Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jesus and His Righteousness -- The Cure for Homelessness did a wonderful service for Venice readers in reposting "What does the Bible say about homelessness?"

The Central theme of the Bible is not ourselves, not wealth or poverty, and not just God, but Jesus Christ! He demonstrated this to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus:

"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 23: 25-27)

"Himself" is more than some fictional character, more than some moral hero, but God made flesh. More about Himself:

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

“For by him were  all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and  invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or  powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1: 15-17)

Jesus Christ Himself is the very Person who holds this Universe together. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, ministering righteousness and justification to all mankind. Yet this Person is completely committed to living and moving and having His being within every one of us! All you have to do is. . .believe:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 29)

The problem is that we spend way too much time focusing on ourselves, focusing on our circumstances. Yet the righteousness, the complete justification which we crave yet cannot create on our own, we find in Him. Righteousness means that we are totally OK with God, that there is no more enmity between Him and us!

Here's the Good News: The debt has been paid! You need not carry any shame, for all of yours sins are paid for in Christ!

I am convinced that many people are poor and down-and-out because they think that they deserve it. They trust in themselves, convinced that they have to. They live in a world that either shames them for their poverty, or worse pities them. Too many people are using other people as a prop for their own emptiness. This is what I meant when I castigated the hollow idea that homelessness is "artistic" human beings are not props for some twisted vision of art! They need to hear the Good News! Whatever harm they have done, whatever sins they have committed, all their sins are forgiven, and in Christ they never need sense that they are alone and empty and without hope!

But God so loved the World, that He gave His Son, that whosoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

This same God is all about prospering us, too:

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

“Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” (Romans 1: 9-10)

Paul’s first prayer was about. . .having a prosperous journey.

One of the last prayers in the New Testament prayers for the same thing:

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2)

Prosperity starts on the inside, then works its way out through His Spirit!

For so long, I was focused on the outside, but now He is prospering me from within!

Now, homelessness is a part of poverty, and poverty is a curse. A curse that Jesus Christ died to expunge from our lives, for He died on the Cross, on the Tree, taking our curse!

No one breaks free from bondage through shame. Granted, the ministration of condemnation had its glory, but the last thing that we should be doing is shaming people because they do not have a place to live. It is a travesty to shame people for being poor or homeless! Let us tell them the Good News, that in Christ, all their sins are forgiven! His life will enter into them, and by His Spirit He will cause everyone to prosper and be in health! Otherwise, we can give people food and drink, and those need to be provided, but nothing will cause a man or woman to prosper like knowing the Truth that sets them free! (John 8: 32)

I am all for people having a home to live in, but let us make sure that they know that they live under God’s grace, that in Christ they find Life and that more abundantly! (John 10: 10). We prosper by walking in the Truth – Jesus! -- and He will quicken us to prosper in all that we do!

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