May 29, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today 

“True Repentance”

Jeremiah 7.8-10

8 “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—that you may do all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the Lord. 

Do you remember (or maybe it was only my friends and me) when we were younger, we would have this silly rule on the playground, where we could make outlandish claims and get off scot-free, as long as we did one thing: crossies?  Perhaps you called it something different, but it’s this thing where you take your middle finger and twist it around your index finger, forming an “x” shape, usually held in secret behind your back. And this simple hand gesture would negate any bold-faced lies or empty promises we may have made. And no matter how unfair it may be, the rule of the playground was that you must respect the crossies.

In continuing the theme from yesterday’s quiet time, the indictments brought forth through Jeremiah shows the arrogance of the people who have made their relationship with God just a token religion. We learn more about the attitudes held by the people:  “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known” (v. 9).

And despite these offenses, these people feel secure because they come into the house of the Lord, presuming they are delivered. If you will, this is their “spiritual crossies.”

In today’s Western Christianity, our spiritual crossies aren’t that different. In the name of grace and love, we have made light the gravity of sin. In the name of “once-saved-always-saved,” we have made the gospel message to be a legal pronouncement more than a restoration of a relationship with God. It’s not surprising that the image of the courtroom is often what we think of when it comes to the gospel (which isn’t wrong), rather than the restoration of the marred imago Dei (the image of God) in us.

At the heart of true repentance is not merely the fact that we have broken the law of God, but that we have broken the heart of the Father. And when this is understood, the Holy Spirit will then transform our hearts by overcoming our flesh. True repentance is turning away. And we know that only when the Holy Spirit has changed us are we able to truly turn away from our old selves.

Prayer: Father, thank You that despite how we’ve made our relationship with You a bunch of protocols and procedures of how to guarantee salvation, You showed us the way of love by restoring the image of God in Christ. May our repentance not be mere “getting out of trouble” but stem from a heart that is broken at offending our heavenly Father. May our repentance be weighty and yet sweet. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3.5-11

5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to this passage, what do all the vices amount to that leads to the wrath of God? What does this reveal about the nature of sin?
  2. Consider the imagery used in the passage (focus on the word “put”). What kind of picture does it invoke? Understanding that “have put on” is a continuous, indefinite instruction, what is happening to us when we continue to put on the new self?
  3. Take a moment to consider verse 11. How does this verse confront the prejudices and distinctions you might hold onto?

Notes

  1. In the end, Paul writes that these vices ultimately lead to idolatry, the worship of other things beside God. Sin in the end is when God is not in His rightful place in our hearts—from there, all other actions flow.
  2. The imagery is like of clothing. Paul is telling us to put aside our old “clothes” in exchange of the “new” clothes we have received in Christ. It isn’t something we do once, but we are called to do it continuously—everyday. And when we come to this act of daily faith of putting on the new self, the underlying promise here is that the image of God is being restored to us.
  3. Personal reflection. Consider the differences between Jews and Greeks/the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Circumcision was the mark of the covenant for the Jews. In fact, there was much conflict within the church because of circumcision. But what Paul is saying here is that the true mark of a child of God is not a physical mark (much like how the temple was considered), but a spiritual mark that is Christ. What are things that you hold onto as your righteousness that is not Christ?

Evening Reflection

As you close off this day, take a moment to consider how you may have lived that does not reflect our true relationship with God. How is God calling you to repentance? What does it mean for you to truly repent of those things tonight? Spend a few moments with the Lord, not focusing on the actual act of sin, but on the broken relationship that has resulted. Ask Him to restore that relationship.

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