Reformation Gems

In the book of Romans, God makes clear what he has accomplished for us, so that we can be confident of our standing with God. All that God has done is a gift for us, clearly revealed in Scripture through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Our first Gem: ATONEMENT

Romans 3:21–25a 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

We are helpless to save ourselves or come to God. The law makes it clear that we are sinful and have fallen short of any way to get right with God. However, God has come to us and given us the righteousness we need. Through Jesus death on the cross our sins are forgiven, we are justified and AT-ONE with God. Did you catch the cost? Free! It is a gift. Certainly, it was not free on Jesus’ part, but in Jesus we find this amazing grace of God! What confidence and certainty we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

I Don’t Know the Answer

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Jesus said, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . . ” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Matthew 9:5-6

I Don’t Know the Answer


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 9:5-6

See series: Devotions

I still don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question. I’ve thought about it for a long time but it still stumps me. “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’”?

The reason I don’t know the answer is that I can’t do either of them.

I do not have the ability to heal someone’s paralysis. Doctors can do some amazing and wonderful things but medicine can never give me the ability to heal in the way that Jesus heals.

I do not have the ability to pay for anyone’s sins. There is no sacrifice that I could ever make that would even pay for one of my sins, let alone all the sins of another person.

While I don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question, Jesus not only knows the answer, he can do them both.

Jesus spent much of his ministry healing so that the blind received sight and the lame walked. He cured those with leprosy, made the deaf to hear, and did many, many other miracles of healing.

Jesus also spent much of his ministry telling people those most important words, “Your sins are forgiven.” He gave his life as a payment for our sins so that those words would have real meaning and authority.

Jesus is still doing both these things today. He is now in heaven but he continues to rule all things on this earth as the King of kings. He still provides healing and makes all things happen for the good of his people. He is also still forgiving our sins daily. He is near his Heavenly Father reminding him that he has paid for all our sins by his suffering and death for us.

Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or “get up and walk”? I don’t know but I am certain Jesus can do both.

Prayer:
Father, we thank you that you sent Jesus. Help us always to trust that each day he gives us the forgiveness we need and rules all things for our good. Amen.

The Thursday and Friday devotions for the month of July focus on the Miracles of Jesus. For previous devotions in this series go here.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

You Belong

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You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.
Ephesians 2:19

You Belong


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2016

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:19

See series: Devotions

Each of us has probably felt it. And although we try not to think about it, many of us can’t forget it. Perhaps you felt it when the captain of the kickball team picked you last. Perhaps you felt it when your grades were lower than everyone else. Perhaps you felt it when your clothes weren’t as nice as others or your physical appearance did not fit the standard of what others considered “good-looking.” It is that catch in your throat and that wave of unease that washes over your body. It’s the terrible feeling that says within you, “I don’t belong.”

And let’s be candid. That feeling does not simply haunt the playgrounds and schooldays of our past. There can still be awful moments or periods of life when that sad, familiar voice speaks again; the voice that says, “I don’t belong.”

What’s even worse is the fear of not belonging to God! It’s true that apart from Christ, we are separated from God. We could win all the popularity contests we want, but without Jesus we have no hope of a peaceful and blessed relationship with God. However, Jesus changed everything! “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2). God accepted the suffering and death of his Son as full payment for our sin. Through Jesus our eternal relationship with God is secured; by faith in our Savior we belong to God. And we are united with other Christians—we “are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Now, do we always feel that closeness? Do we always feel that bond? No, not always. As long as we are still in this fallen world, our Christian brothers and sisters are bound to let us down, we are bound to let them down, and our flawed emotions will often fail to perceive the close, intimate bond we have with Christ and with each other.

But make no mistake. You belong. You belong to us. We belong to you. And by faith we all belong to God through the precious blood of his Son.

Are there still times when you feel left out and alone? Then remember the blessing you possess in Jesus Christ: You belong!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of your blood I belong. I belong to my Christian family and I belong to God. At those times when I feel left out, overcome my emotions with the certainty of your Word. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Devotions

Too Much to Ask — Luke 14

God’s Sword

When You Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:1-13

When You Pray


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 11:1-13


See series: Devotions

Let’s say someone has invited you to their home. When you get there, you can tell they’ve been expecting you. They’ve turned on the porch light. They smile when they see you and invite you in. They’ve prepared good food. They’ve set the table. In a similar way, whenever you pray the Lord’s Prayer, you know that the Lord has been expecting you. He has even laid out the words and the form of the prayer for you, so that you know you are welcome.

At times we might have a good reason to decline an invitation to someone’s house. But there is no legitimate reason why we would ever decline God’s invitation to pray. And yet we do. God in heaven invites us to pray, and we believe in him, and still we struggle to appreciate the gift he’s given us. It’s just more evidence that the sinful nature in you and me always runs away from God and wants nothing from him, and that there’s not a thing we can do to fix that. What a helpless mess we are!

And yet Jesus’ words still stand. He invites us to call God Father.

As Jesus speaks the words in today’s reading, he is looking ahead to his cross. And as strong as our sinful nature desires to run away from God, Jesus had an even stronger desire to suffer and die for us all. Now, by his suffering and death he has paid for our sins, and through Jesus God has declared us to be his forgiven children.

If prayer were nothing more than a business contract with God, then you would be legally bound to pray to him or he would cut off all ties. If your relationship with God were no more than a relationship between friends, then you would be expected to give as much as you get. Jesus sets the record straight. Prayer is an exchange between a child and his Father. God does all the giving, and like a good father, he will only give you things that are good for you. Your privileged role is to receive his gifts.

When God invites you to pray, he is inviting you into his throne room. Your Savior has cleared the way. By his death and resurrection, he has paid for your sins. Whenever you pray in Jesus’ name, you know that God’s been expecting you. Your Father in heaven is greeting you with a smile.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for giving me the privilege of prayer. Help me to use it well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God Invites Us to His Dinner Party

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Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Exodus 24:9-11

God Invites Us to His Dinner Party


Daily Devotion – July 24, 2016

Devotion based on Exodus 24:9-11

See series: Devotions

Imagine that you’ve been invited to a dinner party. It looks pretty neat! The menu contains things which you like to eat. Also the time and the date work for you. But then you come to realize that you don’t know anyone who’s been invited to the party, and you have absolutely nothing in common with the people who are going. What do you think? Will you still be as excited to go? I’d guess most of us wouldn’t be as excited. After all, what really makes a party fun is being with people we know and enjoy.

Can you imagine a dinner party with God? At first, it’s a scary thought! After all, God is perfect, holy and eternal; we’re sinful mortals. What do we have in common with God, or he with us?

And yet God chooses to have fellowship with people. We read in these verses of the Bible how he allowed the leaders and elders of Israel to dine in his presence. What an experience that must have been! But in a more wondrous measure, he chose to have fellowship with people when Jesus came to this world and lived among us. Now the Lord continues to do it today, promising that he’s with us always to the very end of time. And he’s preparing a place for us at the eternal “banquet feast” in heaven.

And yet that question lingers: why would God want us in his presence? Why would God want ME? I’m a sinner!
Ah, true. But remember Jesus. He lived, died and rose, thereby paying for your sins in full. The holy life of Jesus covers you perfectly so that you do not fearfully stand opposed to God as a foe; rather you peacefully sit with him as a friend. Indeed, you’re his welcome guest through Jesus! You might even think of yourself as a VIP.

And what a conversation you’ll have with all the other guests of his grace! People like David, Mary and Joseph, Abraham and Sarah – all sinners, like us; all saved by Jesus, like us. It will be a great party!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for making it possible through Jesus for me to come to your heavenly feast. Fill me with longing for the day you will take me there. Amen.


This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.