Daily Devotion for October 20, 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 bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory 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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Lest I sin with my tongue;
I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
While the wicked are before me."
Romans 6:1-4 (ESV)
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!
How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul poses a rhetorical question that many new Christians must have asked: Since, now that we believe in Christ, all of our sins are forgiven by God's grace, should we just keep sinning? We are not saved by good works; so should we bother with them? Or even: Should we sin more, so that God's grace will be even greater?
It is a more logical question than it sounds to us today, because we have been raised largely in a culture of humanism, where people are judged by their works. But consider the logic of it. If we really believe that we are saved and all of our sins forgiven solely by our belief in Christ, why should we worry about sin? It is actually a conundrum that most churchgoers could not answer.
But Paul can answer it! We are baptized into death. Early Christians, like some denominations today, baptized by immersion. The person being baptized was dunked, completely underwater. When we undergo baptism, even in denominations where it is done by sprinkling water on the head, we are symbolically drowned.
Most Christians know that we must "die and be born again" in Christ, for it is a famous saying of Christ himself, but we do not take time to reflect on the first part of it. We must die, as Christ died on the cross, before we can join him in resurrection.
Paul calls this "dying to sin". It is easy to say, but hard to understand.
Old habits die hard. People who immigrate have trouble leaving their old culture behind. Sometimes they resist learning the language and habits of their new country. This has some similarity to baptism. When we are baptized, we leave the world of the flesh and live in the world of the resurrected Jesus. We are "dead" to our old culture.
Why, then, would we keep the habits of our old culture, the culture of the flesh, rather than adopting the habits of our new life? Once we believe in God, the stronger our belief, the less inclined we are to commit sin. This is why renewal is so important. As we renew and strengthen our belief, our temptation to sin weakens; the Holy Spirit comes alive in us and guides us away from evil. We die to sin and leave its world, and live in our new world, a world of goodness and righteousness.