Monday, June 2, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 31

1 Peter 4:17-19 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Wait a second! What is Peter getting at today? Judgment on the household of God? But haven’t my sins already been judged on the cross? Didn’t Jesus take those away? Weren’t they washed away in my baptism? What is there for me to be judged for? I thought I was free from that! What gives?

We don’t like being judged. And yet, in some sense we need it. Though Jesus has paid for all of our sins and has been judged for them, and though the promise of eternal life is ours because of His cross, we still sin. We are free from the dominion of sin, but we still sin daily in thought, word, and deed. Our sin is still judged sinful even after we are saved. This drives us to our knees in repentance and prepares our hearts, once again, to hear and cling to God’s mighty absolution.

To receive this kind of judgment by God’s Word, though at times painful, is a marvelous gift. We learn to trust God as He continues to judge as sinful all that keeps us from Him. Our sin is suffocating us, and God’s Word exposes the problem and His absolving Word breathes new life into us!

Though it is a problem for Christians to sin, we know the forgiveness that is promised, and are set free to repent. The real danger lies with those who see no need for absolution; who do not “obey the gospel of God.” For those who deny God’s judgment on their sin, there is no hope of absolution. Thus, let us pray that we would ever do good, repenting of our sins and loving our neighbors.

Father, teach me to deny myself and trust your judgments on my sin as true. Kill my sinful nature and raise me to a new life every day. Thank you for your Son’s absolving blood, shed for me. 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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