Bible Readings and Devotion for January 13, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible.
Devotion for January 13, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Ephesians 2:8-10, which read, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
This passage reminds us of the proper role of good works in our lives of faith. Being good and doing good and right things is not to bring about our salvation from the power of sin, death and evil. There is nothing we can do to overcome sin on our own. Instead, we rely upon the grace of God brought to us by the work of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not and cannot look to our own power, for it is both insufficient and it is not how God works things for our life and hope and salvation. We simply rely upon what God has done for us in Jesus.
Verse 10 of that passage from Ephesians does tell us to do good things. These are good works and right actions are the holy and good results of God’s work for us. Restoring us to fellowship with God and a life of good works is the plan and purpose for what Jesus has done. Good works are good, but these do not save us. Good works are the fruit of God’s work to save us.
Here are two good reasons for doing good in response to God’s grace.
Martin Luther is said to have noted something like this: “God does not need our good works, but our neighbors do.” In other words, we are saved by God’s power. The good things we do are to build up and benefit the lives of the people we encounter in this life.
The second reason is noted in our reading today. In Matthew 5:16 we read the words of Jesus: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Jesus teaches us to serve and love our neighbors so they will see God’s love for them. As they see God’s love, they will respond by giving glory and praise to God.
There are two responses to God’s love. One is to glorify and worship the Lord. The second is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
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