Daily Devotion for September 13, 2018
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.
With my head bowed low,
In the darkness as black as could be.
And my heart felt alone
and I cried, oh Lord,
Don't hide your face from me.
Hold my hand all the way,
every hour every day,
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand,
Where no one stands alone.
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall,
With great riches to call my own;
But I don't know a thing
In this whole wide world
That's worse than being alone.
Music and Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong,
Frank E Wright, III, and Michael Pritchard.
Make Me Your Servant
O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord—this morning—
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning—
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
And now, O Lord, this child of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning—
Shadow me in the hollow of Thy hand,
And keep me out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take me, Lord—this morning—
Wash me with hyssop inside and out,
Hang me up and drain me dry of sin.
Pin my ear to the wisdom-post,
And make my words sledge hammers of truth—
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning—
Put my eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let me look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine my imagination,
Put perpetual motion in my arms,
Fill me full of the dynamite of Thy power,
Anoint me all over with the oil of Thy salvation,
And set my tongue on fire.
[Bow my heart beneath my knees.]
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,
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.
Psalm 32:4-5 (NKJV)
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Romans 4:1-8 (ESV)
Abraham and David Justified by Faith
hat then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Notes on the Scripture
Paul, having introduced the concept of justification by faith, now anticipates arguments that the Jews might make against the concept. The Jews believed their righteousness came from their works. God had made a covenant with Abraham (and his seed forever): They believed that they were Abraham’s seed and thus God’s chosen people, if they would circumcise their sons and follow his commandments. Thus, they would say, their works — following God’s commandments — made them righteous before God.
Abraham’s actions were not the foundation of his righteousness, however; it was his belief in God, his faith. He agreed to follow all kinds of rules, solely because his faith in God was so strong. He believed in God, and he based his life on that belief. His actions were fundamentally expressions of faith.
Paul compares the theology of grace by works to someone who has done a day’s work and expects to be paid. But someone who has not done the job and gets paid, has not earned his wages; they are a gift. And even in the Old Testament, God has repeatedly given His grace to those who have not earned it, but have faith in Him.
To illustrate this, Paul points to a second Jewish all-star, David. David was certainly one of the most beloved men in the history of Judaism and had many great works to his credit. But he also erred, and the quoted psalm (Psalm 32) probably refers to David’s blackest moment, when he lusted after the wife of Uriah the Hittite and arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle, so that he could have Bathsheba.
David was specifically forgiven for this wickedness (see 2 Samuel 12:13). And if David was forgiven for such terrible sin, how can the Jews boast of justification by their works? For God’s grace to the Jews was a gift, and forgiveness was always a possibility for them. And if grace is a gift, those who receive it have not earned it by their works.
What Paul is getting at is that the Jews are wrong. Their obedience to the law—their actions or “works”—will not justify them. And their argument that Abraham and David were justified by obedience to the law is wrong; Abraham and David were justified by faith, and faith is the only route to salvation.