Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trinity 6: A Devotional Commentary

Exodus 20:1-17 God spoke all these words, saying, “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Romans 6:3-11 Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 5:20-26 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, ‘You shall not murder;’ and ‘Whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.’ But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna. If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.

Unless your righteousness exceeeds that of Mother Theresa, Rick Warren, and Billy Graham combined you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. There is no grading curve. God demands absolute obedience in thought, deed, and deed to gain entrance in the kingdom. It's not enough to smile at your brother on the outside while thinking about how much you hate him inside. All that smile will earn you is a one way ticket to hell. Do you bear some hatred towards your brother over some sin that your brother is committing? Do you look down on those with different political ideas than you have? Do you look down on those who worship differently from you? Do you have "righteous anger" over sinners who don't obey God's laws the way that you do? Do you have "righteous anger" over those who are not as opened minded as you? If you do, the great prosecutor the devil will grab hold of you and bring you before God the judge and you will be judged by God's law. You will be cast into the prison of hell and you won't come out until you have paid the last penny. And you will never pay the last penny. God's law will show that your "righteous anger" is worthy of eternal punishment. This is where all your morality and good works will get you.

Turn away from your good works. Turn away from your law keeping. The only way to have a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the the scribes and the Pharisees is to be united to Jesus--the righteous One. Jesus alone is good. Jesus died on the cross for your good works and your morality. Jesus died for your law keeping. Jesus suffered and died for you.

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