Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 5, 2014.
Devotional Thought for Today
‘A Lenient Judge God is Not”
1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I have actually met Christians who claim to have no sin in their lives. I haven’t come across very many, but they do exist. Most of us, however, do not claim to be sinless, and these verses indeed may come as a relief to us who are very much aware of our sins. Indeed, it is an astonishingly good news that God is “faithful and just” to forgive our sins, which means we don’t need to deny or be defensive about sins in our lives.
But in what way is it “just” for God to forgive our sins? Isn’t it true that when the court deals leniently with a murderer or thief, we are aggrieved at the lack of justice? However, for God, it is just to forgive our sins because on the cross Jesus has already taken those sins upon himself. I can imagine Jesus interceding for us in heaven saying, “Father, it would be unjust for you to punish Barry, because I already took that sin upon myself on the cross. Since I already took the punishment for Barry, in accordance to your faithfulness and just-ness, you should forgive Barry!”
This day let us do the opposite of saying that we have no sin. Let us come before God, and perhaps even before others, and confess our sins while declaring God’s faithfulness and justice in forgiving us over and over.
Prayer: Father, I thank you that I don’t need to hide my sins from You. I confess my sins and ask that You would, according to Your faithfulness and justice, forgive and cover my sins again. Help me to declare Your grace and mercies this day. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 37
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 7:23-28: Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
Questions to Consider
- Who are “those priests” that the author refers to in verse 23 (c.f. Hebrews 5:1-3)?
- How is Jesus different from those other priests? How does this difference impact his ministry?
- How is this high priest able to meet our need?
- “Those priests” refer to human priests in the Levitical tradition, whose intercessory ministry on behalf of the people of Israel was constantly interrupted by their mortality.
- In contrast, Jesus lives forever and is always interceding, and so is able to save completely [emphasis mine].
- This high priest meets our daily needs because we are always in need of his intercession, which is based on his once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross. Your sins today are covered! Your sins tomorrow will be covered also! If we confess, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins!
Consider the effects of the sins in your life. Do the sins in your life fill you with hope in Christ or to shame and a sense of unworthiness? Let’s surrender our sins once again and ask for greater faith in our great intercessor.