February 25, Tuesday

Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 13, 2014.

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Cheap Grace No More”

1 John 3:7-10 (ESV)

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 

In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work, The Cost of Discipleship, he writes: 

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” 

As children of God, we are not to walk the broad and easy path of cheap grace, but the narrow and costly path of denying ourselves and following Jesus.  This does not mean that we need to be perfect (1 John 1:8: “If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not within us”), but that we renounce the path or “practice” of living for ourselves.  We may stumble, but we get up (Prov. 24:16) by God’s grace and keep pursuing after Jesus. As children of God, we can do no less.  

Let us not take God’s grace for granted.  I see too many Christians being comfortable with sin because they rationalize it with a thought like, “we are not perfect, just forgiven” or “so-and-so is worse.”  Instead of justifying our sin, I pray that we would trust in God’s justification of the sinner. Is there unrepented sin in your life? Confess it and lay it before God.  Ask for God’s grace to bring you out of the practice of that sin.

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for the ways that I often take your grace for granted. May your grace overwhelm my heart and my life. Help me to walk in your righteousness.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 25


Lunch Break Study

Reed James 1:19-21 (NIV): My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Questions to Consider

  1. In regard to speaking and listening, what does James expect the believers to do? 
  2. How does James characterize the moral filth and the evil in our lives?
  3. How can believers deal with the anger, the moral filth, and the evil that we wrestle with?

Note

  1. James says to master the art of listening quickly while speaking slowly. He also writes that believers ought to be slow to become angry.
  2. Unfortunately, James notes that this moral filth and the evil in us is apparently prevalent. 
  3. Rather than angrily blaming God for our temptation and sin, and thus forfeiting the good he is trying to accomplish in us through the trial, we should instead remove the evil that caused the temptation, and return to the wisdom of His Word which can take us safely through the trial.

Evening Reflection

Prepare tonight for the Lord’s Day. Reflect on the blood of Jesus Christ which allows us to meet God’s presence and worship Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask that you help me to practice the art of listening quickly while being slow to speak words of complaint, judgment, and criticism. Help me to accept your word that fortifies me in my trials. Amen.

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