"When God Thinks Otherwise"
Oct. 23, 2019
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.
— Romans 3:21-25a (ESV)
What a relief it must have been for the apostle Paul to receive the truth that we are justified before God not by works of the Law but by the grace of God!
Oh, the magnitude of God's grace! How it brings us—prodigal sons and daughters who were irretrievably lost—back into the fold of His creation. Though we willfully sought our own way, shunning His Word and the good witness of the faithful around us, He has led us back, given us His Son—who cleanses us from all sin—and with Him the glory of eternal life in the presence of God Himself.
The righteousness of God—the same righteousness imparted to a believing Abraham and his descendants Isaac and Jacob—is ours as believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And it's available to everyone. Receiving this perfect righteousness, this divine justification before the Law, even Paul found new life even after he had "persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it" (Galatians 1:13b).
But Paul found more than a new life—he found a new mission: "But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles" (Galatians 1:15-16a).
"Preach Him among the Gentiles"? Paul!?
Schooled for years in the pharisaic tradition, steeped in the knowledge of Jewish history and thought, trained in interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures and the voluminous commentaries that went along with it, Paul was tailor-made for proclaiming the Gospel to his fellow countrymen: the Jews.
But God had other things in mind.
How about you? Have you been receptive to God's hand in your life, even (especially) when it seemed to be leading you in a direction not anticipated? When you pray, are you open for what God has in store for you? This can be difficult. It can be demanding. But think what God can do when we yield our lives to Him.
"For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," the Scripture says. All people everywhere are in need of God's great salvation, the forgiveness of their sins that comes through faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That means those who are outside our family and closest friends, even those who are outside our ethnic background or culture, need to hear the Gospel.
Do you know anyone who could use some good news right now?
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit, lead us to speak confidently of Jesus and His love to those we know who need to hear it. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
- Has God ever "stepped" into your life in some dramatic way?
- What does it mean that "the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law"?
- How does knowing that we're all equally sinners before God figure into your witness to others?
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Has God ever "stepped" into your life in some dramatic way?