All have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God
and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ.
If a stranger should visit you, you would open the door to your sitting room and invite him in. You would offer him coffee, assuming him to be an honourable person. You would welcome him and be ready to help, because it is the tradition to be hospitable and to welcome every guest. People forget this politeness in bad and troublesome times. In such times many honourable persons become rude and even brutal. The hungry will steal; the fearful will injure his neighbours. Lying and hatred can poison the atmosphere. Bitter experience will lead you to distrust all men, and to think evil of them. Similarly among the nations there is a feeling of pessimism and darkness. What about you? Don't you sometimes smile at your enemy, while you try to be better than him and seek his destruction?
In school do you not think of your own success, caring nothing for what may happen to the rest? At meals don't you desire the most delicious food for yourself, and make sure you get it? When you pray don't you spend most of your time complaining about your own troubles, giving little attention to the needs of others? By nature man is selfish, cold and has an evil tongue, because God's mercy does not dwell in him. When others do something bad against you, you do not love them as God loved you. We all live a life of sin and laugh at Satan's temptations. We don't want to obey God's commands, and don't care about Him who created us. We like sin too much to give it up. We are sinners in every part of our being and deserve the wrath of the just and eternal God. We may be aware of some of our sins, but God knows the depths of our souls. Our sins are all open before Him; His law condemns us: "This sinner has been rejected and is lost."
Thanks be to God, there is One who has a nature that is different from man's nature. It is He who broke our ties to sin. He loved those who hated Him, and kept abiding in God. God's glory shone through Him without end. This sinless person is Jesus Christ, our great Lord, born of God's Spirit and the Virgin Mary. His heart was full of love and truth. Of Him the disciples said: "We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). He came into the world to free man from the Devil's lies and to fill man with divine life. He did not come to be served but to serve, and give His life as payment for many.
In His great love, Christ carried our sins and paid the price for them, enduring God's wrath in our stead. He became our true Redeemer, dying for us to save us from eternal loss. He did not ask for payment from those He healed or the dead he raised. To you also He declares: "Your sins are forgiven." He does not demand fasting, good deeds or sacrifice. He comforts you with God's peace and cleanses you with His own precious blood. Trust in your Saviour, and you will find that faith has saved you.
Never forget that God sees you and all sinners through the eye of His goodness and grace, not because you are good, but rather because He knows you cannot save yourself. The Eternal came to you in Christ to lift you out of despair and the trap of melancholy. Come to Him; you will find the truth and gain divine righteousness. God will not cast you out, but welcomes you lovingly. If you have trusted Him as the Saviour of the world, God looks upon you as righteous. Dear friend, God loves you, and desires to make you clean. Don't delay, but thank Him for the grace He offers. Tell others that God is great and has justified them freely by His redemption. Enlighten them by your faith, that they might receive salvation, and be filled with endless love, joy and thankfulness.
Without a doubt, Christ is able to free you from your bad habits, so that you don't have to stay in them but be changed to live close to His side, kept by His power for a purer life. Christ's salvation is a completed work. Commit your life to Him, with its conflicts, complications and failures. You will find that He will place those wounded hands upon your head in blessing, pouring out upon you the power of His peace for your body, His joy for your heart, His cleansing for your conscience. People will see the effect of Christ's love in and through your life.
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