Daily Devotion for March 6, 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.
The girl singing this was 15 years old at the time.
Prayer for This Day
Holy God, I pray in the name of Christ that you will this day increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments.
Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life.
Bless my family, friends & kindred; unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.
Prayer to Inspire Others
Lord, I ask you to inspire me to encourage others by what I say and do today. God and Father of all people, never let me look down on others or make anyone feel inferior.
Lord, show me how to live today with genuine concern for others. In expressing my care, may I show people that they are valued, loved and appreciated for who they are.
[Do I let my mind wander to things that are not worthy of praise?]
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
“We shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God’s grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Galatians 2:17-18 (DP Bible)
The Meaning of Sin (Galatians #19)
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!”
18 “Living by the law, I died to the law. Instead, I have come to live in God. But if now I build up again what I have torn down, I become the very thing I tore down in the first place: a transgressor, living under the misconception that the law can make me righteous.
17 And if seeking to be justified in Christ we are found also ourselves sinners, then Christ of sin is servant? It cannot happen.
18 For if what I tore down these again I build, transgressor myself I prove rMost lit. I stand with (them). .
Notes on the Scripture
Those who preach justification through faith are people who preach the Gospel; for as Paul has just stated, the saving power of Christ begins by understanding that faith in Christ is the sine qua nonThis Latin phrase (meaning literally “without which nothing”) refers to the most essential element of something; a requisite. of justification before God. Believing in Christ is the fundamental requirement of salvation.
alatians is the first written statement of basic Christian doctrine. The event recounted here occurred so early that Paul cannot simply say “Christian preachers”, because the term “Christian” may not have existed yet! It was first used either shortly before or shortly after Peter’s trip to Antioch. (Acts 11:19-30) Paul has to spell out exactly who he means. So, what we would call Christian preachers, Paul calls “we who preach justification by faith,” the doctrine which distinguishes this new religion, both generally (unlike all others) and specifically (unlike Judaism).
Saying that the representatives of Christ cannot sin, lest they imply Christ is the servant of sin, should not surprise anyone. Hypocrisy of the clergy is a horrendous negative force in spreading the Gospel, today as always.
The controversial concept in this passage, which has generated intense academic debate, is what Paul means by “sin”. You, I, and probably Jesus (e.g. Matthew 5-7, Matthew 19:16-22) have a lot less trouble with it than academicians, who need controversies in order to publish books and get tenure. (I thought to include some of these viewpoints and issues here, but they edge on absurdity.)
The sin Peter has committed and which Paul seeks to avoid is actually quite easy to see: reliance on the law of Moses for salvation. Paul makes this plain in v. 18. It boils down to a basic truth: Christ fulfilled the law. In the process, He showed once and for all that the law was insufficient to justify man before God. In fact, one of the purposes of the law was to define sinful conduct, so that we might discover that it was impossible for us to live without sinning. We needed forgiveness; we needed a savior.
Thus we can see a second meaning to the passage (and it is probably more what Paul actually meant to say). He and Peter cannot preach or imply that Jewish legalism is a valid means of justification before God. The law, in Paul's terminology, is sin. It is not “sin” in the sense that it is wrong or evil to refuse to eat pork or shellfish. The law was given by God and those parts left intact are commandments we are obligated to obey.
The function of the law, however, was not to save our souls, but to show us our sin so that we might understand the need for Christ. To rely on the law therefore guarantees that we are unforgiven sinners.
Paul fears implying that Christ is the “servant of sin”. He does not mean this, in the sense that people will think Christ encouraged murder and theft. Rather, Paul does not want to depict Christ as subject to the law of Moses. To depict Christ as accepting salvation by the Law of Moses would mean he espoused a doctrine that leads to death.
Reliance on the law is what Paul and Peter have torn down, replacing it with reliance on faith in Christ. And so, if Peter and/or Paul seem to imply that compliance with the law is the road to salvation, they would rebuild what they had been trying to tear down: the theology of justification by works, including the notion that a human being is capable of becoming right in the eyes of God by his own power.