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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Tuesday-We're All the Same

But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Galatians 2:17

People are people. No matter where you go, who you meet, we’re all pretty much the same underneath. We may look different. Dress different. Speak different. Even walk different.

But those outside things are less important. Who you really are, and your value, comes from what’s inside. It’s what’s within that energizes and motivates you to do what you do. Say what you say. Act like you act.

What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Mark 7:20-23

When we read these words from Jesus, we like what he says about outward actions coming from within. That feel right and makes sense. But when he starts listing off all the different evils, we get uncomfortable.

It becomes a race to the checklist. We read each one and there’s a checkbox next to it. Can we check it off because we’ve got that area of our lives under control?

Well, let me see here. Sexual immorality – never been accused, check. Theft and murder – never been arrested for them, check. Greed, malice, deceit – how would someone prove them, check. Lewdness and envy – they’re only on the inside – check. Slander – never been sued, check. Arrogance and folly – there’s no agreement on what they are anyway, check.

And since we have enough of them checked off, we feel good about ourselves. Our scorecard says it all. Not only are we pretty decent human being, we’re better than most.

Then comes the comparison marathon. This is where we start listing off all the people that we’re better than. This can go on for quite a while, depending on how many people you know. For me, this can take quite a while.

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There are basically two ways to try and justify yourself, to prove that you’re ok. That you’re worthy of the title, human being. There are two and only two ways to do this.

First – Justify Yourself. This is where you weigh all the good and bad you’ve done and see which one you’ve done more of. Which side, the good or the bad, is bigger, stronger, dominant. This is basically how all the religions, philosophies, and cultures work. Do more good than bad.

Second – Jesus Justifies. When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price for who we are and what we’ve done. Past, present, and future. Our eternal invoice has been stamped, “Paid in Full.” We are made clean, made new, made adopted children of the king of kings.

The Jews thought that they had life pretty much wired. They had God’s laws. And so as long as they outwardly stay within the lines, everything was OK. And since the Gentiles didn’t have the laws from God, they must be bad people. And the only way for them to become good again is to obey the laws of God just like them.

Whenever you’re a member of the Justify Yourself team, there’s always, always, always a list of dos and don’ts. While everyone agrees that there’s a list, no one can agree on what’s on the list. While some lists might be close, other lists are way out there. And in my mind, any list that says bacon is bad is a bad list!

This is where the Jesus Justify team is so wildly different and unique. Instead of us individually trying to defend, justify, and excuse ourselves, God steps in and does all the work. He pays for it all.

And out of a joyful heart, made free by the payment of our debt, we want to thank God, worshiping him at every step. This also energizes and motivates us to look at people differently. They are made in the image of God, people that Jesus died for. Just like me. So, I want to love on them, serving them.

Noodling Questions

  • Do we really want God to treat us all the same? Explain.

  • How do you feel about the word justify? Is it a good/bad word? Explain.

  • Where does the idea that we’re all the same come from?

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