May 20, Wednesday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, originally posted on May 8, 2013, is written by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta.  Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“The Power of God to De-Sin Us”

Psalm 51:7-9

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be white than now.  8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 

guillaume-bolduc-p-VEOdwoZmI-unsplashWhen Jesus said to Pilate, “The one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (Jn. 19:11b), the Lord obviously wasn’t thinking of the type of sins that King David committed that led him to produce this heartfelt psalm of contrition.  But, as far as humans are concerned, there really isn’t a pair of sins greater than adultery and murder, which is what David had committed.  And in Psalm 51, what we are witnessing is God’s power to forgive the vilest sins that humans can ever commit.  Ultimately, it was foreshadowing the power of Christ’s blood to render permanent forgiveness, for “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).

Now, note the three phrases here— “cleanse me with hyssop,” “wash me,” and “blot out all my iniquities”— connote a similar idea.  In fact, theses three verbs are repeated from vv. 1-2.   Cleanse means “purge,” which is based on the word for sin and it literally means “de-sin” me.   

David, yearning for the complete purge of his sin, didn’t want even a stain of sin to remain.  Wash reminds us of the idea of taking a bath.  Isaiah 1:18 tells us, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”  Blot out reminds us of removing erroneous writing on a piece of paper with an eraser or liquid paper. The idea of blotting out is the exact opposite of what Pilate said in John 19:22 when he declared at Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, “What I have written, I have written.”

How amazing it is that David not only longed for, but also knew that God alone had the power to “de-sin” us and remove the stain of sin completely through the blood of Jesus.  That is how we must come to God as well, for many of us desperately need his forgiveness, now.  Have we found mercy?  However great our sin is, we can find God to be merciful through Christ!

Prayer:  Father, once again I come before You in need of mercy.  Cleanse me, wash me, and blot out my sins according to the mercy that You provide through the blood of Jesus.  Help me to walk in holiness as well as gratitude for all that You have done.

Bible Reading for Today:  Isaiah 27


Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 2:14-18: For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Questions to Consider

  1. Earthly peace is the absence of war, but what is true peace?
  2. How was Christ able to accomplish this peace between man and man?
  3. Are we having conflict, or a lack of peace, with another person?  Pray for reconciliation between you and that person.  What is it really that your heart/self is not getting that is causing the disunity?  Ask yourself, “Am I feeling what Christ says is righteous and just?”

Notes

  1. Paul establishes that peace means oneness.  It is not merely the cessation of hostility or the absence of conflict; it means being one.  At time, we may have managed to overcome the unsatisfactory sentiments (e.g., bitterness, resentment, disrespected, etc.) that we felt towards another person, but it did not necessarily lead to peace.  That is simply an agreement to stop fighting until it picks up again.
  2. The only way that there can be oneness among people is through a Person.  All blessing starts with the Person of Jesus Christ.  In order to have peace with another person, you must first be at peace with the Person of Jesus.  When we have His peace, we can begin to reconcile the conflict around us.  So the place that peace originates must begin with settling any problems that may exist between you and Jesus.
  3. Spend some time considering what Christ has done to free you from selfish desires, and ultimately, to forgive you when you yield to them.

Evening Reflection

green-leafed-plant-2072578

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can be an agent of reconciliation in your church, neighborhood, and workplace.  What are some practical ways through which we can be an agent of peace?   Since this world is fallen and broken in many ways, we must be image bearers of Christ and His kingdom in this world.

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