Sunday, August 14 – Can We Continue in Sin?
What should we say then? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply? Absolutely not!
How can we who died to sin still live in it?—Romans 6:1–2
A Christian has died to sin. Sin has no control over a corpse. Temptation can present itself enticingly and persistently, yet a corpse will not succumb! Before you were a Christian you were keenly susceptible to sin. Sin held you in its grip. When you became a Christian, your old self died (Gal. 2:20). Sin now has no more control over you than temptation has over a corpse. You have died to sin. You can still sin, but you are no longer in sin’s power. If you choose to succumb to temptation, you are rejecting the freedom from sin that Christ gained for you by His death.
God’s grace is a further motivation for us to resist sin. It was God’s grace that enabled Jesus to endure mocking, beating, and crucifixion at the hands of those whom He had come to save. It was grace that led God to forgive our sin despite our rebellion against Him. It is this same grace that God expresses toward us each time we sin against Him. Knowing this grace, we cannot continue to practice sin (Rom. 6:1–2). We cannot presume upon God’s forgiveness by committing further offenses.
You are no longer the helpless victim of your sin. The victory has already been won. God does not have to win a victory over your sin; He already has! You only need to apply His victory to each area of your life. If there is a sinful habit, an ungodly attitude, or an unrighteous relationship that you need to put to death, claim the victory of Christ’s resurrection today. Then you will be free to experience the abundant life that God intends for you.
Monday, August 15 – Victory over Sin
—that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness . . . so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.—Romans 3:22–26
Because of sin, Adam and Eve fell short of the perfection God intended for them. Because of sin, the Israelites relinquished the glory they could have experienced as God’s holy nation. Because of sin, Judas fell short of the opportunity to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Sin will corrupt every area of your life that it touches. Sin will cause your marriage to fall short of the promise it held in the beginning. Sin will cause you to fall short as a parent, a church member, a worshiper, or a friend. Every area in your life is susceptible to sin’s destruction.
The wonder of salvation is that God completely dealt with sin. He did what we could not do. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God, by His grace, offered His salvation and canceled the penalty of our sin. By His grace, He takes a life that has fallen short of God’s best and gives it meaning. He provides the opportunity to immediately confess our sin and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He mends a broken heart. His grace erases anger and bitterness. He restores severed relationships. He takes a life devastated by sin and makes it whole. He takes our failures and produces something good.
Only God can heal sin’s devastation. Only He can bridge the gap between His glory and your sin (Rom. 3:23). You must trust Him to do so. If you will ask Him, He will free you from the bondage of your sin, reestablish your relationship with Him, and restore you to wholeness.
Tuesday, August 16 – Hallowed Be Your Name
Your name be honored as holy.—Matthew 6:9b
Our calling as Christians is to bring glory to the name of God. God’s name represents His character. Taking the name of God in vain misrepresents God’s character to others (Exod. 20:7). As Christians, we carry the name of our Savior. The way we live and relate to others is a direct reflection on the name of Christ.
Doing something “in Jesus’ name” is to do something that is in accordance with His character (John 15:16). It means that Jesus would be pleased to join us in what we are doing. If, however, our actions detract from God’s reputation, He will jealously guard His name. Sometimes we are too concerned with protecting the reputation of people but too little concerned with protecting the holy name of God. When the Israelites profaned God’s name before the nations by the way they lived, God “hallowed” His name: He made His name holy by punishing them (Ezek. 36:22). When David sinned before his nation, God publicly disciplined him in order to protect the holiness of His name.
We can so tarnish the name father before our children that it hinders them from loving God as their heavenly Father. We can be such unforgiving Christians that our sinfulness discourages people from seeking forgiveness from our God. We can show such disrespect for God as we worship Him that those observing lose their reverence of Him as well.
Our supreme desire should be to glorify the name of God by the way we live.
We ought to pray daily, as Jesus taught us to, that God’s name be treated as holy.
Wednesday, August 17 – May God Rule in Our Midst
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.—Matthew 6:10
In heaven, God’s will is the only priority. A word from God brings angels to do His bidding, immediately and without question. Jesus instructed us to pray that God would accomplish His will in our world in the same way. This means that God’s purposes would be preeminent in our homes, our businesses, our schools, our churches, and our governments.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God’s purposes be carried out in the world around them. In modeling how they should pray, Jesus was teaching His disciples how to share God’s heart. He demonstrated this again at Gethsemane when He prayed “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). It is as we seek God’s kingdom on earth, and not our own purposes, that we gain the same mind as our heavenly Father. We become colaborers with God by praying faithfully in agreement with His desires.
As you seek the Lord’s will, He will guide your praying. He will invite you not only to pray, but also to become involved in His activity as He answers your prayer. If He places a burden upon you to pray for an individual’s salvation, that burden is also His invitation to join His activity in that person’s life. Prayer will prepare you to be a servant through whom God can bring about His will on earth. Pray that the Lord’s absolute rule on earth will begin in your life. Then watch to see how God uses you to extend His Lordship to others.
Thursday, August 18 – Daily Bread
Give us today our daily bread.—Matthew 6:11
Jesus often reminded His followers not to worry. He told them not to be anxious about tomorrow’s needs or potential problems (Matt. 6:25). Rather, Jesus stressed a daily reliance on the Father, who provides for His children day by day.
As the Israelites wandered in the desert, they had no way to get food. Miraculously, God provided manna that appeared on the ground each morning. God’s provision was sufficient for one day at a time. Each day the children of Israel received fresh manna as a tangible reminder of God’s love for them. If they attempted to store it for the days to come, they found that it had spoiled by the next day. It was impossible to stockpile God’s provision, because God wanted them to trust in Him, not in their pantry. God’s grace was sufficient for each day.
God wants us to trust Him daily with our needs. This trust does not make us poor planners or careless with our futures, unprepared to face what may come. Rather, it keeps our relationship with the Lord in its proper perspective as He reminds us daily of our dependence upon Him. God is aware of what tomorrow will bring and how we should prepare for it. He knows the problems we will face, and He has already made provision for us to overcome them. He asks us to trust in Him daily. Our faith in Him today cannot substitute for our trust in Him tomorrow. If we walk with Him closely today, we will be in the center of His will tomorrow.
Friday, August 19 – The Poor in Spirit
Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.—Matthew 5:3
The Bible presents many paradoxes that challenge our human way of thinking. We think of the poor as possessing very little, yet Jesus said the riches of heaven belong to the poor in spirit. Self-reliance robs us of God’s good gifts.
Jesus insisted that in order to follow Him we must deny self. As long as we rely on our own resources, we will never place our trust in Him. As we acknowledge the poverty of our souls, we realize how desperately we need a Savior. Jesus declared: “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17). God has so much to give the one who recognizes his need and will call upon Jesus!
Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. He had just encountered the rich ruler, who valued his possessions so much that he could not give them up to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18–24). Jesus later encountered Zaccheus, a wealthy, notorious sinner (Luke 19:1–10). Despite Zaccheus’s material wealth, he recognized his spiritual poverty and found salvation. Jesus taught the disciples that true wealth is found in a relationship with God. Those who realize their inherent spiritual poverty apart from God will trust in Him, and He will enrich their lives immeasurably. Do not allow your resources, wisdom, talent, or abilities to prevent you from trusting the Person who can bring you abundant life.
Saturday, August 20 – Those Who Mourn
Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.—Matthew 5:4
God wants us to experience His joy (John 15:11). Yet we cannot experience His joy until we have mourned over our sin. If we do not grieve over the weight of our sin, we have no concept of sin’s devastating power. If we treat our sin lightly, we demonstrate that we have no sense of the enormity of our offense against almighty God. Our sin caused the death of God’s Son. It causes us to fall short of what God intends (Rom. 3:23). It brings pain and sorrow to others, as well as to ourselves.
The Bible says that those who grieve over their sin will draw near to God (James 4:8–10). Those who mourn and weep over their sin are in a position to repent (Luke 4:18–19). There cannot be repentance without the realization of the gravity of sin. Regret for sin’s consequences is not the same as sorrow for sinning against holy God. Confession of sin is not necessarily an indication of repentance. Repentance comes only when we acknowledge that our transgression has come from a heart that is far from God, and we are brokenhearted over our grievous offenses against holy God.
Jesus said that those who are heartbroken over their sin will find comfort. They will experience new dimensions of God’s love and forgiveness. His infinite grace is sufficient for the most terrible sin. Do not try and skip the grieving process of repentance in order to move on to experience joy. God will not leave you to weep over your sin but will forgive you, comfort you, and fill you with His joy.