The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried,
Proof of Life
From: Our Daily Journey
Families of kidnap victims often refuse to pay ransom without “proof of life,” evidence such as a phone call or video that shows their loved one is well. True believers in Jesus reveal a different kind of “proof of life”—evidence of lives transformed by their new life in Christ.
Zacchaeus exhibited proof of new life after encountering Jesus. He was “the chief tax collector in the region.” That meant he took money from his countrymen, skimmed a lot off the top, and sent the rest on to Rome. He “had become very rich,” which meant he was good at his job (Luke 19:2). He was despised, but not by Jesus who “came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus came for people just like Zacchaeus; so when He saw him in the branches above, He invited Himself over for dinner (Luke 19:5).
The crowd grumbled that Zacchaeus was “a notorious sinner,” and he didn’t disagree (Luke 19:7). “Sinner” was who he was, but it wouldn’t define him now. Zacchaeus demonstrated true repentance when he promised to give half his wealth to the poor and pay back four times whatever he had “cheated people on their taxes” (Luke 19:8). Jesus saw the tax collector’s contrite heart and announced, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9).
We’re saved when we repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. One proof of repentance is restitution: Do we right our wrongs when possible? A proof of faith is sacrifice: Does our trust in Jesus inspire us to serve others?
Jesus accepts us just as we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to stay that way. His loving transformation may be a long process, but every step forward is your proof of life.
By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”
How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.
The sinner’s advocate
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ 1 John 2:1
Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 1:5–10
This truth, so evangelical and so divine, should be practically remembered. It should be practically remembered, dear friends, at all times. Every day I find it most healthy to my own soul to try and walk as a saint, but in order to do so I must continually come to Christ as a sinner. I would seek to be perfect; I would strain after every virtue, and forsake every false way; but still, as to my standing before God, I find it happiest to sit where I sat when I first looked to Jesus, on the rock of his works, having nothing to do with my own righteousness, but only with his. Depend on it, dear friends, the happiest way of living is to live as a poor sinner and as nothing at all, having Jesus Christ as your all in all. You may have all your growths in sanctification, all your progress in graces, all the development of your virtues that you will; but still I do earnestly pray you never to put any of these where Christ should be. If you have begun in Christ then finish in Christ. If you have begun in the flesh and then go on in the flesh, we know what the sure result will be. But if you have begun with Jesus Christ as your Alpha, let him be your Omega. I pray you never think you are rising when you get above this, for it is not rising, but slipping downwards to your ruin. Stand still to this—
‘Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.’
Still a sinner, but still having an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous—let this be the spirit of your everyday life.
Mercy, omnipotence, and justice
By: Charles Spurgeon
“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:3
Suggested Further Reading: Nehemiah 9:9-31
Have you ever observed that scene in the garden of Eden at the time of the fall? God had threatened Adam, that if he sinned he should surely die. Adam sinned: did God make haste to sentence him? ‘Tis sweetly said, “The Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” Perhaps that fruit was plucked at early morn, maybe it was plucked at noon-tide; but God was in no haste to condemn; he waited till the sun was well nigh set, and in the cool of the day came, and as an old expositor has put it very beautifully, when he did come he did not come on wings of wrath, but he “walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” He was in no haste to slay. I think I see him, as he was represented then to Adam, in those glorious days when God walked with man. Methinks I see the wonderful similitude in which the unseen did veil himself: I see it walking among the trees so slowly—if it is right to give such a picture—beating its breast, and shedding tears that it should have to condemn man. At last I hear its doleful voice: “Adam, where art thou? Where hast thou cast thyself, poor Adam? Thou hast cast thyself from my favour; thou hast cast thyself into nakedness and into fear; for thou art hiding thyself. Adam, where art thou? I pity thee. Thou thoughtest to be God. Before I condemn thee I will give thee one note of pity. Adam, where art thou?” Yes, the Lord was slow to anger, slow to write the sentence, even though the command had been broken, and the threatening was therefore of necessity brought into force.