The AMI QT Devotionals from September 11-17 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato who serves at OTR in Cincinnati. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have two young children: Jonah and Lily.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The End of Sin”
Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV)
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.  He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
In addition to being cursed, Adam and Eve are driven out of the Garden of Eden. This is both an act of judgment and an act of mercy. When God contemplates a humanity living forever and knowing good and evil in their own experience and in their own hearts He is deeply troubled.
Imagine a world in which evil reigns and there is no death. A world without judgment may sound nice, but what kind of wickedness would exist in a world with no fear of death? How much wickedness exists in our world already, when so many are afraid to die or be judged? How much wickedness do I allow to fester in my own life, when I know that I will die and stand before my God?
We may be tempted to assume that as we grow older, we will automatically become wiser and better people. If we lived forever, perhaps we could build a utopian world. But if sin in our hearts is not progressively killed, the older we get the more we will become cynical, the more we will become comfortable in our sin, and the more we will sin with impunity. If our hearts are not changed, we will simply grow in effectiveness at pursuing and achieving our sinful desires.
A world filled with sinful people growing in their pursuit of sin is more of a hell than a heaven.
Sometimes when we imagine heaven, we focus on the fact that there will be no more sickness and no more death and rightfully so—that will be wonderful. But eternal life means very little unless sin is defeated with death.
Our greatest hope is not a worldly paradise but that someday soon our hearts will be entirely made new. All of God’s people will love their Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. All of God’s people will love their neighbor as themselves. An eternity of living holy lives in the presence of God – this is heaven itself.
Prayer: Oh God, I am tempted to hold onto my sin for as long as possible. Please help me to see the ugliness and horror that sin truly is. Thank You for defeating sin and death. Grant me grace to die to sin and live to Christ. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 37
Lunch Break Study
Read Genesis 6:5-8 (ESV): The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Question to Consider
- Before the flood, what was growing in mankind?
- In the face of such evil, what was God’s just response?
- How did Noah escape this wicked world?
- Mankind was growing in wickedness, until every intention of the thoughts of every heart was only evil continually.
- God was grieved in His heart by the evil and He determined to bring judgment.
- Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Unfortunately, Noah and his family took the seed of sin in their hearts onto the ark, so they would have to wait for the Messiah to come and deal with sin once and for all.
Reflect upon your day. How was sin your enemy today? How does God intend for you to fight the sin in your own heart?