Daily Devotion for October 6, 2011
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.
An old spiritual arranged and performed by the late great Robert Shaw.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
For our restful sleep at night,
For the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Romans 3:1-8 (ESV)
God's Righteousness Upheld
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way.
To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
and prevail when you are judged."
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? ( I speak in a human way.) By no means!
For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come? — as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
Notes on the Scripture
Having spent an entire chapter scolding the Jews for hypocrisy, Paul takes care to give them credit and to honor the Old Testament. He first simply acknowledges their special status as God's chosen people.
Then he poses a question. Since the Jews had a "covenant" — which is to say, a contract — that they would be faithful to the law and God would be faithful to them, have their many acts of faithlessness breached the contract? Will God, like the Jews, no longer honor His obligation of faithfulness to them? The answer is no. (Although Paul does not say it, there is irrefutable proof of God's continued faithfulness to the Jews: Christ, the Jewish Messiah He promised to send.)
There was, apparently, some line of "reason" being discussed among the Jews, that God set us up to fail. He wanted to show his wrath; and sinners were doing Him some sort of odd favor by sinning, because the punishment demonstrated his power. This absurd logic resulted in an even more absurd contention: sin is good, because punishment for sin shows the truth of God's law, and forgiveness of sin shows his mercy. It gives God a chance to forgive us and show how wonderful he is.
So why condemn sin, if the result is the glorification of God via His forgiveness? Why not "do evil that good may come"? And how could God judge the Jews, if their disobedience illustrated His glory?
The answer, of course, lies in a simple statement, which Paul will expound in the rest of Chapter 3: God is pure good. People — not so much. We are made in God's image, but our free will leads us astray. Religion in general, and the history of the Jews in particular, is based on God's efforts to teach us goodness, both in our minds and our hearts.