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Daily Devotion for August 3, 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.
For a New Day
Lord, the newness of this day
Calls me to an untried way;
Let me gladly take the road,
Give me strength to bear my load.
Thou my guide and helper be —
I will travel through with Thee.
Prayer for Decision-Making
Gracious God, it’s time. It’s time to make the hard decisions. Sometimes I’m scared, sometimes I’m confused and sometimes I just don’t want to believe I have to make a decision. Help me to trust You. Give me strength and wisdom so that whatever happens honors my loved one and You. Thank You for hearing me and answering my prayer.
[Do I let God guide me in my decisions?]
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
What is a Church?
Whenever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.
~ John Calvin
John 8:2-11 (ESV)
Morality, Judgment and Punishment (Galatians #68)
Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Notes on the Scripture
Because we have reached the verses in Galatians where Paul describes the necessity of Christian morality, and have seen that the moral code he uses adopts the Law of Moses by reference, we need to examine an aspect of the relationship of the Law of Moses to Christianity. There is a fairly simple point that seems to escape many people who read the Bible. Christ did not change the Law concerning sexual relationships; He did, however, abolish human authority for enforcing the Law.
Using as our example the current hot-button issue of homosexuality, one will hear attacks on Christianity quoting, correctly, such verses from the Old Testament as Leviticus 20:13. “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death.” Thus, reason our Bible-bashers, “Christians say that homosexuals should be put to death.”
Since we have used John 8 as our primary text, we should include Leviticus 20:10. “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
When Christ addresses the woman, he does not approve of her adultery. His final words to her are “go and sin no more.” Good advice, certainly; but notice that He did not tell her she was innocent of the charge against her. In fact, by necessary implication, Christ considered her adultery sinful. She was as guilty before Christ as she was before the scribes and Pharisees. He did not approve of her action: He told her, “Don't do it again.”
He did not abolish the Law. (Matthew 5:17-20) It was, is, and always will be against the Law of God to engage in adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, and other sorts of sexual impropriety. In fact, if anything, Christ made the morality of the Law more stringent: For he told us that even to lust, intentionally, was sufficient to earn the penalty associated with adultery, which is death. (Matthew 5:27-30)
Then why is it wrong to say that Christians think homosexuals should be put to death? When one read the story from John 8, it becomes quite clear. Christ took away all authority for sinful humans to judge others. He brought forgiveness; but the price of being forgiven for one's sins is the forgiveness of the sins of others. (Matthew 6:14-15) All judgment for sin lies exclusively with Christ Himself. The judgment will be terrible upon the unforgiven, for “these will go away into eternal punishment,” but both guilt and punishment have been reserved to God.
The Bible tells us time and time again: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-3 This could not be any clearer. We cannot judge; we cannot punish. Our only option is to forgive, lest we ourselves face judgment.
Biblical Christians thus do not and may not judge the morality of others. The notion that Christians think homosexuals should be put to death is absurd. God will judge as He wills. God will punish whom God will punish and will forgive whom He forgives. But He has given us guidance on the subject, that we might know our sin and avoid it, out of our love for Him; and one of the places He gave it was in the Law of Moses.