REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 21, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“How Did We Become So Righteous?”
Psalm 18:20-22, 24
The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God. 23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
I get little uncomfortable whenever I read David’s Psalm where he appears to be self-righteous. Yes, he did the right thing in his dealing with Saul, to which this Psalm apparently alludes, but he did not always lead a blameless life. God certainly rewarded David for being a man after His heart (Acts 13:22), but it was not solely based on his righteousness. Perhaps, this Psalm is better understood in terms of David the shepherd as a type of Christ, the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20).
Thus, those who are in Christ have become “the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21), and thereby, are blameless before the accusation of the enemy (Col. 2:13-4). It is not by our righteousness that God deals with us but that of His Son. While God will reward us based on our works (1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:10), His rewards will far exceed our expectations. So it is safe to assume that “God will reward us according to the richness of His grace” (Eph. 3:20), and not based on our actual “performance.” I think David would have agreed.
Before leaving the house today, take a moment to ponder on the greatness of our gracious and merciful God. He loves you.
Prayer: Dear LORD, I praise and worship You this morning. God, I tend to blame people for my problems because deep inside I see myself as a victim, which I realize is a warped view of myself. In the end, I am where I am in life because of my unwise choices. There is only one who is righteous—Christ. In Him and through the Holy Spirit, I’m no longer a victim but someone who is enabled to lead a fruitful life. Thank You. Amen
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Questions to Consider
- How is it possible that we are no longer condemned for all the sins that we ever committed (2 Cor. 5:21, Col. 2:13-4)?
- What is God’s reward based on (1 Cor. 3:14-5, Matt. 10:40-2)? What does it mean that giving a cup of water is rewarded?
- We need to do our part to avoid sinning, but there is more to it than that; what’s God’s part (1 Cor. 10:13, Phil. 2:12-3)?
- In short, Christ assumed our debt (i.e., becoming sin for us), which we didn’t have the“spiritual capital” to pay for, and “took it away, nailing it to the cross.” So, in the legal sense, we are no longer guilty of the sins that were charged against us.
- While salvation is God’s gift freely given to those who believe in Jesus, God’s reward is based on our works. Thus, David was right when he said “the Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness.” However, the fact that God considers our works to be worthy of being recompensed, and that He gives far more than what we deserve (e.g., even over giving someone a cup of water), shows God’s magnanimous grace.
- In today’s Psalm, David said, “I did this” and “I did that” to keep himself from sinning. Indeed, it ultimately comes down to us making the right decision, but we aren’t doing it alone. First, God provides a way out from succumbing to temptations; second, the Holy Spirit strengthens our will so that we will make the right decisions, but because the Spirit is gentle, he won’t force us do anything. However, we have been greatly empowered to “keep the ways of the LORD”. Now that’s grace!
John 15:5: Apart from me you can do nothing.
The crowd wildly cheered as Jesus, riding on a donkey, entered Jerusalem a few days before being crucified. Had the donkey mistakenly believed that the cheers were for him, how silly that would have been! While that was highly unlikely, the same cannot be said about us since we have limitless desires for self-recognition and capacities for self-delusion. Jesus’ disciples were no exceptions since they often discussed who was the greatest among them. Once when Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” they said nothing because “they had argued about who was the greatest” (Mk. 9:33-4). The disciples did not stop there; they had the same discussion right after Jesus revealed that one of them would betray Him (Lk. 22:24). We can be sure that God, who “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” will not tolerate such attitudes. Before using us, God will teach us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing. It is a lesson that we need to be reminded of constantly.