#DailyDevotion Choose Life & Not Death

#DailyDevotion Choose Life & Not Death

Deut. 3015 “You see, today I put before you life and happiness, death and misery 16as I order you today to love the LORD your God, follow in His ways, and do what He says in His commandments, laws, and regulations. Then you will live and grow in number, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you’re about to enter and take over. 17But if your hearts turn away and you won’t listen but are misled to worship other gods and serve them, 18I tell you today you’ll certainly perish and not live long in the land you’re crossing the Jordan to take over.

The LORD had put before the Israelites life and happiness, death and misery. Which would you choose? It’s very much like in the Garden when he placed before Adam the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Before you answer when you choose life and happiness see what that entails, “I order you today to love the LORD your God, follow in His ways, and do what He says in His commandments, laws, and regulations.” Now go and read all the laws, regulations and commandments in Exodus-Deuteronomy and don’t break one of them. Yeah, not so easy. But remember there is the sacrificial part of the system to make atonement for your transgressions against the Law, so the LORD is not expecting his people to never transgress the Law.

The LORD gives them a choice, life and happiness, death and misery. If they choose life and happiness they would grow in number, be blessed by God i.e. the crops and other aspects of well being would be multiplied among them. Well that sounds pretty good. However, if they turn their hearts away from the LORD (note that the LORD is not only looking at what the Israelites did but why they did it) and followed, trusted, worshipped other gods in the place of or in addition to the LORD, well they would perish. We read the Scriptures and we know what happened. The majority of them choose death and misery because they would not and could not love the LORD with all their heart, mind and strength. They ran after other gods.

Jesus says, John 319“This is why people are condemned: The Light came into the world, but people have loved darkness instead of the Light because they have been doing wrong.” This applies to the Jews as well as the Gentiles. You see since the fall of man we not will not do what God wants us to do. We cannot do it. We are bad trees. We are not of the Spirit. If we are to choose life and happiness we must be made wholly new people. The Spirit must give birth to us from above by the water and the word. John 812“Jesús spoke to them again. ‘I am the Light of the world. Follow Me, and you will never wander in the dark but will have the Light of Life.’” Here we have the invitation to follow Jesus. This invitation is the Gospel. Despite our many sins and transgression and serving other gods, Jesus, the LORD, extends his hand to us to follow him. His invitation to follow him gives us the Spirit to do so and we possess the Light of Life. Our lives can be filled with life and a joy that is beyond all comprehension in Christ Jesus. In this life, everything will not always go right but we have the promise of the resurrection to eternal life in God’s kingdom, here on earth, the renewed earth. There we will experience the blessings the LORD had promise Israel. We will have entered the Promised Land.

Almighty God and Father, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may follow Jesus and have life and happiness, now and in the world to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion How’s That Law Keeping Going For Ya?

#DailyDevotion How’s That Law Keeping Going For Ya?

Matt. 517“Don’t think that I came to set aside the Law or the prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away, not an i or the dot of an i of the Law will pass away until everything is done. 19Anyone, then, who sets aside one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But anyone who does and teaches what they say will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20I tell you, unless your righteousness is much better than that of the Bible scholars and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”

This text is often used by the Judaisers in Christianity to convince Christians that they are to obey the Old Testament laws i.e. the Law of Moses, which is God’s covenant with Israel. Sure they may say we are no longer bound to the sacrificial system or to the laws which governed Israel but everything else you were still bound to do. Yes, there were moral laws, ritual or ceremonial laws and civil laws, but the whole law was  comprehensive whole of a single covenant. If you broke any of the covenant, you broke the whole covenant.

Never the less, Jesus’ point here is true enough in dealing with his people Israel, in particularly, the Jews. Jesus didn’t come to set aside the Law and the prophets but to fulfill them. That is to say, Jesus came to fulfill what was written about him by the prophets and by the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, i.e. the Law and to do what no man has ever done especially any Jew, Pharisee or Scribe, he actually lived God’s Law, the Law he gave to the Israelites perfectly in word, thought and in deed.

In the sermon that follows this Jesus teaches us about the 5th commandment Matt. 5:21-26, the 6th vs. 27-32, 8th 33-37, 9th and 10th, Matt. 6 vs. 1-4, 16-18, 3rd vs. 5-15, 1st vs. 19-34 and 7 vs. 1-6, 2nd vs. 7-11 finally Jesus sums up the Law for us in 7:12-29. I find it interesting Jesus jumps around a bit with the Ten Commandments and never quotes them directly. He also doesn’t get into the ceremonial and civil laws here. Never the less, if you asked Jesus at the time he most certainly would have taught you to obey them as well. Most importantly, Jesus pulls the rug out from underneath those who may outwardly give a good showing of obeying the Law but do not do so according the spirit of the Law, with their all their hearts, mind and strength.

So how about that, get out there is obey the Law with all your hearts, mind and strength even down to the i and dot of an i. How are you doing going about doing that? Probably not too well. Thank God Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” Jesus fulfilled the Law for us. All of it. He completed the Law of Moses, the Covenant with Israel, set it aside and made a new covenant with us. This is God’s New Covenant with us: I am your God. You are my people. I forgive your sins for Jesus’ sake and remember them no more. I give you my Holy Spirit who writes my Law upon your hearts and in your hearts you will keep and do all my will. My Son Jesus will live his life out in you and I will live, will and work in you to do my will. John in his first epistle tells us this, “This is the commandment of God, believe in his Son Jesus Christ whom he has sent and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the New Covenant we live under. The old is passed with ALL its laws, commandments, etc. .Thanks be to God Jesus presents all who trust in him for their salvation blameless, righteous and holy to his Father in heaven.

Heavenly Father, apart from faith in Jesus Christ your son we can do no good. Grant us faith and your Holy Spirit to trust Christ and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In Jesus name. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Disciples Are The Salt & Light Of The World

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Disciples Are The Salt & Light Of The World

Matt. 513“You are the salt of the world. If salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 14“You are the light of the world. A town can’t be hidden when it’s built on a hill. 15And you don’t light a lamp and put it under a bucket but on the lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16So let your light shine before people that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Jesus describes his disciples in two different terms here in his Sermon on the Mount. One is salt and the other is light. Chances are typical Hebrew parallel language is being used here. One phrase describes the other and vice versa. So what we are seeing are two things that relate to one another. So if you’re not quite sure what Jesus is getting at with the salt, look to the light parallel.

So what is the light here? Jesus says, “16So let your light shine before people that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.” The light lets people see the good you do and as result people praise our Father in heaven. So salt and light have to do with what Jesus’ disciples do. What do Jesus’ disciples do? Well certainly and foremost, they will exemplify those attributes of those who are blessed in verses 1-12. They will be poor in spirit, meek, mourn, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, peace-makers, persecuted for righteousness sake and for the sake of Jesus. They will be disciples of Jesus, preach, teach and praise what Jesus has done for them.

Secondly, their lives will be ones who righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus in the rest of this sermon will rightly teach us the Law as it was given to Moses. In the Law he gives us here, indeed, he shows us how he wants his disciples to live. It’s some pretty difficult stuff in and of ourselves. Indeed, by our own power and strength we cannot do it. But we are Jesus’ disciples. He has baptized us into his body. He has given us the Holy Spirit who has made us new creations in Christ. He has given us a new mind, new affections, new desires, new thoughts, he has made us wholly other new people who are no longer slaves to sin or to the fear of death.

So we are to let these new lives, our discipleship of Jesus shine in our lives. We are to speak of Jesus and we are to live Jesus. We will walk by the Spirit, i.e. our lives, hearts and minds will be one of always focusing on what Jesus has done for us by his innocent suffering, death and resurrection. Our hearts, minds and spirits will be ones that are repentant, that is, turning from trusting our old way of life and its supports which are bust shifting sand and trusting Jesus as our standing before God our Father. Such lives give praise and glory to God the Father in heaven. If people curse you it is because you belong to Jesus and praise him alone with your lips and your lives, not because you have sinned against them. Yes, live your lives in Christ Jesus, trusting in him for everything we think, say and do and as such we are the salt of the earth and the light shining on a hill.

Heavenly Father, always grant us your Holy Spirit, that our lives may be as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ living his life through ours so we may be the salt of the earth and the light to men. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion I’ve Got A Secret

#DailyDevotion I’ve Got A Secret

1 Cor. 26But we do speak a wisdom to those who are ripe for it, a wisdom unknown to the world today and to its rulers who pass away. 7Yes, we tell about God’s secret wisdom that was kept hidden but that God before the world began planned for our glory. 8None of those who rule this world knew it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But it is as the Bible says: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has thought of what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit finds out everything, even the deep things of God. 11Who knows what a man thinks except his own spirit? In the same way only God’s Spirit knows what God thinks. 12Now we were not given the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who comes from God so that we know the good things God gave us.

I got a secret! Didn’t you love saying that as a kid. Maybe some of you still do. Yes, we Christians do have a secret. The thing is we have it in plain sight. We speak of it openly from our pulpits, classrooms, the airwaves and books. It’s hidden, but hidden in plain sight. God’s secret wisdom is what I am talking about. But it’s not like the occult secrets which you need to keep coming back to find out more and keep emptying your pocketbook and in which there is no end. No we have the secret wisdom of God which God had planned long before the world even began.

But for those who are ripe for it as St. Paul says they will hear, see and understand it. It is kept hidden from those who will not believe it. The rulers of this world, i.e. the spiritual rulers, Satan, the devil and all those who are subject to him cannot hear, understand or know it, even if it is put in their ears and placed before their eyes. But the Holy Spirit has revealed it to us through the word of God, in particularly the Gospel. St. Paul says if they had known the secret wisdom of God they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. That is, they would have known their defeat by the instrument of which the thought they were getting rid of Jesus, the LORD, the God of Israel. When they killed the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, they lost power over mankind. Their hopes of taking all humanity down with them perished.

For the secret wisdom of God is this, he the LORD of Glory, the God of Israel, would take on human flesh and become one of us. In his flesh, he would pay the penalty and price for our sin and the sin of the world, death. His blood shed would ransom us from sin and death. It would atone for the sin of the world. Having died, he rose from the dead conquering sin, death and the power of the one who had the power over death, the devil. His death and resurrection is a victory for all humanity, all people everywhere, of every tongue, tribe, people and nation. He offers this victory to us freely through the means of grace: preaching, baptism, absolution, the Supper and Christian conversation.

More than our victory he has prepared to give us his glory. Through the good news of Jesus Christ, by the means of grace, God transforms us from object of his wrath to object of his mercy. He makes us his children and lifts us up to the place of his son Jesus Christ. Even now we are seated in the heavenly places with him. We will when Jesus returns see ourselves clothed in his righteousness, his holiness and his glory. We know this through the Spirit he has given us.

Heavenly Father, you have revealed to us such a glory the world cannot comprehend in Christ Jesus. Always give us your Holy Spirit that we may understand your great wisdom and glory in it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Christ Crucified Is God’s Power To Save

#DailyDevotion Jesus Christ Crucified Is God’s Power To Save

1 Cor. 2 When I came to you, fellow Christians, I didn’t come to tell you God’s truth with any extra fine speech or wisdom. 2While I was with you, I was determined to know only Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I came to you weak and afraid and with much trembling. When I spoke and preached, 4I didn’t use clever talk to persuade you, but the Spirit and His power proved the truth to you 5so that your faith may not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.

Paul had just come from Athens where people value wisdoms when he came to Corinth. Corinth being another Greek city followed in similar fashion of desiring wisdom. When dealing with Greeks you have to be able to deal with Plato, Aristotle and a number of other philosophers. Yet Paul says that he did not come to them in extra fine speech wisdom.

Paul says he was determined to know only Jesus Christ and him crucified while with them. As someone else has said, we may not understand the significance of that. People often look at the crucifix I wear and comment on its beauty. We see crucifixes everywhere and not only Christians wear them today. They come in gold, silver and other metals. They can be encrusted with gems, even diamonds. Yet in Paul’s day that would be quite weird and even offensive. The cross was the torture and execution device for non-Romans who were criminals who committed crimes deserving death.

To be proclaiming a Messiah, a Savior of the world, God incarnate died, was crucified on a cross, well that was just crazy much less foolish. Yet, therein was the wisdom of God and the power of God. But here we are along with Paul proclaiming Jesus Christ and him crucified. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is the promised salvation for the world. From the very beginning it was written, Gen. 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your descendants and her Descendant. He will crush your head, and you will bruise His heel.” The old serpent Satan must strike the heal of the Descendent, the seed of the Woman. He must die. The one who had the power of death (Heb. 10) the devil killed the Author of Life through the hand of wicked men, the Jews and the Romans, by crucifying him. Yet in that act, our Savior Jesus Christ crushed the head of the serpent. Satan is no longer able to accuse us of our sins before God any longer.

Our trespasses God the Father has been reconciled by the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. We who once were God’s enemies, ungodly, weak, sinners are made God’s friends and children through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We who once were cursed by the Law are now blessed by the Son. This God has done for you and for all people everywhere. This is God’s wisdom and God’s power to save, the message of Jesus Christ crucified. For while he died on the cross to make atonement for our sins; he was raised on the third day for our justification. He has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil through the cross and grave. We are united to his victory through faith and baptism into his name. His death is our death. His victory is our victory. His resurrection is our resurrection. He did these not only as a sign or example, he did them in your place so they can be yours freely by his grace.

Heavenly Father, you have made the good news of your Son Jesus Christ’s crucifixion the power of our salvation. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may believe this good news and by your power made your children. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion You Need A New Heart To Have God Hear Your Prayers

#DailyDevotion You Need A New Heart To Have God Hear Your Prayers

Isaiah 586Isn’t this the fasting I choose: to untie the ropes of wickedness, undo the bands of the yoke from among you, let the oppressed go free; yes, and tear off every yoke? 7Isn’t it to share your food with the hungry, take poor, homeless people into your house, cover with clothes anyone you see naked, and not turn away from your own kin? 8Then your light will break through like the dawn, and you will quickly be healed. Your righteousness will go ahead of you, and the LORD’s glory will protect you from behind. 9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer. You will look for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am!”

What is the kind of fasting the LORD will honor? When the ropes of wickedness are untied and the bands of yoke among us are undone. What does this mean? First, inwardly we are to recognize our sins against the LORD and against our neighbor and confess them to the LORD with a contrite heart and a broken spirit. We are to cast ourselves upon the mercy of our God found in Christ Jesus. Then we are called to loose any bonds that we may have bound upon others, literally i.e. enslaved them and spiritually, we forgive them their sins and have mercy upon them.

The LORD wants us not so much to not eat to share our food with those who have none or who are lacking. The LORD wants us to provide shelter for the poor and homeless even if it means taking them into our own homes. The LORD wants us to clothe those who are not clothed appropriately for the season. The LORD wants us to take care of our own people, our relatives. “But wait!”, you may say, “I thought you said it wasn’t about works and rituals.” And you are correct. If you are doing these things just to try to manipulate the LORD your God and it’s not because your heart compelled you to do these things out of love for your neighbor, the LORD still isn’t going to listen to you. But that is why I started off with having a contrite and broken heart that trust you are forgiven for Christ’s sake. If that is your starting point, then you will be doing these things for the right reason, love for your neighbor.

For if the LORD our God, Jesus Christ, has fed us with daily bread, if he has given us his own flesh to eat in his body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, if we recognize he has clothed us with garments and wrapped up with his own righteousness, if we believe he has given us our house and home now and has gone to prepare an eternal home for us at his return, if we believe he clothes us with our raiment and also clothes us with his righteousness, then we will have the heart that compels us to do the things our LORD and Father requires of us with a right spirit. We also won’t be doing them to manipulate God nor because they are commanded of us but with the heart of God. Chances are, the things we are praying for will also be different and not selfish and self-centered.

Your righteousness, Christ, will go before you and the LORD’s glory will go behind you, just like the Israelites at the Red Sea. You will call for God’s help and he will answer you, for having such a heart is praying in Christ’s name. You will look for help and he will say, “Here I am!”

Heavenly Father, may your Holy Spirit produce in us contrite hearts and a broken spirit that we may look for your mercy in Christ Jesus your son and having received mercy from you we would extend that mercy to those we meet. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The LORD Our God Doesn’t Practice Magick

#DailyDevotion The LORD Our God Doesn’t Practice Magick

Isaiah 583”‘Why don’t You see our fasting? Why don’t You know how we deny ourselves? Look, when you fast, you do what you want; you mistreat all your workers.’ 4Look, you know you fast only to quarrel and fight and hit with a wicked fist. The fasting you do now will not get you a hearing above. 5Is this the kind of fasting I want, when a man denies himself for a day? Is it to bow your head like a cattail and make your bed of sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this fasting, a day that pleases the LORD?”

The LORD, the God of Israel, doesn’t practice magick. What do I mean by magick? Magick is like chemistry and is very transactional on spiritual level. If you do x, y and z and you say the right words the a, b and c will happen. The Israelites are practicing magick here. They think if they fast, if they don’t eat, if the perform the appropriate rituals, then the LORD has to answer their prayers and perform for them what they want him to do.

Yet that is not how the LORD works. A lot of Christians think the LORD operates this way as well. If they say the prayer of Jabez then things will go great for them. If say this prayer from the bible or that prayer from the bible, God will hear and perform. Many believe if they tithe their income then the LORD will have to bestow blessings upon them. If they fast then the LORD will have to hear, listen and perform according to their wishes. Yet the LORD doesn’t work like that.

Yes the LORD wants us to pray and prayers from the Bible are good examples to follow and to do. Yes, the LORD does promise to reward those who give to him. Yes, it is a good practice to fast and humble yourselves before the LORD. But the LORD our God doesn’t look merely at the outward actions of men to decide how to respond to them.

Look at how the LORD responds to their complaint! When they fast they are acting according to their own selfish wills and desires. They are sinning by mistreating their workers. When they fast they are quarreling and fist fighting. The LORD asks, “Is this the kind of thing I’m asking for when I call you to fast?”

1 Sam. 16:7 “the LORD looks into the heart.” Yes, our intentions the LORD looks at when we perform the outward signs he commands. Not only were the Israelites not right in their hearts towards the LORD when they performed their religious acts, the rest of their lives also witnessed to their wicked hearts. Their lives were self-centered, selfish and were only thinking of themselves. They did think about being good to others because they loved God. No, in their hearts they hated God and thought he could be bargained with by mere actions, rituals and the right words.

Jesus says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one the Father has sent and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Without fear, love and trust in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, every good thing you do is wicked before God. Everything done apart from faith is sin. If your outward actions are wicked toward your brothers, your heart is most certainly not right with God and nothing you do or say can move him to be gracious to you. So set your heart to trust God’s Son and to love your neighbor with the love God has given you.

Heavenly Father, we confess our unworthiness and beg your grace to hear our prayers.  Give us your Holy Spirit that we may act with a right heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Disciples Shouldn’t Expect An Easy Life

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Disciples Shouldn’t Expect An Easy Life

Matt. 511Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, lie and tell only evil about you on account of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven. That’s how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Now the Beatitudes get particularly personal with the disciples whom Jesus had called to follow him. Up to this point it was all 3rd person. Now Jesus is talking directly about those who are following him. What can you expect when you follow Jesus of Nazareth and are his disciple? People are going to insult you, persecute you, lie and tell only evil about you on account of Jesus. This can happen in a thousand ways. Probably not the opening lines of a sermon you’d expect from someone trying to get followers.

Yet, in spite of the persecution, Jesus tells us to rejoice and be glad. Why is that? Because you have a great reward in heaven. What sort of reward might that be? Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 4 17”The light trouble of this moment is preparing for us an everlasting weight of glory, greater than anything we can imagine.” That glory which the LORD will share with no one is ours in Christ Jesus.

Yes through patient endurance of suffering the ills of the world because you follow Jesus the Lord has great things planned for you. Rev. 2:7 “I will let you eat from the tree of life that stands in God’s Paradise.” Rev. 2:10 “I will give you the crown of life.” Rev. 2:17 “I will give you some of the hidden manna, and I will give you a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that is known only to him who gets it.” Rev. 2:26ff. “I will give you power over the nations, 27just as I received it from My Father, and you will rule them with an iron rod, shattering them like pottery. 28And I will give you the Morning Star.” Rev. 3:5 “Be victorious and that’s how you will be dressed – in white garments — and I will not erase your name from the book of life but will confess your name before My Father and before His angels Be victorious and that’s how you will be dressed – in white garments — and I will not erase your name from the book of life but will confess your name before My Father and before His angels. Rev. 3:12 “’Be victorious, and I will make you a pillar in the temple of My God, and you will never leave it again. I will write on you the name of My God and the name of the city of My God — the new Jerusalem coming down from My God in heaven – and My new name.” Rev. 3:21 “’Be victorious, and I will have you sit with Me on My throne, as I have won the victory and have sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Meanwhile until we inherit such things from our Lord Jesus Christ, we also have these promises concerning suffering persecution in this life. Paul tells us Romans 5:3ff. “we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces a genuine Christian character; and a genuine Christian character produces hope. In this hope we’re not disappointed, because the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us, poured God’s love into our hearts.” Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ uses the persecutions the world and the devils provides us to work good in us. Suffering is not without purpose or value in Christ Jesus.

Almighty and All-wise Father, grant us continually your Holy Spirit that we may remain faithful to Jesus Christ all the days of our lives that following him in sufferings and persecutions we may inherit his kingdom on the day of his revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Gathers His People & Blesses Them (i.e. You)

#DailyDevotion Jesus Gathers His People & Blesses Them (i.e. You)

Matt. 5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the hill. And when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2Then He began to teach them:

3“Blessed are those who are poor in spirit —the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 4Blessed are those who mourn -they will be comforted. 5Blessed are those who are gentle —they will own the land. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to be righteous —they will be satisfied. 7Blessed are those who are merciful —they will find mercy. 8Blessed are those whose hearts are pure —they will see God. 9Blessed are those who make peace –they will be called God’s sons. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right —the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Mountains are important in the Bible, indeed in most religious scenes. They are people go to meet God or their gods. It’s kind of a recognition that the divine is somewhere up there and mountains are the closest place to get to the divine. In the Bible, in Exodus, the LORD meets Moses and his people at Mt. Horeb or Mt. Sinai. There he gathers his people to himself and gives them his Law and makes a covenant with them. There are many other instances of the LORD meeting with his people on the mountains.

Here now the LORD Jesus gathers his disciples to himself. When he gave the Law on Sinai he began with, Ex. 202“I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves,” which was preceded by trumpet blast, fire, smoke and earthquakes. It was quite a scary scene. I’m not quite sure how comforting these words from verse two would be. Now, on another mountain top there are no trumpets, no fire or smoke, and no earthquakes. It’s quite a peaceful scene. Yet Matthew is making a connection between the two. Jesus is not a new Moses though but as one who is greater than Moses. John says, 117”The Law was given through Moses, but Jesus Christ brought grace and truth.”

This is brought out at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Does he start off with law, threats and demands? No, Jesus starts off with blessings. Many in the Church have tried to turn the Beatitudes into commands or at the very least evangelical councils or virtues. But they are none of these things. Jesus pronounces blessings on his disciples which he will fulfill in himself. By our connection or participation in Jesus through baptism, his Supper and the faith he gives us, we too will manifest these various aspects in our life: poor in spirit, mourn, gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure hearts, making peace and being persecuted.

Certainly Jesus follows these beatitudes with the Law of Moses as the LORD intended for Israel to follow and keep, which is much harder than any fallen human being could ever keep. But here are the descriptions of Jesus’ disciples, those who would trust in him, follow him and be made participants in his life. These blessings Jesus Christ, the LORD, will live in the lives of those joined to him. Paul says Gal. 2:20 “I don’t live anymore, but Christ lives in me.” Jesus will live these things in and through you and you will receive these blessings. Simply continue to participate in his life through faith, baptism and his Supper.

Heavenly Father, grant that we are joined to Christ Jesus your Son through faith and baptism and we continually participate in Christ in his holy supper that the blessings which blesses his disciples may fall upon us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Divine Work Of Jesus Alone Saves Eternally

#DailyDevotion The Divine Work Of Jesus Alone Saves Eternally

1 Cor. 130He gave you your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and ransom from sin, 31so that it may be as the Bible says: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Here is one of the most beautiful divine monergistic statements in the Bible. “Divine monergistic” you ask? Ah, well that’s fancy smancy for whatever is required for you to be saved and persevere in the faith God in Christ Jesus must do it. It means divine one work(er). He is God. Christ Jesus is God. God gave you your life, not speaking here of your animal life, i.e. your creation, breathing and the like, but your eternal life in Christ Jesus. Eternal life is to be found only in Christ Jesus. Eternal life is only given through faith (which is created by God, by the Holy Spirit, through the good news of Jesus) in Christ Jesus. (John 6, Eph. 2 and Rom. 10.) Eternal life is not given and cannot be merited, earned or by anything else you may do. It is simply a gift, a free gift of God the Father. Thanks be to God.

Christ Jesus has been made our wisdom. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can rightly understand God the Father and his ways and his thoughts (which are higher than ours). In God’s wisdom he takes his only begotten son and sends him to become one of us. In his flesh, by his obedience, by his suffering and death, by his burial and resurrection, by his ascension to the right hand of God, we are reconciled to God the Father. By these things he takes sinners, the ungodly, the weak and his enemies and makes them his friends and children: people who deserve only his eternal wrath and punishment.

Jesus is made our righteousness. “This is the name that He will be called: The-LORD-Our-Righteousness.” (Jer. 23:6) Jesus believe the Father and trusted in him. The Father credits faith as righteousness. Jesus also actively obeyed the Father according to the spirit and letter of the Law of Moses. He earned righteousness. According to his divine nature he also is righteous. God the Father made Jesus righteousness. When we believe the work God did in and through Jesus on our behalf, he credits that faith as righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus, the righteousness of God.

Jesus is our holiness. We cannot stand before God in our unrighteous and unholy state. The Father set apart his son, Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world to the sacrifice for sin. To be set apart for God is to be holy. In baptism into Jesus, God joins us to Jesus. We are made holy, set apart for God’s use in that act by the Father. Jesus’ holiness becomes our own holiness. We are clothed in Jesus and his holiness being joined to his body in baptism.

Jesus is our ransom. The blood shed by Jesus on the cross is our ransom price. His life offered up for ours is the ransom from sin and death: a sin and death that is rightly ours. If Jesus did not provide his life blood as a ransom for us, death and the grave which are cast into the Lake of Fire would be our lot. The Father by his gracious hand gave us Jesus instead.

So the only boast is in Jesus Christ, the divine worker of our salvation.

O loving God and Father, you made Jesus our salvation. Grant us faith to boast only his work for our salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.