Bible Readings and Devotion for October 25 and 26, 2020
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Devotion for October 25 & 26, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Some people mistakenly treat our faith as a tenuous, balancing act. They go through life worried if they have done enough good or have avoided enough wrong and sinful things. They may be worried that if the balance tilts in favor of too much sinfulness that they will be beyond God’s promises. More than a few times I have heard people note something like this, “I am too far gone for God to care about me,” or, “For too long I have messed things up, so I have given up trying to be good.”
Some others look to their own efforts as more than sufficient to earn God’s favor. Some will say, “I’m basically a good person.” This is expressed to show that they are above some line of goodness which God wants for us.
If they are talking about the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then they are truly confused. We are not in some heavenly scales, where, if we do enough good deeds, theses will outweigh our sins. We are not stuck in some situation in which from day to day we can never be sure of where we stand with the Lord.
Rather, we are sinners in need of God’s grace. Some of us do more sinful things than another, but all of us are sinners. In our reading from James 2:10-11 we read, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” Any one sin, and we are a sinner. We face God’s righteous judgment for even that one thing.
In Psalm 51:5, King David notes, “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” It is part of our human reality since the fall of our race. St. Paul tells about this in Romans 3:23b-24 where he wrote, “For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
The solution to this is not trying to be good or outweighing good over bad. The solution is to place ourselves at the powerful and loving mercy of the Lord. As Luther wrote in his final days, “We are beggars, this is true.” Christianity is full dependence upon the Lord for life, hope, salvation, and daily bread.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, but always to your glory and the welfare of your people, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen