Thursday, April 9th

Thursday, April 9th

Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. Galatians 2:16, 19

Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. Romans 3:19-28

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death. Philippians 3:7-10

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses .... Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:16-18, 24-25

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Galatians 6:14-16

The Scriptures reveal to us over and over again what God is like. They show us that he is both a righteous God and a loving God. As a righteous God he requires righteousness to come forth from the lives of all people throughout all time. The Scriptures show us over and over again the righteousness he expects from his people. Our orientation is to try to measure up to what we think God expects. Our orientation to try to measure up often comes from the following: Confusion about the role of the law, ongoing influence of Christian teaching from the past that mixes works with grace, our own propensity for wanting to achieve, being around others who are caught up in the confusion of mixing works with grace.

Today's devotional includes a lot of Scripture. They combine together to make a rather convincing statement that "measuring up" is not in the picture when Christ is truly in the picture. The law requires people to measure up. But the law wasn't given with the expectation that we would measure up but rather with the expection that it would show us and convince us that we cannot measure up. This is the dilemma we have: God expects total rightousness but we are not able to achieve it. This is the "announcement" the law brings to us and it is "bad news" so to speak.

The announcement of the angel, "He is Risen," is "Good News" because it proclaims once and for all that we don't have to measure up because Christ "measures up" for us. Jesus lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life when he was here and in doing so perfectly fulfilled the requirements of the law. By doing this he showed that he could be the perfectly righteous and sinless substitute for us through his death on the cross. The consequences for our failure to measure up to God's requirement of total righteousness were paid for by Christ through his sacrifice once and for all. Through the resurrection of Christ physical death was conquered but it also proves that what Christ is said to have accomplish through his death on the cross really happened.

We see in all of this how the announcement by the angel, "He is Risen," is "Good News." But there is one more way that his "Resurrection" is "Good News." This additional way has been our emphasis throughout this week of daily devotionals: The full outcome of the resurrection is that we have a Risen Savior and Lord who dwells in the core of our being. Jesus Christ is alive in our hearts for the fellowship of intimate communion with him and the producing of his righteousness in and through us as the result of our intimate relationship with him. So, Jesus is our substitute for living the Christian life as well. His resurrection life brings forth from our lives the righteousness our righteous God expected to come forth from the beginning.

Lord, I ask that you come to me and powerfully extract from heart and mind all that remains there of an orientation to try to measure up. To a greater degree than ever before, Lord, fill my heart with a deep, abiding, and confident trust in the full provision that is mine in Christ. Lord, I rest in the full outcome of the "Good News" of the resurrection.

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