July 21, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals July 17-23 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston.  David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace who teaches at a public school.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

For Freedom Christ has Set Us Free

Galatians 4:8-9

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

In our passage today, Paul articulates one of the most frustrating realities of our human condition: the tendency to turn back to old habits. I had a powerful encounter with Jesus during the summer of my freshman year of college. It was the turning point of my life, when I decided to live my life for God.

But old habits die hard. For years, before walking with God, I had been addicted to pornography. And while I had heard of some people cutting off addictions cold-turkey when coming to Christ, my experience was not quite as clean-cut. Even after committing my life to Jesus at age 19, it took me four more years to break off my addiction. Those four years were some of the most frustrating, confusing, and trying years of my life.

When I read through Galatians, I resonate with the frustration of Paul because I see the same foolishness of the Galatian believers in myself as well. Perhaps you can resonate with this as well. Maybe you didn’t have the same struggle as I did, but I’m sure there is at least one area in your life where you think to yourself, “Why do I keep doing this, when I know that I have something better in Christ?” If that’s you, let this be your encouragement for today: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).

The truth is that freedom from these things is possible by the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit! This morning, may we take steps towards that freedom that is already ours in Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You that there is no condemnation for those who are in You. Help us to live out the freedom that You have purchased for us on the cross. Give us strength for the times that we are weak, tired, vulnerable, and help us to trust in You instead of turning to the habits of our former lives. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 20


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 5:20-6:2: Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Questions to Consider

  1. According to this passage, for what purpose did the law come in?
  2. In Christ, what is the relationship between sin and grace?
  3. What clarification does Paul give regarding living in the grace of God?

Notes

  1. According to Paul, in Romans, the law came in to “increase the trespass.” In other words, the law increases our awareness of the devastating power that sin has in our lives.
  2. The good news is that where sin increases, grace abounds all the more. If you are in Christ Jesus, there is always enough grace to cover and forgive each and every sin!
  3. Paul gives us an important clarification in order that we might not be tempted to take advantage of the grace of God. If we have truly died to our sins, and been made alive again in Christ, then it makes no sense for us to go back to our old habits, armed with a theological doctrine that says God’s grace will cover any and all sins.

Evening Reflection

Spend some time this evening praying for yourself, especially if you have some old habits that you’d like to be rid of but have very little hope for overcoming them. Ask the Lord for grace and strength in the Holy Spirit to live out the freedom that is yours in Christ.21

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