November 6, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from November 6-12 are provided by Pastor Paul Liu, who pastors the Grace Covenant Church Singapore. He is a graduate of University of Illinois (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He and his wife Ailsa have three beautiful daughters.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

The Hideousness of Sin

Genesis 19:1-11

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” 3 But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you saw reflected back? Of course you have. We’ve all gone through puberty… But where we might think a pimple or a rebellious strand of hair ruins everything, the reality is usually quite different. We oftentimes think worse of our looks because we’re insecure. The reality probably is—it’s not that bad.

But what if it was? What if what you saw was truly monstrous? Another nose. A fang-like tooth. Yellow in the eye. “Hideous” then might be the right word. It is when it comes to sin. Sin is anything that displeases God—not just the big sins, but the insensitive comment, anger or lust indulged, ignoring God and others, and not doing the good you know you ought to do. We dare not say, “It’s not that bad,” because in actuality, “hideous” is a better word for how our sin stands with God. This is not to say that we’re not loved, because if we’re Christians—we are loved by God, utterly and completely. It’s a reminder that sin is always serious and damning.

This passage is a picture of how ugly sinfulness can be. There were, in Sodom, not just a few mischievous individuals, but a whole city united in its pursuit of violence and self-gratification. They not only delighted in extreme sexual perversity but demanded it aggressively. They were consumed by lust and relentless in getting what they wanted. They cared nothing about the bounds of hospitality. It’s a picture of unchecked impulses and addiction. And it led to their ruin.

Now before we sit back comfortably because we’re not as bad as “those people,” we need to ask ourselves, Why is this passage in the Bible? Think about it. Its purpose cannot be to put us at ease because we sin less than other people. Jesus condemned that kind of hypocrisy. It must be to remind us of sins recompense—to remind us that God is a judge. As much as it is true, He’s a Father and a Friend and a Lover of sinners, He is a judge who will not allow sin to go unpunished! We dare not forget that or forget to share that with those around us. Rather than being thankful we’re not in their shoes, we are to become humbled by God’s anger at sin, earnest in pursuing what is right, and eager to warn those who are sliding into unchecked godlessness.

The problem with judging from afar is that we fail to feel the intensity of God’s anger at sin. God rained down fire from heaven at this corrupt, immoral city. And later, God rained down the punishment for our sins upon His Son, Jesus. That’s how serious it is! To know Jesus endured that and received that for us should make the hairs on the back of our neck stand up. That could have been us—if not for a new way made open for us by grace.

So today, let’s celebrate the forgiveness that was won for us in the judgment of the Son. And let’s be a city on a hill that stands out and stands firm in our pursuit of what pleases God. Be a beacon of what is decent, pure, and good—and don’t be ashamed to show it.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your mercy of making a way for awful sinners like us to come into Your Presence forgiven and free. Help us to live today in the light of the price that was paid for our sins—Your life, Lord Jesus, for ours. Teach us to hate sin and love the things that delight You. And give us Your power to not only avoid sin but to actively pursue holiness. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 4


Lunch Break Study

Read: Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Questions to Consider

  1. What pictures come to mind when you hear the word “strive”?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being “not at all” and 10 being “almost always”), how much do you strive for holiness?
  3. Why do you think holiness is necessary to “see the Lord”?
  4. Think of one thing you can avoid and one thing you can pursue in order to strive for holiness today. Write it down.

Note

  1. Some examples: spending less time doing FB; praying daily at least 30 minutes; reading five chapters of Scripture every day; and forgiving those who sinned against me, etc.
  2. Personal response.
  3. Since holiness means separation/distinction, if we behave just like the world, our unbelieving coworkers, neighbors, or classmates cannot distinguish us from themselves. In this way, without holiness, nobody can tell that we are believers.
  4. See the list mentioned in 1.

Evening Reflection

“Only when you see God’s holiness will you be gripped by the awfulness of sin against God.” –Jerry Bridges

In light of how well or poorly you strove for holiness today, take a moment to praise God for His holy character: He’s set apart, holy in all of His ways. His name is holy. His ways are holy. His love is holy love. And His will is for you to be holy. Praise Him for it. And then ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision of holiness for your own life.

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