Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 24 – 31 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Radiance Christian Church, San Francisco. Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology. He is married to Mandie, and they have four children: Maggie, Jonathan, Abigail and Simon.
Devotional Thought for Today
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Several years ago, I was on a mission trip in Beijing. One of the activities we did during that trip was to go and share the gospel out on the streets. I speak no Mandarin or any other Chinese dialect, so I left the sharing up to the locals and missionaries. After one particularly engaging conversation that ended with a declined invitation to accept Christ, I asked the missionary with whom I was partnered what he said and how things ended. Basically, he told me he shared the Gospel and asked if the hearer wanted to accept—this person declined. So the missionary responded, “Thanks for listening; I believe in heaven and hell, and I hope to see you in heaven one day.”
I remember thinking, I haven’t heard anyone talk about the consequences of rejecting Christ in a long time. The missionary’s last line about heaven and hell was both refreshing in its simplicity and terrifying in its gravity. In the U.S., we have somehow diminished the decision to accept Christ as a choice between being happy with your life as it is or finding ultimate happiness in God. Or we say that following Christ, our maker, will fulfill our life’s calling, while giving the impression that we could somehow survive, albeit less fulfilling existence, without him. Let’s not forget the severity of the Gospel message; it is the most serious decision a person can make; its life or death.
Remembering this fact should not only remind us how grave our sins are, but it should also remind us to be thankful for His lavish love. This morning, thank God again for the cross. Thank Him that not only are you not destined for eternal torment, but that you will be in eternal paradise. Also remember that trading our lives on earth for eternal life should not be a difficult decision for any of us to make.
Heavenly Father, thank You once again for the cross. Thank You that my sins are forgiven and that I am considered righteous in your sight. Thank You that Your nature is not to condemn but to save. Help me to live in that truth and share it with others.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 120
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 2:1-10: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Questions to Consider
- How did Paul describe people before Christ came into their lives?
- How did Paul describe people after Christ’s work?
- How does verse 10 fit with verses 8-9?
- Paul says that before we met Christ we were dead in our sins (2:1), followers or slaves to Satan and our sinful desires (2:2-3), and deserving of wrath (2:3).
- After Christ came into our lives, we became alive in Christ (2:5), heirs with Christ (2:6), and objects of love and grace.
- Notice the use of the word “works.” The famed verses 8-9 make the point that we are saved by grace and not by works; verse 10 indicates that after we have been saved (by faith), God planned for us to do good works. What are the works God has for you?
Today was a call to thanksgiving. Many of us were taught and trained to think critically; however, one of the dangers of this line of thinking is that we forget the need to be thankful. Take time this evening to list 10 things for which you are genuinely thankful. In addition, take a minute to ask if God has works for you to do.