everything. Jesus was not just a teacher, a prophet or a healer. He was God in the flesh—God among us and one of us—and he took our very humanity into himself, doing away with our sins and giving us his own righteousness.

Maybe you need to see beyond appearances too. It might appear to you that your sins have the better of you. It might appear to you that God is fed up with you, sick and tired of your falling short, ready to spew you out of his mouth and wash his hands of you.

Things are not what they appear. God loves you and always will. Christ died for us, while we were still sinners. Paul tells us this in Romans 5:8: “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus didn’t wait until you were behaving better before he loved you and saved you. Sin doesn’t stand between God and you—God already took that barrier away. That means you can stop worrying and trust him. He loves you, he saved you and he’ll never let you go.

Don’t believe the lies your sins tell you—despite what your sins say, God does still love you, and he won’t ever turn his back on you. So why not take your struggles with sin to him—in faith that he’s already forgiven you—and trust him to help you become more like him? He’s right beside you, he loves you without measure, and he’s not going away.

Holy Father, thank you for your love for us, your mercy and your grace. In these we stand, Father, not in our own righteousness, because we have none. Help us, in trusting in your grace, to walk forwards in confidence with you, learning daily to be like you through your son. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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