May 13, Wednesday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Cami King who serves as associate pastor at Remnant Church in Manhattan, is an updated version of her blog first posted on April 2, 2014.  Cami is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Our God the Deliverer”

Galatians 1:3-5

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

georgia-de-lotz-exEMJJMQ8cM-unsplashI love these few verses because they give us a snapshot of some pretty awesome revelation regarding what God’s been up to for the last . . . I don’t know . . . many thousands of years.

I’m a bit of a sermon junkie, and I recently listened to a sermon series discussing the reasons why God would become a human and die on a cross (essentially the pastor asked, “Why in the world would God do that?!”).  I mean, really . . . if we think about it, it seems a little absurd.  I sometimes imagine I could come up with a slew of other ways to save the people I created from the mess they created (and none of those ways requiring me to be so utterly inconvenienced, to say the least, and certainly not brutally murdered as Jesus was).  But our infinitely loving and wise Creator has ways and plans that far surpass our own. And in this passage we see them pretty well laid out. God became a person and died on a cross for the purpose of delivering us. That’s it right there. From incarnation to crucifixion to resurrection to ascension – God did it all to deliver us together with all Creation from our present evil age.

We live in a world more concerned now than in the centuries past with the plight of oppressed and marginalized people.  So, we are empathetic (and hopefully outraged) when we learn that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacts Black and brown and poor communities, where social distancing is often impossible, healthcare inaccessible, and pre-existing conditions the legacy of a history of oppression, leading to more infections and a significantly higher rate of death. And we hear with indignation (and deep lament) of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man killed in broad day light by two White men empowered and emboldened by law and history to play judge jury and executioner.  And in the midst of all these things, with heavy and grieving hearts, we can find comfort and courage in knowing that our God is a deliverer and righteous judge.  And that’s Good News!

God not only did the profoundly difficult work of freeing us from the bondage of sin in our hearts, God is also delivering us from its effects in our world – from all forms of injustice: sickness, racism, poverty, hunger and the like. And that deliverance is sure.  Praise be to God our Heavenly Parent, to Jesus our Victorious Savior, and to the Holy Spirit our Comfort and Help – for God has come to set us free!

Are we taking hold of the freedom that our loving and merciful God has done so much to make available to us? Are we participating in the redemptive work that our just and righteous God is actively doing in the world today? Are we living in the newness of life that the Spirit of God is empowering us to live? God has already made a way; may we walk therein.

Prayer: Thank You God for being my deliverer! Thank You for making victory over the sin in my life a possibility. Help me to walk in the freedom You have for me and the life Christ died to give me. Help me to be an agent of that freedom in the world around me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 20


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 6:16-19: Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the contrast between slavery to sin and slavery to obedience?
  2. Why does Paul make it a point to say he is speaking in human terms?
  3. How does Paul call us to become obedient/slaves of righteousness?

Notes

  1. Slavery to sin leads to death. Slavery to obedience (to God and God’s word) leads to life.
  2. He is explaining the reader’s relationship to sin and righteousness in terms of something with which they were familiar with – slavery. We formerly deliberately yielded to sin (although many of us thought we were free in our sinful lives when our behavior only led to bondage), but now we must deliberately yield to Christ (which may seem like slavery, but it is not – we do have a choice, but obedience is the only road to make that choice).
  3. He says, “Present your members” to God. In other words, we don’t need to have everything figured out or always know just what to do, but we must be open, willing, and committed to being led daily by God into righteousness (that which is right and just).

Evening Reflection

zailin-liu-IoAksOg4TX4-unsplashWhen was the last time you thanked God for deliverance from sin? Are there ways you still live enslaved to sin? How can you instead present yourself as a slave to righteousness in those areas? Pray and ask God to free you from sin, and lead you into the freedom that comes through obedience to God.

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