Next post we’ll return to the Lord’s conversation with Simon Peter. Jesus told him “Satan has desired you.” Wonder what Jesus meant by that? I’m not going into any teaching about the “Prince of Darkness”, except to say Jesus spoke of Satan as a real being. And, for my part, I take everything Jesus said seriously. He knew more about theology than any theologian I ever read. However you view that subject, though, it seems clear that someone (or some thing) is trying to mess you up. Seriously! To minimize or ignore that fact is foolish and perilous.
So, what’s his agenda? Satan “desires” Simon Peter. But why? Once you’ve figured that out, does it occur to you that the same party might “desire you” for the same wrong reasons?
In preparation for our next visit, and as you have opportunity, will you read the context for the conversation in Luke 22, and then ponder the questions posted on January 19 (# 6)? You don’t need to worry or hurry. And let’s pray for each other as we journey.
Now, just these final thought on the prayer in Psalm 19:13:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be ACCEPTABLE in thy sight. . ..”
In this context, what does it mean to be “acceptable” in God’s sight?
As I mentioned elsewhere earlier, this is a work in progress. I hope you’ll pursue these ideas wherever they may lead as you think and seek Christ. Dr. Lamar Brooks commented wisely about the use of the adjective “acceptable” in Romans 12:1-2. That’s good to consider and compare. The thoughts below occurred strongly to me as I pondered the idea, and I hope it will provide worthwhile insight as you do your own study. May I return just briefly to that prayer and consider one thought just a bit further?
We grew up being graded. Early in grade school it used to be “A” (the highest possible mark) to “F” (That meant you didn’t want to go home the day report cards were handed out!). We have other scales or standards by which we judge almost everything from our classrooms, to hotels to restaurants (four stars for excellent, five for really incredible edibles!). But in the case of our intentions and conduct before God what can we do or say to win His stamp of approval?
You are aware, of course, that God is said to be high and holy. That being the case, He is perfect and it would seem to follow logically that His standard is perfection. And being “perfect” does not mean getting close (that only counts when you’re pitching horse shoes.). There is no such thing as “more” perfect or “less” perfect. Perfection is not getting close to the mark; it means on the mark! In basketball, no matter how close you come or how many times a ball rolls around the rim, if it doesn’t go through the net no points are scored. The word used in the Bible for “sin” in the Greek language meant literally “missed the mark.” A near miss is a miss.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for myself my efforts not only miss the
“bulls eye.” They missed the whole target many times!!
The Bible teaches that we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It teaches that clearly and consistently. The prophets did not stutter. There is no ambiguity on this point. The consequences of sin are costly, and you don’t need to hear it from a hell-fire and brimstone-spitting preacher. You can find it out for yourself by simply reading the Scripture. From our standpoint, that raises the bar beyond our reach. If we are to think, say, or do anything that is “acceptable” in the sight of God, we need help.
The reason the story of Christ is called The Gospel, or “Good News,” is precisely because God recognized our plight and through His Grace gave His “only begotten Son”
for us. Through His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus did something for us that we could never do for ourselves. Not in a thousand lifetimes! He made it possible for us to be forgiven. “Accepted in the beloved,” as the Scripture teaches. That is what Martin Luther realized when he discovered the great statement in the book of Romans: “The just shall live by Faith.”
Once that realization dawned upon him, and he carefully thought through the implications. . . he was relieved of the awful burden of guilt and sin and shame and knew he was forgiven “by grace through faith.” That is what makes us “acceptable” in God’s sight.
In the first post I told you something of the struggle I had when I “messed up” and how I punished myself brutally and felt so guilty and so unworthy for such a long time. Once forgiven, I had difficulty accepting the fact that I had been “accepted.” Put as simply as I know how to state anything : If you have asked God for forgiveness through His Son, you are forgiven. If you are forgiven, you are “acceptable.” Your decision now is to “accept” the fact that you have been “accepted in the Beloved.”
Before you go, think carefully for a moment: Has that fact sunk in?