March 3, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 27-March 5 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee who serves at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.  

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

For All Have Sinned

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

3When I was living in Philadelphia, to save money on rent, let’s just say that I didn’t live in the cleanest of places—that is, I’ve had my share of cockroaches.  Now, if you’ve ever had roaches in your place, then you’ve probably learned the phenomenon of being “afraid of the lights”: it’s when you enter a room and turn on the lights and see several cockroaches scurry away to hide, you become a little disturbed and you almost don’t want to turn on the lights again.  You’ve become afraid of the lights.  Many will overcome this by turning on the lights before physically entering the room.  Almost everyone I know thinks that roaches are disgusting, ugly, vile creatures, and when we see one, our instinct is to kill it immediately.

Now let’s imagine a scene where two cockroaches are talking to each other about which one is better looking.  So one roach says to the other, “I’m way better looking than you; my antennas are so much longer and fuller than yours.”  The other responds, “Well, my back and wings (yes, I’ve seen roaches with wings) are more shiny than yours.”  Now imagine that instead of scurrying away when I turn the lights on, these two roaches are too engaged in their argument to run away.  Do you think that I, as a human, care about the minute differences between roaches and decide to spare the better looking one?  Of course not!  I crush them both because they are both vile, even if one thinks he is slightly less vile than the other.  So while in the roach world, one might be “better” than another, in the human world, it doesn’t make an iota of a difference.

When I look at today’s passage, my first instinct is to think that this doesn’t apply to me—I’m good: I’m not sexually immoral, or an idolater, or adulterer, or homosexual, or a thief, or greedy, etc.  So when Paul says, “And such were some of you” (v. 11), I want to respond, “You mean ‘you’ as in ‘them’, right?”  But perhaps I’m thinking about sin like a roach thinks about their beauty.  Sure, I may not be as “bad” as others, but the truth is, the difference between me and God is infinitely greater than the difference between roaches and people.  So maybe we should expand this list to include the ill-tempered, the proud, the white-liars, etc., so that when Paul says, “That is what you were,” we can all say, “Amen. I’ve offended our Holy God.”

Of course, we are not going to stay there, but no matter our grievances, “we have been washed, we have been sanctified, we have been justified in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  God doesn’t see us a roaches; He sees us as His children.

* In full disclosure, the roach illustration is not mine, it was taken from Pastor Young at GCC (who borrowed it from someone else).  I repurposed it and told it in the first person.  So maybe I am a “thief” after all!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Your Son.  Thank You that His blood washes away all my guilt, shame, and sin.  Help me never to see myself as okay but to live thankfully that I am genuinely a redeemed sinner.  Help me to love others as You have loved me.  Keep my heart from being like that of a Pharisee’s heart. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 13


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Roman 7:14-8:4: For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Questions to Consider

  1. What was Paul describing in 7:14-25? Have you ever felt this dynamic in your life?
  2. What can we specifically be thankful for?
  3. Are you generally disposed to being thankful and full of grace?

Notes

  1. Paul was describing the dynamic between living, but at the same time, slowly dying to the sinful nature and being alive in Christ. There will always be times when the Holy Spirit living in us desires to do good, while our flesh will fight that desire.
  2. In chapter 8, we are told there is no condemnation for the believer. Praise God!  We have been freed from the law of sin and death!  Christ’s flesh condemned the sin of flesh and fulfilled the requirements of the law.  In other words, it’s not just Christ’s death that is atoned for us, but the rewards of His righteous obedient life become our righteousness.
  3. Personal application, but you should get the point.

EVENING REFLECTION

Are you genuinely thankful for the life you have in Christ?  And that you were infinitely far from God because of sin, but now you are closer to God than you realize?  Does your life reflect the joy that such a pardoned sinner should feel?  Take a few minutes this evening to truly reflect on what this salvation means.

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