Daily Devotion for October 8, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving us family and friends to be with us in times of joy and sorrow, to help us in days of need, and to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Now may the Lord lift up the light of His 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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
And dwell forevermore.
Romans 3:19-20 (ESV)
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul has finished his preliminaries. Now, he lays it on the line for the Jews: No person's existence can be justified by the law of Moses. Judaism, as a religion, is incapable of reconciling man to God. It is insufficient.
We cannot underestimate the degree of shock this would produce in a devout Jew. He has spent his whole life learning and following the law, in the belief that it will reconcile him with God; and now, Paul tells him that all his efforts are incapable of saving him.
The very purpose of the law, in fact, is not to reconcile the believer to God, but rather, to show a person where his or her life has fallen short. It is like a magnifying mirror; it will not correct your flaws, but it will let you see them. By showing us how a hypothetical perfect person would act, it shows us how we are not perfect. The purpose of the law is to demonstrate that you cannot keep it.
If one were to outline Romans, this passage would end Section 1. Paul has begun by an extensive discussion and proof that all people, Jew and Gentile, have sinned and deserve God's wrath. In Roman 3:21, he will begin his discussion of how we can become righteous in God's eyes.
Paul does not say that we should not learn the difference between right and wrong, or not try to behave well. Much the opposite. Once we learn of God's existence and begin to seek Him, once we gain faith, we will want to learn how to behave well. This is evident in his discussion of the depravity of the Greeks. As Dostoevsky said in The Brothers Karamazov, "if God does not exist, everything is permissible."
Rather, what he says here is that, when we learn right from wrong, we eventually realize that our behavior is not always right, no matter how hard we try. We need something more.