For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:16-17)

God demands payment for sin, but He balances His justice with mercy to insure that all sinners including—you and I—wouldn’t be separated from Him forever. A little story will help explain, keeping in mind that God is fully aware of Jesus’ sacrifice and our position.
When a man is arrested, he either hires legal counsel or is assigned a public defender. Everyone needs legal assistance to guide them through the maze of legal rulings and filings. They need a helper—an advocate—who is familiar with the system.
Jesus is our advocate before God the creator/judge. He represents us in God’s courtroom, where God demands justice for sin. Jesus comes before God with a list of the sins we’ve committed. He states that we’re guilty, on all counts, of the sin for which we have been accused. But that’s not the end of our Advocate’s speech. Jesus reminds the Judge that He Himself has already paid for our sins through His death on the cross. Jesus already bore our death sentence for all our sins—current and future.
Jesus reminds the Judge that it isn’t fair to punish us for the sins for which He’s already paid. God accepts Jesus’ death on our behalf, and He declares us “not guilty.” Our record is expunged. When He looks at us and our sin, He sees His sinless Son and His sacrifice.
Because Jesus paid the debt for our sin, God pardons us. He sees us as righteous, blameless, honorable, and upright. We can do nothing to earn this pardon. It’s grace, a free gift Jesus gives us to pardon us from the death sentence brought on by our sin.
However that is not the end, our advocate then brings up another legal ma!er regarding the same client. He then states a ma!er of adoption that needs to be finalized. Our legal advocate states “My client has been offered adoption into your Honor’s own family and he would like to take you up on that offer. Starting today He wants to take on your family name committing His life to your care and leadership. What does your Honor have to say on this matter.” Standing up, the Judge, states that this ma!er has already been finalize, he then slams the gavel, leaves the bench, approaches the restored man saying “it is so good to have you back my son, there is so much I want us to do together”
Oh what a wonderful advocate we have in Christ– Thank God today and don’t waste the new relationship with your Father!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

The Pull of Sin

I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. . . . Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?
Romans 7:18-19, 24
A foundation principle about sin is its power. Sin is a strong, dominant force working against our good intentions. Sometimes the driving urge for sex, gambling, drugs, or other rebellion pulls on us like a powerful riptide sucking us out to sea. We struggle in our minds and wrestle with the urges, but we are pulled under by the sheer force of sin (our natural desires).
Afterward, in shame and despair, we cry out to God, saying what the apostle Paul said in the verses above, feeling helpless and in despair over his sin.
Paul understood the power of sin. He was a well-educated man, yet his education did not free him from sin. Paul discovered that trying to battle sin with his own strength did not work. Knowledge alone about God and his ways do not keep us from sin.
That lesson speaks to us today. If we attempt to overcome sin through willpower and biblical knowledge alone, we will fail. If we try not to sin by believing we can do what is right in our own power, we will fail. Only the Spiritual power of the risen Christ in us, the Holy Spirit, has the power to declare victory over sin (see Ephesians 2:4-5). The hymn writer Charles Wesley summarized it well in his hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”:
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
If Christ alone holds power over sin, then it is only by relying on His power in us that we may exercise power over sin. Christ alone avails over the power of sin. Acknowledge this truth today, surrender to His leading, and trust in His power– that you may have power over the sin that pull against your life! God bless you and empower you in your fight today!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. (Rom. 5:12)

Do we behave as if there are no consequences for our actions? Do we live as if sin doesn’t exist and that a day of reckoning will never come? If we do, we’re dead wrong. Sin is a big deal to God. When we sin, God doesn’t say, “Well, I’ll knock down your charges to misdemeanors, and you can walk. I’ll ignore your disobedience this time and look the other way.” God hates sin and demands that it be punished.
God told Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed Him, they would die. He’s a God of His word. He followed through on His punishment. Adam and Eve didn’t physically die immediately, but life changed for them. Eve would suffer pain during childbirth and lose the natural equality she shared with Adam in the Garden. God placed a curse on the ground, which meant Adam would struggle and sweat to scratch out a living from it. Work would also frustrate Adam as further evidence of disunity with God. And death became part of their existence. Eventually Adam and Eve would die and return to dust. It was a sad day for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16-19). God banished them from the Garden, the ultimate punishment—separation from God. In all fairness, God punished the serpent also. His offspring would eat dust and forever be enemies with Adam and Eve’s offspring, ending in His destruction.
From the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed, every human has gravitated toward sin. Harmony with God and each other was replaced by conflict and discord. God punished Adam and Eve, but in His mercy, He provided a way out of this ultimate death and separation. And that’s what the rest of the Bible is all about: God’s plan to redeem the offspring of Adam and Eve—you and me.
God has already completed the plan of redemption and we can enjoy restored relationship with Him now and forever. However when we become His we should no longer continue our sin pattern. God still hates sin and God cannot bless sin. God still must let the consequences of our sins to play out. Sin is still serious.
Consider your attitude toward sin. Are you serious about it or casual? How does God see your sin? Shouldn’t you have the same view of your sin as God does?
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. James 1:13-14

Adam blamed God, in the Garden, when asked if He had eaten the fruit He was not supposed to take. His answer “it was the woman you gave me” placing the blame back on God. We too have a tendency to justify and shift blame to others or God for our sin.
In areas where we’re weak, we look for any excuse to justify what we have already chosen in our hearts to do. Take sexual sin, for example. We blame God for creating us with strong sexual desire, and we rationalize abnormal/deviant sexual behavior by accusing God for “making us this way.” We argue, “Why am I accountable for acting according to the way God made me?”
That argument may sound logical and many of life’s circumstances are beyond our control. We never chose our parents, the color of our skin, our neighborhoods and some might try to argue even our sexual orientation. Many homosexuals feel they were born the way they are. Even if these arguments were true, does this cancel our freedom of choice, and as a result, terminate all personal responsibility? Are we just characters following a predetermined script and not accountable for our actions? If these arguments are true, then why are there prisons? Why did we have to put a stop to a man like Hitler? Jeffrey Dahmer was just born that way. They were all God’s fault, right?
We must never be deceived into believing that because we were born with strong desires in any area that God is to blame for our sin. When we blame God, we’re using Him as an excuse for abnormal and sinful behavior that our own sinful natures desire. The truth is we have a sin nature and we have strong natural desires that tempt us, but we also have a stronger God who created us for good. He never tempts us, and the Word clearly tells us “He will never let us be tempted more than we can bear and that He always provides a way out (escape route) from our sinful temptation” Amazing! Even when our desires are enticing us to do wrong, God is working in us and for us to provide a way to do what is right and good.
All things from God are good. If we abuse God’s gifts to us, He is not responsible for our sin, just as the maker of matches is not responsible for the arsonist crime. We all have the freedom to choose. The choice is always between our natural desires or God’s Holy standard of what is right. We all are responsible for our choices before God. We cannot pervert good, do evil, and blame God for our sinful actions. We must understand this, so we don’t make excuses for our behavior by blaming God. Instead let us come into agreement with God (confess) over our sin and repent (turn in heart and action) of our sinful desire. Let us choose to honor God with the life and gifts He has given us!
In His Service
Eric Barnes

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. (Romans 5:12)

Are we all sinful when we are born? Yes. Did God create sin? No, He gave mankind a choice. God isn’t a bully. He doesn’t force us to love Him. God knows that forced affection, like coerced confession, is worthless.
God created a perfect, sinless world. Adam and Eve were created perfectly to interact with God on a personal level. God gave them the ability and freedom to choose to obey or disobey His commands (Genesis 2:16-17). God is not the author of sin, but He did allow the possibility of sin. Before God created Adam and Eve, He offered His angels the same freedom to choose. Satan, Lucifer, was originally one of God’s most powerful angels. But Satan wanted to be God. He rebelled against God and was thrown out of heaven with many other angels [demons] who supported the rebellion ( Isaiah 14:12 and Revelation 12:7-9).
Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan instead of God. They ate the fruit of the tree that was forbidden (Genesis 3:1-7). God did not tempt them; Satan did (James 1:13-14). God allowed the possibility of evil. God gave Adam and Eve free will and with that, the right to decide. They chose to be disobedient to His command. Because of their decision, sin polluted God’s perfect world.
As a result of the choices Adam and Eve made, we are sinful from the day we are conceived in our mother’s womb (Psalm 51:5) and we continue to struggle with sin even in our Chris”an walk. Selfishness, greed, and rebellion come quite naturally to us humans. We are sinners, and only when we admit that and look for a solution will we find living hope. Our hope is in God’s grace and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. He alone sets us free from the penalty and the power of sin.
Look at the choices you have made over the years and the choices you are making now. What power are you giving sin in your life? Be honest with yourself and confess all sin, place it under the power of Christ that you might receive victory and hope. Let your life be a testimony to the power of God alive in you through Christ Jesus the Lord!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16

This truly is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It is so good at keeping life and time in perspective. Since time is one thing we never get a second chance to use and it is so unpredictable we should always place it in proper perspective.
Sometimes time seems to move so slowly while other times it seems to fly by. Then there are those times we can get in a rut and one day seems pretty much like the last one. We may not think our future looks all that promising if we see the same pattern day after day. However we must realize every dawn is another chapter of our future. We have choices about how we spend our time.
Have you ever thought maybe that is the problem? We think of it as our time when we should be thinking of it as HIS time. Are we wasting our time, or are we investing God’s? it? Are we making the most of every opportunity “redeeming the time” as the King James Bible words it?
Our answers to these questions give us insight as to how we are preparing for the future. We know that what we did when we were kids has had a big impact on our lives today. But our lives are not over. What we do today will influence our future—and everyone around us—either for good or for evil. Our future depends on the choices we make and on how we invest time today.
British author Charles Reade wrote these profound words: Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
What thoughts are we sowing? What are we doing today to reap a right habit? We can “cash in” the time and make it work for the glory of God and His Kingdom. So, no matter how much time we have left, let’s invest HIS time for HIS glory.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Submit yourselves, then, to God. . . . Come near to God and he will come near to you. . . Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7-10)

Many of us hate ourselves and what we have done. This way of thinking reveals itself in our feelings of unworthiness and our lack of hope. Or we conceal our self-hatred by acting out in rebellious ways. Those actions are just ways of hiding the shame and guilt. The bottom line is: We doubt God could love us.
But the Gospel message is just the opposite. No matter how defiant, rebellious, angry, or worthless we feel, when we move toward God, we find that He has already been moving toward us. He has already declared His love for us. God does not condemn us. He is seeking a change of heart. He requests a new way of thinking.
When we respond in faith and submit to God, our hearts seek and yearn for His peace. St. Augustine said, “You made us for Yourself, and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You.” We find that rest when we draw near to God. That is a message of hope.
With God there is always hope. We must never indulge the thought that we have gone too far or sinned so much that God could never love us. The Bible tells us otherwise. The beauty of God’s message to us through Jesus Christ is that He loves us, unconditionally and fully. He loves us, renews us, and restores us. That is the amazing power of Christianity. No other religion offers the hope of transformation, renewal, and restoration that God offers through the blood and Lordship of His Son. When we humble ourselves before this loving God, He lifts us up to new life. We can accept His love and live purposeful fruitful lives.
Whether you are a believer who has drifted from Christ or a lost sinner apart from Christ, please hear the truth, you’re never too far gone. Draw near today, submit today, and start to experience the powerful hope of a restored life in Christ today!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in any human life. — Oswald Chambers

It is crazy but in some countries adolescent male elephants have been running wild, attacking one another, other animals, and humans. Elephant aggression has become a big problem in many parts of the world in recent decades. As scientists have tried to figure out why, they’ve determined that elephant social structure has been destroyed, through poaching. The elder elephants are missing, especially adult male bulls (elephants), who are favorite targets of poachers. Recently some South African park rangers flew in some adult male elephants, they flapped their ears, raised their trunks, and bellowed for days—and they restored order. The young males got in line and stopped their destruction. Makes a lot of since.
I believe the same is true of humans. When men are absent or fail to lead, society breaks down. It’s why most inmates in the prison system came from homes where the father was absent, neglectful, or abusive. It’s why overwhelming percentages of high-school dropouts had absent fathers. Society’s problems become everybody’s problem. I believe only adult Godly men can help change this problem.
Jesus said, “He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives” (Luke 4:18). Men, this begins in our own personal manhood, in our lives, in our families, and in our communities. The way things are meant to work is for Godly man to find freedom in Christ authority and then share it with everyone within his realm of influence. If all Godly men would take this call seriously we could see great change in our adolescent behavior and fruitfulness.
In His Service
Eric Barnes

Calling All Men to Father’s Day!

This Sunday is Father’s day so all sons, brothers, Fathers, Husbands, and Grandpa’s come on out for Church this week.
If you’re like most men you are tired of dragging yourself through the mundane. Work to home to church to bed and do it again. It’s just going through the motions! Please hear this, God created you for so much bigger, more exciting, and really manly. God made you to rule, to change the world and He wants you to have a great adventure while doing it. He has a realm for you to rule, a people for you to lead and protect. He has a mission for you to accomplish and He has promised to give you all you need to succeed.
George Mallory was asked why he wanted to ascend Mt. Everest and he answered “Because it is there!” We as men desire to ascend and achieve, the only problem is we often choose the wrong mountain. Sir Edmund Hillary and his guide led the first successful climb on Everest. It took weeks to achieve, one base camp after another to ascend. Extreme steepness, high winds, deep crevasses, and avalanches threatened their lives. All for 15 minutes at the peak, they had to immediately begin their retreat back down to base camp because nightfall brought high winds and extreme elements. We often mistakenly aspire to ascend the temporal summit, it is like the old saying “I climbed to the top of the ladder only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.”
The only mountain worth climbing is the one that ascends to the Father, the eternal summit. The goal of the Christian life is the ascend the Holy hill. Come this week to church and let us start resetting our focus as men. Psalm 34 tells us: Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. See you Sunday!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

The Importance of Meditating on God’s Faithfulness

The Bible is so important to me because it is God’s history with man, it is the story line of His faithfulness. I believe reading the Bible, knowing its contents, is so important not only to know the truth in general and the gospel, how we can be back in relationship with Him not only eternally but now. However, for me as important as those things are I treasure the Bible in this life because it keeps me from fear and worry. For me, knowing God’s faithfulness lets me live without fear.
We can Pray to Him in the midst of our troubles and not hide our requests from Him. He will not hide His face from us, but instead He will incline His ear to our prayers. He will answer us speedily for those things He has already promised in His holy Scriptures.
This is why we should read and meditate on His faithfulness, to let it increase our faith for !mes of hardship. By His own love, He has determined to save us. He will not relent until He has given us peace. But before He give us peace, first we must yearn to increase in knowledge and understanding of Him. He will allow the hardness of our circumstances to teach us to have a steadfast heart. We will learn to praise Him in the darkest moments, and we will find strength in His presence.
This only happens when we let our soul be quieted within Him, learning to place our lives in the power of His hands. Our job is to learn to trust and worship Him for His power and grace and then our spirit will be steadied with His strength and happiness. Meditate on His faithfulness today!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes