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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 4

I Peter 1:3-5 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
They could see it right in front of their eyes. Forty years in the dessert they had toiled and suffered. But now, there it was, the Promised Land, ripe for the taking! God had rescued these Israelites from Egypt with the promise of a marvelous inheritance: a land flowing with milk and honey! All they had to do was go in, drive out the old tenants who had lived so wickedly in the land, and it was theirs forever! Well, “forever” so long as they faithfully obeyed all of God’s laws and regulations, didn’t worship false gods, and didn’t mistreat their neighbors. “All this we will do!” they said. (see Joshua 24:24)

But, they disobeyed God’s commands, they began to worship false gods, and they treated one another in wicked and selfish ways. They blew the inheritance. So, God removed them from the land by sending mighty nations to punish them. When later, God graciously allowed many of these exiles to return to Jerusalem, they wept for the inheritance has perished, spoiled, and faded. (Ezra 3:12)

This is what happens when our life with God depends on our obedience to His Law. Our sin corrupts and corrodes God’s good gifts, and we stand guilty, deserving punishment. But, today, Peter tells us of a greater inheritance, not based on our obedience to God’s Law, but based on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead! This inheritance is ours, not by our obedience, but by God’s grace alone! In fact, Jesus himself is our inheritance, the one towards whom we travel during our exile. He is your inheritance that will never spoil, perish, nor fade for He is risen from the dead, never to die again. His death has paid for your sins and stopped the reign of the devil in your life. With His Holy Spirit, the Father will shield you from anyone who tries to remove this inheritance from you! It is all grace for you. The inheritance is yours because Jesus said, “All this I have done for you!”

+PRAYER+
Father, your Law is too high a standard for me to obey and your salvation is too good for me to deserve. Yet your Son has fulfilled the Law on my behalf and given me your kingdom by His grace. I thank you for sending Him to me. Please teach me to believe his promises and sustain me until the end. AMEN!

*The symbol on the top of this devotional stands for “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.” It is a Latin phrase which means “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” This phrase, based on I Peter 1:24-25, served as the battle cry of the Lutheran reformers as it reminded them that God’s Word alone was sufficient to teach them God’s will. The symbol was on flags, banners, uniforms, and even swords as a sign of unity among those who suffered for confessing their faith in Christ alone. *


Pastor Bob

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