Do Not Hide Your Sin

Psalm 325 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 32:1–5 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

Unrepentant sin weighs on a person. The psalmists speaks of his sin causing his bones to waste away resulting in groaning all day. He felt like God’s hand was heavy on him and his strength was dried up. He was miserable and he needed relief

Relief from sin comes when we confess it to God. He has told us that he is gracious and merciful and ready to forgive. We only need to repent. When we do that, our burdens are lifted and our lives are restored. Do not try to hide your sin from the all-knowing God. He is ready to show you grace if you will go to him.

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God Does Not Play Favorites

James 412 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 2:1–11 (ESV)

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God does not play favorites. All people will be judged equally and completely for all they have done. This means that no one should look down on another person in judgment. All of us are guilty as sinners and deserving of condemnation. None of us should feel superior to anyone else.

Paul spends a great deal of time throughout the letter of Romans explaining why salvation for every person is only possible by grace, not what we have earned. Our salvation is only possible because we have a sinless Savior who gave his life in exchange for ours. And because of what Jesus has done for us, our sins can be forgiven of we place our faith in him. This truth should not cause us to become puffed up and conceited, but should bring humility into our lives. The priority of the Christian is not to look down in judgment on others, but to point them to Jesus, the one who took our sin away and can take theirs away too.

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Clothed in Righteousness

Zechariah 34 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Zechariah 3:1–5 (ESV)

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The name Satan means “the accuser”. In today’s passage, we see him standing before God to accuse Joshua the high priest. Joshua was standing before the Lord in “filthy garments”, indicative of his sin and unworthiness. Satan was there to make sure that God did not miss this. However, even before Satan could make his arguments, God stopped him and declared that the Lord had plucked Joshua from the fire. God had given Joshua grace and demanded that he be clothed in clean garments, a sign of forgiveness and righteousness.

The picture of forgiveness and cleansing from sin is exactly what the Lord does for each and every believer. We come before him in our guilt and sin. We have no argument to make or gift to offer for our salvation. Satan stands ready to accuse, but God extends forgiveness and grace to all who repent and turn to Jesus Christ in faith. Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins. In return, we are clothed in his righteousness. It is a wondrous exchange. So, go before the Lord and call out for forgiveness in faith. He promises grace to all who will.

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We Must Have Faith

Hebrews 116 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Hebrews 11:4–7 (ESV)

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Do you want to please God? Then you must have faith in him. The writer of Hebrews, throughout chapter eleven, lists out many of the most well-known people of the Old Testament and shows that they were welcomed by God because each of them had faith. It was not their personal righteousness or their good works that pleased God. The Bible tells us that none of us are good enough on our own (Romans 3:23). If we want to please God, we must have faith.

The good news of the Bible is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from our sins. Every one of us is separated from our Creator by our rebellion against him and there is nothing we can do on our own to change this. However, Jesus paid our debt through his suffering and death. For all who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and reconciliation, Scripture tells us we are saved and given the gift of eternal life. This is the only way to be reconciled to God. We must have faith in Jesus Christ.

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Relief from Your Sin

Psalm 325 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 32:1–5 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

Sin robs us of so much. It destroys our relationship with our Creator. It destroys our relationships with other people. And it destroys us from the inside out. The psalmist tells us that his sin weighed heavy on his soul. It made him feel as though his bones were wasting away as he groaned all day long. He felt that the Lord’s hand was heavy upon him due to guilt and shame and his strength was sapped from him as a hot summer day drains us. This is what sin does. It robs us of all that life could be.

There is a solution to sin. God is a forgiving God. When the psalmist opened up in honesty about his sin and called out to God for forgiveness, the Lord was gracious and forgave. He promises to do the same for all who will repent and call out to him. Are you feeling the weight of unconfessed sin? Is your guilt draining you? Call out to the Lord and find relief for your soul through the grace and forgiveness that he offers to all.

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Do You Love Me?

pexels-photo-134020.jpeg

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

John 21:15–19 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

This scene takes place after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. He went to Peter and asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” There is discussion about what the word “these” refers to. Is Jesus asking Peter if he loves his fishing gear more than Jesus? After all, Peter had just returned to fishing. Is Jesus asking if Peter loves him more than he loves the other disciples? I believe Jesus was asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than the other disciples loved him.

Why would Jesus ask Peter this question? Remember, Peter had declared his unflinching devotion earlier. In John 13:37, Peter declared, “I will lay down my life for you!” Matthew 26:33 records that Peter said, “Even if they all fall away, I will not.” Peter had proclaimed his greater love, but he had failed to live up to it. He had run away when things got hard and left Jesus alone to be arrested and crucified. Peter was distraught over these events. In these verses, we see a loving and forgiving Jesus reminding Peter of these words, but also telling him that he was still one of his disciples and he still had valuable work for him to do. Jesus was telling Peter “I love you and forgive you and have much for you.”

We all fail our Lord. I hate to admit how often this is true for me. But we have a gracious Savior who is ready to forgive and restore us. Let us go to him, confess our failings, and go forward ready to serve him.

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We Can Be Friends with God

1 John 19 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 25:11–15 (ESV)

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What is the story of Scripture? It is that mankind is separated from God because of sin. Our sin is rebellion against God and his will. Instead of bringing honor and glory to our Creator, we have rebelled and gone our own way. We have become the enemies of God.

Even in our rebellion, God still loves us. Though there is nothing we can do by our own power or means, God has made a way for our sins to be forgiven and for the barrier between us and him to be removed. We can be friends of God.

Our sin can be forgiven because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He came into the world, lived a sinless life, and gave himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. If we will repent of our sins and trust in the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, we are promised that our sins are forgiven and that we will have eternal life with God.

Pardon my guilt, for it is great (repentance). The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him (restoration). He will pluck my feet from out of the net (salvation). What a wonderful message for all of us!

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Confidence before God

Hebrews 1022 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Hebrews 10:19–25 (ESV)

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Scripture tells us that we are all sinners and separated from God by our sin. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and the presence of God as a consequence of their sin. This is the same consequence for all of mankind. In the Old Testament, God established a way for the people to once again draw near to him. It was through sacrifices and offerings and the priesthood. However, with Christ, God has made a better way. Christ offered himself for our sins and cleansed us once and for all. This now makes it possible for us to enter into the presence of our holy God because we are clean.

Believers can go before God is confidence, knowing that our sin is no longer a barrier to our relationship with him. Our sin has been completely dealt with through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have full access to the throne of the Almighty. We have this access now as we go to him in prayer. In the future, we will have it in even greater measure as we stand in his presence in glory. Let us not neglect such a wonderful gift from God. We can enter into his presence with confidence knowing that God loves us and that we have been forgiven.

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God Shows No Partiality

Acts 1034–35 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe so you can read along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Acts 10:34–43 (ESV)

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Jesus Established a New Covenant

Jeremiah 3133 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Jeremiah 31:31–34 (ESV)

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the time of the Old Testament, God promised that there would be a future day when he would do something new. He was going to forgive the sins of the people and establish a new covenant with them.

At the end of Jesus’ life, as he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, Jesus told them that he was establishing a new covenant in his blood. It was through the sacrificial death of Jesus that sin would be dealt with once and for all. And for those who trusted in him, Christ promised to give new life through the Holy Spirit. The old covenant was no longer. The new had come.

Praise God that our sins are forgiven in Christ. We now live in freedom and can live our lives without fear of condemnation for the honor and glory of our Savior. What a wonderful gift!

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