Daily Devotion for May 26, 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 really beautiful worship video from Shelly Nirider.
Prayer to Be Close to God
Mighty Lord, I come before you today to thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. Many times my life is so full of busy work that I neglect my relationship with You, and for that I am deeply sorry. I know that You never neglect me, for if You did my very life would cease to be. Continue to pull me to Yourself, guide me in my journey, and hold me close in Your bosom until the day I come home to be with You forever. Be with me now as I gather together with this online community, in Your name, that I and all who pray with me may feel your presence among us. In Jesus precious name I pray.
For Lost Souls
Heavenly Lord Jesus, I pray to you, help all the people on earth who are oblivious to you and your saving grace. I see and hear — I am bombarded with — words and actions that spring from the total darkness of those who do not know you. They blaspheme your name, they scorn your Word, they mock those who confess you.
I know your will be done in all things, mighty God, and it seems that there are those you will abandon to evil; yet even so, it is my prayer that you save them all, or save as many as you might be persuaded to; or even, that you save a single one by my prayer. I pray that you might have mercy upon the wretched atheists, the misguided who worship a God without Christ, and all the many who are simply confused and adrift. Save them Lord Christ; this I pray to you and in your name,
[The sources of confusion in my life.]
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.
Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.
Everything becomes more and more itself. Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness; but your darkness cannot now infect our light. No, no, no. Come to us. We will not go to you. Can you really have thought that love and joy would always be at the mercy of frowns and sighs? Did you not know they were stronger than their opposites?
~ from “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis
Galatians 5:1-6 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Stand Fast in Freedom (Galatians #53)
1 Stand fast in the freedom that Christ won for us; do not let yourselves be shackled back into the yoke of slavery.
2-4 I have said it before and I will say it again: if you become circumcised as a sign of reliance upon the Law, Christ becomes useless to you. You obligate yourself to follow the Law perfectly, and you will fail. You cannot be justified before God by the Law; if you try, you sever yourself from Christ and His grace.
5-6 Our hope is in righteousness through faith and the Spirit, which we express by love. Circumcision and uncircumcision are meaningless to those who have the love of Christ.
1 To aOr for freedom. freedom us Christ freed; stand firm therefore and not again to yoke of slavery be subject.
2 Behold I Paul tell you that if you be circumcised Christ you nothing will benefit.
3 And I testify furthermore to every man being-circumcised b Although there is no grammatical clue, this cannot apply to Jews circumcised before conversion; thus either becoming circumcised or being one of those who rely on circumcision. that obligated he is entire law to do c Idiom, to accomplish, to follow/obey..
4 You are-cut-off dAlthough the tense of this verb (and the following verbs in the verse), called the aorist indicative, generally refers to an event in the past, it may be read as a discontinuous present or, as here, possibly a timeless statement. from Christ whoever by law is justified e Both the context and the Greek “middle voice” affect the meaning; the best idiomatic translation might be “whoever attempts to gain justification for himself by law”., of grace you fall away.
5 For we in fAmbiguous. This could indicate the form or medium by which hope comes to us, in spirit, that is, spiritually (as opposed to intellectually, physically, etc.); or from (the) spirit, in which case it would indicate the Holy Spirit as the personal agent bringing hope to us. spirit by faith hope of righteousness g This difficult jumble of words is best explained by the Greek habit of using an “of” phrase (genitive case) following a “verbal noun” – a verbal noun being a noun made from a verb, like “hope” – as if the verbal noun retains the sense of a verb and the “of” phrase is its direct object. A decent English equivalent would be an adverbial phrase, “hoping-for righteousness”. (“Hope” is in the form of a direct object, but it is not unknown for words in this form to be used adverbially, especially as adverbs of manner. See Wallace at 200-201.) await eagerly.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision anything effects h Notice the English verb “effect” means to achieve a result. nor uncircumcision, but faith through love working.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
We will look at this section today and Thursday. There is a very broad lesson to be learned from it, which we will discuss today, and then elaborate on some of the more detailed issues on Thursday.
The great lesson lies in understanding the implications of abandoning reliance on the Law for our salvation. The Law cannot save us. If we rely upon the Law to save us, we are obligated to follow it: This, we cannot do, with one exception: Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 5:17-20, Christ gives a startling discourse on the Law: “I did not come to abolish [the Law or the Prophets] but to fulfill them. . . . [U]ntil heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” He then warns us not to relax “the least of these commandments.” How can this possibly jibe with Galatians 5?
Christ fulfilled the Law and thereby changed it. It was not only His crucifixion and resurrection that provided the means of our salvation, but also His life. His first duty was to lead a life in perfect compliance with the Law of Moses. Do not confuse following the Law with following the teachings of the Pharisees, for they frequently accused Christ of breaking the Law. But these actions were not contrary to the Law: they were generally contrary to rules that men had promulgated to interpret the Law.
One at least one occasion, Christ did teach a change in the Law. He taught, “[I]t is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:11) There is actually no evidence that He personally strayed from the strict observance of Jewish dietary laws, but He did contradict and change them.
There is a very fine distinction we must make, a very thin line, but no matter how fine or thin it is, it is the dividing line between life and death, freedom and slavery, salvation and oblivion. We must honor the law; but we must understand that we are free from it.
The difference is hard to state but easy to illustrate. Consider a practicing homosexual man who asks you what you think of homosexuality. Which is more important: That this person stop having sex with other men, or that he comes to know and accept Christ?
The answer is black and white. It will benefit him nothing — nothing — to stop having sex with other men, if he does not know Christ. If he does know and accept Christ, he might well struggle with his sexual drive and the associated sin. But who among us does not do the same? Why is his sin worse than ours? Why do we think he cannot be saved although he struggles (sometimes unsuccessfully) with a sinful sexual obsession, when we lust after half-naked women or expensive clothes, when we are constantly seeking to glorify ourselves before others, filled with pride, and envy, and love of power, and greed, and every manner of sin? If we teach such a person his sin, rather than teaching him his salvation, we directly contradict Christ's explicit commandments to us: 1) Spread the Gospel to the world, and 2) do not judge others.
This is not to say that such a person's sex life is not sinful, or that we have to pretend it is not. It is to say that our explicit duty is to lead him to Christ.
When we see ourselves as deserving of merit because we seek to lead “more Christian” lives, rather than as sinners saved solely by the grace of God, we become slaves to sin. When we see the unsaved in terms of their sin rather than in terms of their potential salvation, we seek to enslave them. (And as a practical matter, in the process, we alienate them from Christ.)