#DailyDevotion Are You Thirsty?

#DailyDevotion Are You Thirsty?

John 45He came to a town in Samaria by the name of Sychar, near the piece of land Jacob gave his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s Well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from traveling, sat down by the well. It was about six in the evening 7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give Me a drink,” Jesus said to her. 8His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 9The Samaritan woman asked Him: “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” Jews, you see, don’t drink from the same jar with Samaritans. 10“If you knew what God is giving,” Jesus answered her, “and Who it is that says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11“Sir, you have nothing to draw water with,” she told Him, “and the well is deep. Where can you get living water from a spring? 12Are you greater than Jacob, our ancestor, who gave us the well? 13“Everyone who drinks this water,” Jesus answered her, “will get thirsty again. 14Anyone who drinks the water I’ll give him will never get thirsty again. But the water I’ll give him will be in him a spring of water bubbling up to everlasting life.”

So we’re probably familiar with this account from Jesus’ life. He meets this Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and asks her to give him some water. So right off the bat we have the issue of Jews and Samaritans not getting along which goes back some 400 plus years in history. She’s kind of wondering what is going on as well. Jesus tells her if she knew the kind of gifts God gives she would be asking him for living water. (Now normally living water is running water as opposed to pond or well water). Rightly so, she goes straight to thinking about the well and well, regular water. Jesus has a greater meaning. “The gift of God” Jesus spoke of clues us into that. That gift is the living water Jesus refers to. God is the giver of good gifts. He gives material gifts and he gives spiritual gifts. The gift giving God and his son Jesus Christ are bringing this woman to the knowledge of who she is talking to and what he wants to give her.

Jesus is still trying to clue her in to the gift God wants to give her through him, but she is focused on Jesus is not Jacob and he doesn’t have any water fetching devices. Shoot, he asked her for a drink! What’s he talking about? Jesus tries to make it clear the water he is talking about is not the everyday water we drink from but something different. Drinking this water makes you never thirsty again and you can only get it from Jesus. So what is this water?

The Psalms tell us 464”There is a river whose streams delight God’s city, the holy place where the most high God lives.” John in Revelation 22, “Then he showed me a river of the water of life bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb land down the middle of the street of the city.” The Spirit says in Rev. 22:17 “If you are thirsty, come. If you want it, take the water of life as a free gift.” In John 6, Jesus says, 54“If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have everlasting life, and I will raise you on the last day.” This living water is the life and the Spirit of Jesus who gives us his life and Spirit freely. When he gives it to us to drink and we believe it we no longer have to thirst for righteousness because he fills us with his own, as a gift, freely and fully.

Merciful God and Father, you sent Jesus to restore back to us the living waters of his life and Spirit. Grant us faith to drink of his water so we may have eternal life within ourselves and never thirst again. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Weak, Ungodly, Sinners & Enemies Of God

#DailyDevotion Weak, Ungodly, Sinners & Enemies Of God

Romans 5:6–8 6At the right time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7a man will hardly die for a righteous person; oh, for a kind person someone may dare to die. 8But God shows how He loves us by this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Ungodly, the weak, sinners, and enemies, is who Christ Jesus died for. If you are not one of these or if you have never been one of these Jesus didn’t die for you. His death on the cross does not avail for you. For those are the people St. Paul says Christ died for. It’s not a very complimentary thing to say. Then again, no one likes it when the doctor diagnoses us with something terminal or anything bad. Sometimes there’s no nice way to say something.

If you do not think this applies to you, Paul says earlier in Romans about you, Rom 3:9-12 “ What then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all. We have already accused everyone, Jews and Greeks, that they are under sin, 10as the Bible says: No one is righteous, no, not one. 11No one understands. No one is searching for God. 12All have turned away and have one and all become worthless. ” He writes elsewhere, Eph 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…”

Thanks be to God “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Yes it was at the right time this happened. All of history was moving to this point on Good Friday. It was the time when the Gospel would spread quickly because the Pax Romana and the hellenization of the world in which the good news of Jesus would spread. He died for those who did not hold to the confession of Jesus’ name.

We were sinners when Jesus died for us. This demonstrated God love for us. He would sacrifice his son on the beams of the cross. Pouring out his life for death that our death may be overcome with his life, the death we deserve he takes as his own. His blood justifies us, declares us not guilty and calls us innocent and righteous. His blood saves us from God’s wrath as the blood of the Passover lamb saved those firstborn when the angel of death went over Egypt.

Jesus’ death reconciled us who were God’s enemies. Not only does the wrath of God not fall upon us because of Jesus’ death but Jesus’ life now becomes our life. He gives us eternal life now as we put our trust in work at Calvary. Nothing can take this eternal life from us. Now we rejoice in God through Jesus Christ. We are new people, a new creation, no longer weak, ungodly, sinners and enemies of God we have become his beloved children.

Merciful God and Father, through the shedding of blood and death of your only begotten son Jesus Christ you have reconciled yourself to us and to the world. Grant us faith that we may receive this reconciliation, be joined to his life and praise you unto eternity. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Rejoice When Suffering? Are You Mad?

#DailyDevotion Rejoice When Suffering? Are You Mad?

Romans 53More than that, we also boast of our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces a genuine Christian character; and a genuine Christian character produces hope. 5In this hope we’re not disappointed, because the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us, poured God’s love into our hearts.

Is Paul crazy? Who on earth would rejoice in sufferings over and above the hope of the glory of God? It certainly isn’t easy and I don’t ever get there quickly is sometimes ever. Yet this is what St. Paul points us to do when experiencing suffering. For our suffering in Christ is not in vain.

When in the midst of suffering it is difficult to remember Paul’s promises here which can help if we do remember them. First, that suffering produces endurance. Each time we suffer in Christ we are strengthened a little bit more. While suffering we may wish God would just let us be a little weaker. But as the author of Hebrews reminds us, 125”And you have forgotten the encouragement spoken to you as sons: My son, don’t think lightly of the Lord’s training or give us when He corrects you. 6The Lord corrects whom He loves, and He whips everyone He accepts as His son. 7What you endure is to correct you. God is treating you as His sons.” And He says, 12 10”But He corrects us for our good, to have us share His holiness. 11While we’re being corrected, it always seems unpleasant and painful. But after we’ve been trained, correction gives us the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

This patient endurance our Father is working in us through suffering produces a genuine Christian character. A Christian character is one that is tried and proven in a time of need. Such character has integrity and can be depended on when times get rough. It will do what needs to be done when it is called upon for service. It will not falter when called to work, such was Peter after Pentecost and Paul during his hardships as a missionary and apostle.

This Christian character produces hope. Hope, that sure and certain, not wishful thinking, which gives us light as we travel throughout the darkness of the tunnel that there is a light at the end. That light is Christ and the resurrection to an eternal inheritance and the end of all suffering and pain. This hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit poured God’s love into our hearts; he has poured Jesus into our hearts. We have the abiding presence of our LORD Jesus Christ even when we do not feel it. We may cry out with him, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” and continue to the hope found in the rest of Psalm 22, 24“For He did not despise or abhor the Sufferer’s suffering, nor hide His face from Him. But when He called to Him for help, He listened to Him.” Yes, our God hears our cries and dispatches to us the help we need. Our suffering is not our own but is Christ Jesus’ as Paul says in 2Cor. 15“As Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so Christ makes our comfort overflow.” As we suffer with Christ, so too God’s comfort will overflow in our hearts as well. We don’t go through it alone but with Jesus.

Almighty God and Father, your bring suffering into our lives to train us as your children so we may reach the fullness of your son Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit remind of your promises in the midst of suffering and may our ears be prepared to receive it through our fellow Christians that we may be comforted by them and your word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion We Boast In The Hope Of God’s Glory

#DailyDevotion We Boast In The Hope Of God’s Glory

Romans 5 Now that we have been declared righteous through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2who gave us access to God’s grace, in which we stand. We boast in the hope of God’s glory.

Paul has been spending four chapters now setting up the gospel proposition that we are justified, declared righteous through faith. We are all sinners. There is no one who does good, no not one. There is no law or commandment we can obey which declares us righteous because the Law brings wrath. We all are utterly sinful both Jew and Gentile in our natural state and so are equally condemned by God and deserve to die eternally.

Yet, God made promises to Abraham and those promises had the power to create faith in him and that faith is credited by God as righteousness. Abraham was justified before God because he believed the promises of God. In similar fashion, those who believe the promise of God that Christ Jesus atoned for the sin of the world are justified like Abraham, declared righteous, though they are ungodly, and that fail is also credited to us as righteousness. We who believe, (who have faith) are Abraham’s descendents, both Jew and Gentiles.

Having been justified we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ. Yes, we have peace. We have a clean conscience before God because our sins have been atone for by the blood of Jesus and have been washed by that blood in the waters of baptism (water and the name of God). The Father has been reconciled to us by the blood of Jesus and no longer counts our trespasses against us. (2Cor. 5) Our relationship with the Father has been restored. We don’t need to hide like our parents did because we are no longer naked but clothed with the very righteousness of Christ Jesus.

Having a clean conscience and peace with God we have access to God’s grace in which we stand. God’s good favor allows us access to the throne of the Father. We can boldly come before him and ask for whatever we want (according to the new man/nature). We are seated with Christ in the heavenly places and are promised at the resurrection we will sit on our Father’s throne with Jesus. We need not timidly ask the Father to do for us what he has promise but with the boldness of faith place into his ears the promises he has made to us in the Word.

Finally, we boast in the hope of God’s glory. Yes, it is our hope to bear the eternal weight of God’s glory at the resurrection. (2 Cor. 4) Peter reminds us that through these very promises of Christ we are participants in the divine nature. The glory we saw in Christ’s transfiguration is to be ours as we behold him and transformed to be like him. (1 John 3) Yes, we are called to participate and share in the glory of Christ even as now we are being transformed inwardly from one glory to the next. The glory is such that Sts. Paul, Peter and John have difficulty describing it, and so therefore we do to, but boast in it because it is the work of Christ the LORD in us and for us.

Heavenly Father, you have given us exceedingly great and wondrous promises, declaring us righteous for the sake of Jesus and promising us his glory. Grant that we continue in this faith so we may receive the promised glory on the day of Christ revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion What Do You Do When There Is Trouble?

#DailyDevotion What Do You Do When There Is Trouble?

Exodus 17 Breaking camp as the LORD directed them, the whole congregation of Israel left the desert of Sin and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarreled with Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they said. “Why quarrel with me? Moses asked them. “Why test the LORD?” 3So there the people were thirsty for water, and they grumbled against Moses. “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt?” they asked. “To have us, our children, and our livestock die of thirst?” 4Moses cried to the LORD. “What should I do with these people?” he asked. “They’re almost stoning me.” 5“Go ahead of the people,” the LORD told Moses. “Take with you some of the elders of Israel, take in your hand the rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will flow from it, and the people will drink.” Moses did this while the elders of Israel watched him. 7He called that place Massah [Testing] and Meribah [Quarrel] because Israel quarreled there and tested the LORD, asking, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

On the one hand you can hardly blame the Israelites. They were led to camp at a place that had no water. On the other hand when they recognized a need, what did they do? The grumbled, complained and quarreled with Moses. Moses identifies their problem, they were quarreling with Moses and they were testing the LORD.

These people had seen the wonders the LORD performed in Egypt. They saw the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night hold off the Egyptian army. They saw the Red Sea parted and they walked through the walls of the water on dry ground. Yet they did not trust the LORD was with them. In their need, they didn’t turn to the LORD. They 1. didn’t trust the LORD was going to take care of them in their need and 2. they didn’t turn to the LORD for help. No, they grumbled and complained against Moses and against God.

So what about you? What do you do when you have a need? What do you do when there’s something you don’t like at Church? When things are crazy in your life what is your response to it. Well you could do what the Israelites did, go to the wrong person, grumble and complain. You could test the LORD and not rely upon the LORD to know your need and to take care of you. You could take matters into your own hands and do whatever it takes to fix the problem. Generally what you, on your own, will be according to your own selfish, self-centered notions and you will probably make more trouble than if you just left it alone.

But what should you do? What should the Israelites have done? First, trust the LORD is with you always. Didn’t he promise us at the end of Matthew, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”? The LORD Jesus Christ never leaves us or forsakes us. Second, believe your Father in heaven knows what you need even before you ask him. (Matt. 6:8, 6:32) Thirdly, open your mouth and ask the LORD your God, your heavenly Father for what you need. Jesus directly in Matt. 6:9 to say the Lord’s Prayer. Then trust your Father in heaven will do for you what is needed for Jesus’ sake.

Almighty God, merciful Father, give us your Holy Spirit that we may not doubt your presence among us in the midst of our trials and tribulations but rather turn you for every good in every need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion You Have A Disease & God Has The Cure

#DailyDevotion You Have A Disease & God Has The Cure

John 314“As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up 15so that everyone who believes in Him has everlasting life. 16God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. 17You see, God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.

Often the antidote is in the cause of the disease. Antibiotics and vaccinations are made from the bacteria and virii that cause the disease. In the Old Testament lesson Jesus refers to, the Israelites were being bitten by snakes the LORD had sent to punish them because of their sin and they were dying. As an antidote, the LORD had Moses make a bronze snake on a pole and when anyone looked at the bronze snake they were healed. I find it very interesting the LORD did not take away the snakes or keep them from biting, don’t you?

Our disease is sin and death. Sin perpetuates more sin and sin perpetuates death. Dying from the flu or corona virus is just a symptom of our sin and mortal nature (cause by sin). How will we escape from our death?  Jesus shows us the antidote. The Son of Man must be lifted up. Jesus must be put on a pole. There on the pole we will see the disease of our sin and death. Jesus takes both into himself. Everyone who looks to Jesus on the cross and believes in him is healed, is saved from their sin and death. We are given everlasting life. Like the snakes in the desert the cure doesn’t keep sin and death from taking bites out of us. We still sin. Our bodies still die. We still keep looking to Jesus Christ and him crucified so we may have everlasting life in ourselves. They final state of the cure is our bodily resurrection on the Last Day. We live now, day to day, trusting in this promise.

And this cure is for all; the promise is for all. That favorite bible verse of everyone, which is perverted by many and turned into law tells us (the most important part of the verse) God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son. This is the most important phrase in this verse. This part of the verse creates the faith required in the second half of the verse. God so loved the world. The world means everyone and everything. No one is excluded. The LORD God, the Creator of everything seen and unseen wants YOU to be certain of his love. So Jesus declares that love for the world, no one and nothing excluded. To say that God doesn’t love you is to say you don’t exist or Jesus is a liar. Neither is true. You exist; you are part of the world. God loved you and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for sin being lifted up upon the cross. If you doubt his love find a tree, find two intersecting lines and know on the cross God showed his love for you in Christ Jesus.

Now my favorite verse is 17, “God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” What is more good news than that? Jesus didn’t come to condemn but to save. Jesus doesn’t approve of or excuse sin. He takes it into himself, pays the price for it and saves the world from it and its consequences, i.e. eternal death. He then gives us his life, everlasting life for free, as a gift. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Merciful and Kind Father, you loved the world and didn’t want to condemn it for its sin so you sent your only-begotten Son Jesus to take our sin upon himself on the cross. Grant us faith to believe in your great love for us and in what Jesus has done for us so we may possess eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Are You Born From Above?

#DailyDevotion Are You Born From Above?

3 Now, there was a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council. 2He came to Jesus one night. “Rabbi,” he said to Him, “we know You’re a teacher who has come from God. No one can do these miracles You do unless God is with him.” 3“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered him, “if anyone isn’t born from above, he can’t see God’s kingdom.” 4“How can anyone be born when he’s old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “He can’t go back into his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” 5“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered him, “if anyone isn’t born of water and the Spirit, he can’t get into God’s kingdom. 6Anything born of the flesh is flesh, but anything born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Don’t be surprised when I tell you you must all be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9“How can that be?” Nicodemus asked Him. 10“You are the teacher in Israel,” Jesus said to him, “and don’t know this? 11I tell you the truth, We tell what We know, and We testify to what we have seen. But you people don’t accept our testimony. 12If you don’t believe the earthly things I told you, how will you believe Me if I tell you heavenly things?

People are kind of strange, are we not? Here we have a teacher of Israel who believes God is with Jesus yet comes to him in the dead of night because he is afraid of his fellow ruling Jews. It’s like he has completely forgotten his Old Testament lessons about how God was with David and those with David always fared well while those who opposed David always fared poorly. So are you an open disciple of Jesus, trusting what the LORD says about those who are with him or do you secretly follow him in fear of what other may think and do to you?

But nevertheless, Jesus sees our great weakness and instructs us concerning the kingdom of God and salvation. If we would enter the kingdom of God be must be born from above (many translations say again but above is better). That is to say we must be born of God. Now Nicodemus thinks again instead of above because he asks about entering the womb a second time. But there is no reincarnation. Jesus explains we must be born of the water and the Spirit. Jesus is not saying merely getting wet makes us born from above but that the Holy Spirit must be operative in this baptism. Paul in Eph. 5 says that we are cleansed by the “water and the word.” The Word and the Spirit always go together giving birth in and through the water to give us new life. Yes, the Spirit with the Word, the name of God, attaches himself to the water so we may be certain and sure of God’s action here gives us faith and regenerates our spirit and makes it alive again.

Yes we must be “born…of God” John tells in 1:13. The flesh, our old Adam can only give birth to flesh. As the Law testifies in Gen. 5:1 we begotten into this world according the image and likeness of Adam after the fall. He was dead and Eve was dead, without the Spirit of God or his life in them as they gave birth to children. So if we are to have life, if we are to enter God’s kingdom, then we must be born from above, born of the Spirit, born of God. The Spirit gives birth to spirit through the word of God, i.e. the promises of God. In baptism we have the promise of God putting his name on us and making us his temples. There he gives us his Holy Spirit and gives us life again and makes us his children.

Merciful God and Father, you give us new birth from above through the water and the word of baptism. Grant us true faith through these means so we may truly be your children and live forever with you in your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The World Is Your Oyster Through Faith

#DailyDevotion The World Is Your Oyster Through Faith

Romans 413It was not by the Law that Abraham or his descendants received the promise that he would inherit the world, but it was by the righteousness of faith. 14For if the Law is the way to inherit, then faith has been made worthless and the promise has been made powerless. 15No, the Law brings God’s anger on us, and only where there is no Law there is no breaking of the Law. 16Therefore the promise is by faith that it might come to us by grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the descendants, not only to those who live by the Law but also to those who only believe as Abraham did. He is the father of all of us, 17as it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” Standing before God, Abraham believed God makes the dead live and calls into being that which doesn’t exist.

So we see that the Law has no standing to make us righteous before God. No, before there was any Law the LORD made Promises to Abraham and his descendents. This promise is Abraham and his descendents would inherit the world and not just a strip of land on the eastern side of the Mediterranean. Now these descendents are those who have faith in God’s promises even as Abraham did. Not just the physical descendents but all those who have the faith of Abraham become his descendents. The righteousness of faith is that which receives that which is promised.

If you could inherit the world by obeying the Law then faith is worthless and the promise has no power. Paul makes it clear here, the Law brings God’s anger on us. Later he would say God gave the Law to increase trespasses so sin could be utterly sinful. But the promise of God has the power to do what he promises. The promise of God renews, resurrects, give faith and makes alive that which is dead, including our souls and spirits.

The promise of God creates faith in us so that by that faith that we may receive what is promised by grace. Grace, God’s undeserved favor, kindness, mercy, love and forgiveness, is why God promises and why he fulfills his promise. When God makes a promise it is sure and certain. The promise is by faith so we can we sure, both to those who lived under the Law (Jews) and those who believed without the Law (Gentiles) as Abraham did.  Therefore St. Paul says, “He is the father of us all.” For the LORD had promised Abraham, “I have made you a father of many nations.” A man who was as good as dead with a wife whose womb was dead the LORD makes a promise of a descendent, many descendents and being the father of all who would place their faith in his seed, Jesus Christ the LORD.

“Abraham believed God makes the dead live and calls into being that which doesn’t exist.” Yes he made dead Abraham and the dead womb of Sarah live. Even as the LORD created all that exist out of nothing, he makes the seed of Abraham in the womb of Sarah a child. He makes the seed of Mary a child. He believed God could raise the dead as he offered up Isaac. (Heb. 11) He takes we who are foolish, weak, enemies of God, the ungodly, sinners, those who are nothing in the world and by the promise of salvation and victory through Jesus Christ he makes children for Abraham out of us dead stones and makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ of the new heavens and new earth, heirs of God’s kingdom. We receive the resurrection from the dead into everlasting life through the promise which is received by the faith created by the power of that very promise. So it only by grace and not by anything we did or anything we avoided doing.

Almighty God and Father, continually give us your promise that faith may be created in us and sustained that we may be children of Abraham. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Ungodly? Good News, God Declares You’re Righteous!

#DailyDevotion Ungodly? Good News, God Declares Your Righteous!

Romans 4What should we say Abraham, our natural ancestor, found? 2If he was declared righteous by what he did, he had something to boast about. But he couldn’t boast before God. 3What does the Bible say? “Abraham believed God and so he was counted righteous.”

4If you work, your pay isn’t considered a gift but a debt. 5But if instead of working you believe in Him Who declares the ungodly righteous, your faith is counted as righteousness. 6So David calls the man blessed whom God counts righteous apart from what he does: 7“Blessed are you if your wrongs are forgiven and your sins are covered. 8Blessed are you if the Lord doesn’t count sins against you.”

This is something that often confuses people, “before God and before man.” Why the difference? Because God alone can read the heart and he alone knows all things. He could be declared righteous before men. That is something he could boast about (if he wanted to boast). Before the world Abraham was a good man, well except for that whole lying about Sarah being his sister to a couple of rulers. It caused those guys a whole lot of trouble. We look at most people and think they are basically good people. On a human scale you are right. But the LORD has a different scale. He’s on one end and you’re on the other. You are not going to measure up.

Thankfully, we have these words from Paul and him quoting Genesis, “Abraham believed God and so he was counted righteous.” Abraham could never measure up to God. God made promises to Abraham and Abraham believed those promises. God counts this faith (which is a gift of God Eph. 2) as righteousness, more specifically, his righteousness. This is a gift God gives to us. You can try working, obeying the law of God in order to be righteous before God, but you already know, at least you do now, that doing that won’t work. You could try to put God in your debt by your works, but you owe God your good works anyway and you don’t even do those correctly 100%.  So even in your good works, you have built up a debt to God you cannot pay.

Yet we have this wonderful thing the LORD our God has set up. Instead of working for righteousness he gives it to us as a gift. He promises you that the righteousness that is Christ Jesus is credited to your account. He promises your debt to him has been paid by Jesus’ death on the cross. His promise is that Jesus declares you who are ungodly as righteous. If this is what you believe, your faith is counted as righteousness just as Abraham’s was counted righteous. Can you see Satan stomping his feet as the LORD Jesus Christ declares ungodly people as being righteous, having the righteousness of God? Yet that is what he does.

Paul then brings David into the argument. We are blessed if the LORD doesn’t count our sins against us. We are blessed because the LORD Jesus Christ counts us righteous apart from what we have done. We are counted righteous because of what He does and doesn’t do—covers our sins with his righteousness and doesn’t count our sins against us. You may think this isn’t fair. Do you really want what is fair? What is fair is you are condemned for all eternity because of just one of your sins. God’s fairness is He takes what you deserve and places it upon Jesus and treats Jesus as you deserve to be treated. Jesus does this willingly because he loves you and wants you to be saved. Salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned or merited.

Heavenly Father, grant us faith in Jesus who declares us ungodly people as righteous so we may be credited with your righteousness and be saved. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.