Daily Devotion for March 5, 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.
This old hymn, sung by Welsh tenor Aled Jones, is brilliantly set in a cavern, giving it the natural acoustic feedback of a great cathedral.
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Wilt Thou not regard my call?
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall —
Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
Source of all true righteousness;
Thou art evermore the same,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.
Music “Aberystwyth” by Joseph Parry, 1876
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, 1740
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.
A Prayer for Fasting
Holy Lord God, who by your word reminds us of all who have offered you the gift of fasting as a symbol of contrition; Guide me in my denial of worldly pleasure during this season of repentance, that I may always be reminded of the sin that Christ died to overcome; and accept, I pray, the offering I give you with my body in memory of Christ's suffering.
To Witness Boldly
Dear Heavenly Father, I lower my head before you and confess that I have too often forgotten that I am your child. Too often, I carry on my life as if you do not exist, falling far short of being a bold witness to You. For this, I ask your forgiveness, and I pray that you will give me strength, courage, a clear mind and an open heart when you call upon me to witness to your mighty love. Remind me always to strive to be who You would have me be, no matter where I am, or what I am doing, or who I am with. Make me into your lantern, precious Lord, and let your light shine through me so bright that all can see it.
[Blessed be this day that God has given me.]
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Galatians 2:15-17 (DP Bible)
Paul Corrects Peter (Galatians #18)
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
We start in 2:17 today, but have included the preceding verses as an introduction, to give some sense of the flow in Paul's argument. Verse 17 begins a transition, as the writing becomes less historical in emphasis — how Paul showed himself Peter's equal by correcting his behavior — and more directly theological. He uses the encounter with Peter as a vehicle to tell the Galatians about the importance of faith — the preeminence of faith — in salvation.
In verse 17, Paul comes right out and calls Peter's actions sinful. It is easy to see that Peter was being rude, and failing to do all in his power to unite the church, but was it really what one would call a “sin” for him to go off and eat with other Jews? Yes it was.
irst off, we must remember that those who would teach will be judged by a higher standard. “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1) So what a brother in the church might have done, Peter cannot. A new convert from Judaism might simply not understand that eating with uncircumcised church members was permissible and even advisable.
Secondly, we must jump forward to a teaching of Paul from a later epistle, concerning whether one should engage in behavior, which is not wrong in itself, but which might damage another in his faith. “All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” (1 Cor. 10:23-24) To restate Paul's teaching in terms of modern life, there is no sin in having a drink; but one should not do it in front of an alcoholic who is struggling to stay sober, or a person who thinks drinking is sinful.
Peter knows that eating with an uncircumcised Gentile is in no way wrong. (Acts 11:18; Matthew 15:15-20) But a group of converted Jews might not fully understand this. By engaging in the separation, Peter is tacitly undermining their faith.
Moreover, he is dividing the church. Peter's own epistles (written later) will be filled with the importance of Christians’ love for one another and the unity of the church.
But the most compelling evidence of Peter's error comes from Paul. Your secular reader of the Bible might have fun with this passage, ascribing motives of self-justification to Paul and trying to find friction between him and Peter. We must not fall into their trap. Paul's epistles are inspired by God. To call his writing inspired by self-justification, or sinful pride, is to deny the authority and ultimately the meaning of the Bible.
There is no contrary account on the matter from Peter or anyone else. Peter, being the great apostle he was, undoubtedly accepted Paul's correction without protest, in total humility.