Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 9

I Peter 1:17-19 - Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

According to the Bible, sin is slavery. Jesus said, “everyone who sins is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Unlike much of the slavery we hear about in our day, this is a slavery we have imposed on ourselves. It is appropriate, then, for us to be judged and condemned by God because of our sin. Sin brings judgment.

In the book of Exodus, we read about how the Israelites lived as slaves to the evil Pharaoh in Egypt. But, God chose to save the Israelites from Pharaoh by sending ten plagues upon Egypt and forcing the wicked slave-driver to let His people go. The last plague was the worst of all: the death of the firstborn son for all in Egypt. The Israelites were spared this judgment by sacrificing a lamb and wiping its blood on the doorframes of their homes. The angel of death would see the blood of the lamb and pass over. After that night, where God’s wrath was poured out on the firstborn sons and the lamb’s blood protected the Israelites, Pharaoh let God’s people go.

Now, it would be madness to for the Israelites to say, “Hey, we should go back to slavery. We should return to our wicked overlord and live under his power.” Such thinking would show no fear of God whatsoever!

We are exiles like the Israelites, wandering through this world of sin having been set free from our guilt and bondage by the spotless blood of our Lamb, Jesus Christ! Jesus chose to stand in as the firstborn son and take God’s wrath upon himself, though we deserved it. His blood graciously washes our sins clean and protects us from God’s wrath. We are free from the slavery of sin!

So, it would be madness to look upon the cross of Jesus and to eat his broken body and drink his precious blood while thinking, “Now, I can go back to the slavery of my sin with no worries about God,” wouldn’t it?

Gracious and just Father, forgive me for using my freedom to sin. Teach me to fear, love, and trust in you above all else and to flee from the slavery of sin. I thank you that you have freed me by Christ’s blood. Teach me to live as a faithful exile in this world. 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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