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Daily Devotions

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” vs. 36 John 8:34-36 In his treatise, “The Freedom of the Christian,” Martin Luther famously wrote, “A Christian is the most free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is the most dutiful servant of all, subject to everyone.” Those words sum up the paradoxical nature of our life as followers of Jesus, and provide a corrective to those who believe that being free in Christ means…

Daily Devotions

For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” vss. 22b-24 Romans 3:19-25 For years Martin Luther struggled with his own sinfulness, believing that there had to be some way by which he could, by his own effort, be free from the horrible burden of guilt. But nothing worked, and his anguish continued until…

Daily Devotions

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” vs. 4 Romans 6:3-11 For Paul the crucifixion of Jesus was the central part of the gospel, and as he pondered it through his life he realized that unless believers embraced Jesus’ death, their lives would likely remain unchanged. In fact he saw the…

Daily Devotions

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”  vs. 1 Psalm 51:1-17 There are likely few people who believe they never do anything wrong. Aside from the narcissists scattered among us most of us are deeply aware of our own sins and transgressions. We know that we have injured ourselves and others with hurtful words and deeds and are often troubled with feelings of guilt and remorse. Certainly…

Daily Devotions

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” vs. 36 John 8:31-38 In Christ we live by grace and truth and not by the law–and this is all a gift, not our own doing. Therefore, John tells us, we have been set free, and furthermore as Paul told the Galatians, since we have been set free, we should never again submit to the slavery of the law. These are important truths, ones that we learn to…

Daily Devotions

The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’” vs. 12 Genesis 3:11-15 The ancient storytellers nailed it in this account of divine-human interaction in the Garden of Eden. When the man is confronted by the Lord there isn’t a hint of remorse and certainly no acknowledgement of guilt. Already alienated, the man shifts the blame to the woman, and ultimately to God. This big mess is…

Daily Devotions

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” vss. 8-9             1 John 1:8-2:2 For some these are familiar words. They were once said by pastors as an invitation to confession in nearly every regular worship service. We might not have known them as bible verses, but we…

Daily Devotions

You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” vss. 5-6 1 John 3:4-7 Just a few paragraphs earlier John had told his readers that anyone who said they did not sin was a liar, and we would heartily agree. That certainly fits our experience! But he doesn’t mean to imply that we should…

Daily Devotions

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” vs. 1 Hebrews 12:1-3 Preachers often use sports metaphors to make points about our life in faith, and the writer to the Hebrews is no exception. Unfortunately, he didn’t know anything about golf, the most metaphoric game of all, but he…

Daily Devotions

 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?” vs. 9 Isaiah 50:4-9a Lent is a time for us to focus on our sin, humbly confess our iniquities, and pray for the restoration of our hearts. One of the by-products of such introspection can often be a strong and overwhelming sense of guilt. That’s to be expected. Sin and guilt are often partners on the journey of faith, unwelcome companions that need to be addressed and…

Daily Devotions

Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.” vs. 4 Psalm 51: 1-5 One of seven penitential psalms this prayer has often been attributed to David after his confrontation with the prophet Nathan, and the whole sorry Bathsheba affair. While its words are appropriate to such a setting, it’s unlikely that David was the author, and more likely that…

Daily Devotions

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.” vs. 6 Psalm 25:1-10 The psalmist wanted more than anything to have a solid relationship with God. He wanted to walk in the way of truth and righteousness–but he was wondering if he was going to be undone by past transgressions. Would God ultimately remember the sins of his youth and hold them against him? He’d like God to forget about…