Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 28

1 Peter 4:4-6 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
Receiving freedom in the gospel changes you. Jesus’ death for your sins removed God’s wrath from you. The judgment your sins deserved was placed on Jesus. God has no condemnation left for you (Romans 8:1). You are free! Sin does not condemn you any longer, it is forgiven. Nothing in the world can separate you from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). The devil cannot accuse you of being too sinful for God; because the sins he accuses you of have been paid-in-full by Christ’s shed blood. You are free.

But freedom is scary! We wonder: How free am I? Am I free to sin? Can I just go, deny God, and swim in a flood of grace-denying debauchery? Such is the questioning of the old Adam who is not convinced God is truly gracious. Perhaps we can answer the questions with a question: Do you want to do that? After being set free from sin, death, the devil, and judgment, do you really want to return to those old slave drivers? Do you really want to spit in God’s face and abuse His love for you? This is like being told you don’t have to stand in line at Disneyland and saying, “Can’t I just stand waiting all day?” Are you kidding? You’re free from the lines! Jump on the ride!

Now, the world won’t be comfortable with your freedom. They will malign you and slander you. They’ll call you self-righteous and all sorts of other names. They’ll try to force you into the line. God will call them to account for their slander. Pay no attention to them because, good news, you are free!

Father, through your Son’s death you have set me free to be your child. Teach me to live in my freedom. Forgive me when I abuse my freedom. Help me to show others the joy of your 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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