Bible Readings and Devotion for July 15, 2020
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Devotion for July 15, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
I heard a person say once, “If you just live the Ten Commandments, you will get to go to heaven when you die.” He was wrong, at least from a Biblical and Christian understanding. For if this were true, then it would be all of up to us. We would be judge, jury, and executioner. We would be a wildly subjective arbiter of all. We would be in the place of God. Remember, God is God, and we are not.
Our reading today from Psalm 37 is an Old Testament reminder that true life and hope and salvation are a gift which only God can offer and provide. We read in verse 39, “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.” The powerful work which rescues us from the chasm of sin, death and evil is what Jesus has first done for us. He meets us in death and sin, and the power of our sin is killed on the cross. He leads us to life with God as he is raised from the dead. This is from God.
We cannot do what is necessary to overcome that which holds us down. We cannot do what is necessary to be raised out of the death which comes from our sin. As we learn from God’s Word, it is the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and his rising from the dead, which provide God’s power and way to save us. This is all by the work and strength of God. Remember, God is God and we are not.
As we move through this life we are given what we need to live. We are given God’s righteousness. This is brought to us by God’s gift of the, “Great Exchange.” or the, “Sweet Swap.” At the cross our sin is given to, is put upon, Jesus. In exchange, our sin is swapped out with God’s powerful and abundant righteousness. God imparts righteousness to us, and we are then made righteous.
Our righteousness is from God. So, God gives us a right relationship with himself, and this saves us from the final power which sin, death, and evil holdover us. It is all a gift of God, or as St. Paul taught, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our righteousness is not from living the Ten Commandments perfectly.
Merciful God, you give us the grace that helps in time of need. Surround us with your steadfast love and lighten our burden. By the power of your Spirit, free us from distress and give us a new mind and heart made whole in the name of the risen Christ. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.