Monday, May 26, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 25

1 Peter 3:18-20 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

Every children’s book gets the Noah story wrong. The Ark is turned into a cute zoo where a Santa Clause-looking old man smiles and waves at the young readers. It’s a story full of rainbows and zoo animals. Perhaps more troubling is the description of Noah himself. Not the Santa persona, but rather, to the idea that God saved Noah because he was a good person, or at least, a better person than everyone else. He was not. Noah was a sinner (Genesis 9:20-21).

To be sure, Genesis tells us that Noah was a righteous man (Gen. 6:9). But we must remember, a person is righteous before God, not by being a good person, but because they believe God (Romans 3:28). To say that Noah was righteous means nothing other than God was gracious to Noah (Gen. 6:8), and Noah trusted God to be gracious (Hebrews 11:7). What set Noah apart was faith in the promises of God, not sweet, holy Noah! His faith in God saved Him from God’s watery wrath.

Today Peter reminds us that being righteous is a matter of faith. You and I and Noah are the unrighteous for whom Christ, the Righteous One, died. We can stand before God only because He brings us. In Christ, we are saved from God’s wrath. God sent Jesus to die once for sins so that we would be reconciled to Him without fear of His wrath. Just as God promised Noah that He would save him in the Ark, in order to save us He has promised to shelter us in the blood of Christ. Jesus is the Ark that saves us from the wrath of God. Faith in Jesus alone grants us righteousness.

Father, I thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die for me. Forgive me for trusting myself. Teach me to trust in Him alone for my salvation. 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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