Daily Devotion for March 2, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A phenomenon similar to Hillsong, in Australia, the Oslo Gospel Choir is not as well-known (at least in the U.S.) but has the same terrific spirit and high level of musical skill.
Prayer for the Guidance During the Day
Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,
Prayer to Look Beyond Appearances
Heavenly Father, I confess that in my life, I have been more attentive to someone who was beautiful and ignored another who was not. I have judged people by the way they look, by how old they are, by how they are dressed; and yet I know, in my heart, that all souls are beautiful to you and that you have commanded us to love one another, not through the sinful eye of our body and our emotions, but through the perfect eye of your Spirit.
Help me, I pray, to see other people as you see them, as my fellow souls struggling to find you. Let me not be deceived by appearance; let me not be misled by my prejudice. Let me not compare the outside of other people to the inside of myself, nor believe that the circumstances of my birth define a standard that others are supposed to meet. Let me see my own imperfection and not that of my fellow man. This I pray,
[The unreliable eye of our emotions.]
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Importance of Faith
God has already done everything He's going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you're going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.
~ Joel Osteen
Galatians 2:15-17 (DP Bible)
Justification by Faith (Galatians #16)
15-16 “How can you, a Jew by birth, first act like a Gentile, and then turn around and urge the Gentiles to live like Jews?” I asked him. “You and I were not raised like Gentiles, ignorant of right and wrong, yet we know that following the law of Moses, apart from our faith in Christ Jesus, did not and cannot justify us before God. No flesh will be justified by works under the law. So why hold onto it?”
17 “When we, who were born Jews, preach justification through faith in Christ, we are His representatives. We cannot become servants of sin. If we preach the faith of Christ and then sin, do we not imply that Christ Himself is a servant of sin? This cannot be!”
15 We by nature Jewish and not from sinning Gentiles
16 yet knowing that not is justified man from works of law unless through faith of Jesus Christ qThe meaning of this phrase and its variants is hotly debated by scholars. (It is called the pistis Xristou question.) Three of them are entirely defensible: 1) our faith in Christ (the most theologically sensible), 2) Christ’s own faith (the most grammatically straightforward), 3) faith like that of Christ. There are even several more less obvious, but grammatically possible, meanings. Some reputable current scholars argue (rather convincingly) that the phrase is intentionally ambiguous, so as to convey multiple meanings. , and we in Christ Jesus have believed, that we might be justified by faith of Christ qSee note q above. and not by works of law, since from works of law not will be justified any flesh.
17 And if seeking to be justified in Christ we are found also ourselves sinners, then Christ of sin is servant? It cannot happen.
Notes on the Scripture
Today's Scripture is Paul's clarion, his first statement of the revolutionary concept that will dominate his theology: justification by faith. In a nutshell, right standing before God does not come from keeping the law. If it did, we would be lost, because everybody sins. Right standing before God can come only through faith in Jesus ChristSee footnote q, above. The specific faith that Paul considers necessary is not at all clear, and might refer to Christ's faith, our having faith like that of Christ, or our having faith in Christ — or all three!. Thus, all those who revert to the law are only displaying their ignorance, returning to a state of unredeemed sinfulness by reliance in a covenant that has expired; for the old covenant with the Jews was superseded — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, fulfilled — by the Christ. To return to the law is thus tantamount to rejecting the grace of God.
e are not “sinning Gentiles”, Paul tells Peter, “yet we know that man is not justified from works of law unless through faith in Christ.” What does this last line have to do with them not being Gentiles?
In a word, Gentiles were simply ignorant of morality. The Greco-Roman world of the first century was less attuned to morality than the wildest sex club in Manhattan today. The Romans' greatest amusement was to watch people being killed — the more gruesome, the better. And what adjective do we most often associate with “orgy”? Roman.
But the Jews were not like the rest of the world; they understood and appreciated a divinely-revealed code of conduct. So Paul is saying, in effect, that one would not expect the Gentiles, who did not even understand what morality was — who did not even know that God existed! — would rely on compliance with God's moral code to become righteous in God's eyes.
Paul and Peter are operating on a completely different level of theological sophistication than a Gentiles, for they know God and know His commandments, making every effort to follow them; but they have come to realize that their efforts are fruitless. Without Christ, Peter and Paul are no better off than the Gentiles. They might know much more, but what they know will not save them; for without Christ, God will still judge them guilty of sin and condemn them. And here is the ultimate irony: The faith in Christ that will save them will also save the ignorant Gentiles.
There is more to salvation than simply believing in Christ. But it is the necessary starting point, the absolute initial requirement, without which justification before God cannot occur.