October 7, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Jeremiah 42:19-20

The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go to Egypt.” Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day 20 that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says, declare to us and we will do it.” 

In Monopoly, there is a card called “Get Out of Jail Free.”  If in the course of the game you find yourself in jail, all you have to do is to play this card and you are home free—meaning, you don’t have to worry about paying a fine or penalty. For many Christians in our day, this “Get Out of Jail Free” card has become metaphorical for anything that can get you out of trouble.

In the history of Christianity—and in my own ministry and even my own walk with Jesus—there has been an attitude towards the forgiveness of sins as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card:  Because Jesus died for our sins on the Cross, all of our sins are forgiven, and even if we sin again and again, our sins can be forgiven. Even if we deliberately sin, those sins can be forgiven as well.  But as we can all imagine (or already see in our own lives), it’s easy to think about this forgiveness as an unlimited “Get Out of Jail Free” card. I’ve heard people say things like, “It’s okay, I can just ask Jesus for forgiveness later.” This forgiveness is an excuse for some to live a YOLO kind of life. Even in my own mind I’ve thought, “God already knows I’m a sinner, and Jesus will forgive me anyways.”

We tend to easily underestimate the effects of sin in our lives. We take sin lightly, like a red mark on a ledger or a bad thing that has to be made up. But what we don’t often consider is that sin has greater effects upon us than just a demerit.  In verse 20, God tells the Israelites, “…you have gone astray at the cost of your lives.” The sin they were about to commit was to go to Egypt against the clear and expressed will of God—that is, choosing to not follow God’s will but to go in a wrong direction and going astray from where God wanted them to be.  And sadly, what they didn’t realize was that this would not just cost them some red marks on a ledger or a few demerits—but this sin would cost them their lives.  

Though we continue to struggle with sin and are still constantly in need of forgiveness, we shouldn’t treat the forgiveness of Jesus lightly, like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.  Deliberately going astray from God, expecting to be forgiven afterwards, can have serious effects upon our lives that we don’t consider. Jesus died on the Cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins and be brought into relationship with God, but this didn’t just wipe our ledgers clean—it changed the trajectory of our lives to be pointed to God and to the good and abundant life that He wants us to live.  Let’s remember this: going astray from God leads us towards slavery, but to receive His forgiveness is experiencing freedom so that we don’t have to go astray anymore.

On this Lord’s Day, as we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross, let us not think of it as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card; but instead, let us remember it as an invitation to the good life with God Himself.

Prayer: Jesus, I remember that it is for freedom that You have set me free.  I pray that today I will experience the freedom and goodness of being with You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  1 Kings 12

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