The Chief of Sinners

1 Timothy 115 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Timothy 1:12–15 (ESV)

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The writings of Paul seem to dominate the New Testament. It is through his letters that we truly gain our understanding of most of our foundational Christian doctrines. God certainly used Paul in a great way. As Paul reflected on this truth, he did so with humility. Paul understood that it was only by God’s grace that he had been able to do anything at all for the Lord. After all, he was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of God and God’s people, but God had saved Paul and chose to use him.

 Paul knew that his salvation was fully by grace. He was the “foremost” sinner. He was not in any way deserving of salvation. It was only through Jesus Christ, the one who came into this world to save sinners, that he was saved. Paul never forgot this truth and we must not forget it either. We owe everything to God’s grace. It does not matter how much we may accomplish for the Lord in this life. We may accomplish great things or remain unknown. Regardless, all that we are and all that we are able to do are only because of what God has done for us. Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners and use them for his glory. Let us praise his name!

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

God Is Our Salvation

Psalm 625 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 62:5–8 (ESV)

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

We live at a time in history when technology and scientific advancement seem to be exploding. We have cars and airplanes, computers and smartphones, satellites and rocket ships, as well as medicines and surgical procedures for our illnesses and injuries. It may seem like we have the answer to almost every question. With all of our advances and knowledge, we may be tempted to think that mankind has the ability to solve every problem and do not need help.

It does not take much to remind us that we are still finite beings with much that we still do not understand and that we are powerless to control. Just look at any natural disaster for an example. Look at the current Covid-19 pandemic. The whole world has been thrown into turmoil and many lives have been lost. The whole world is working to understand the virus and to find a vaccine to stop it. And there are still many questions that simply do not have answers. But believers know where our hope rests. It is not in the power of mankind. Let this time be a reminder to us that, as the psalmist says, “On God rests my salvation and my glory.”

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

The Folly of the Cross

1 Corinthians 118 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There really is no middle road when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person will either laugh at the foolishness of the message. After all, how does a man come back from the dead? Or a person will see the glorious hand of God and the power of God working through the events of the cross to bring salvation to all who will believe.

The message of the gospel is Jesus Christ crucified. The perfect, sinless Son of God was hung on a cross until he died. He was buried in a tomb. And later, he rose from the dead alive again. That is the message and it is through these events that God is saving mankind. This is the message that Christians are called to proclaim and it is the only message that can give life to a dying world. Many will laugh and consider it nonsense, but for those who believe, their is forgiveness and eternal life.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

You Must Be Born Again

John 33 [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 to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

John 3:1–8 (ESV)

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The Praise of a Multitude

Revelation 196 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Revelation 19:1–8 (ESV)

1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What a scene that is presented to us in today’s reading! The people of God gathered together with the heavenly host and praising the Lord as one. They praise him for his righteous judgment on evil and they praise him for his salvation. Amazing!

Regardless what is going on in the world or in our personal lives, we can be sure that the Lord reigns. His plans and purposes are being fulfilled and one day the scene we read about in Revelation 19 will be the reality for the redeemed people of God. With each passing day, I long for that day more and more.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.


Are you a writer who might be interested in writing for Shaped by the Word? I am looking for other contributors who would like to contribute to this page. Contact me through the page contact form for more information. Thanks!

 

Grace Carries Us Home

black home area rug

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Jude 24–25 (ESV)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When we preach the gospel of grace we often forget that it is grace from first to last. We could not save ourselves from sin, so God sent his Son to pay our debt and save us by going to the cross. We are saved by repenting of our sin and trusting in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Yet, that is not all. We are also unable to continue to the finish line on our own. We not only need grace to save us, but to carry us home. And that is what God does for us. He gives us the grace we need. It is God who is “able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory.”

When Jude writes about the truths of God’s grace, he does so as he breaks into worship and praise. This should be our response as well. Our God is great! His grace is amazing! He saves us and takes us all the way home. It is all abut him, from first to last.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Now Is the Day of Salvation

2 Corinthians 521 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

2 Corinthians 5:16–6:2 (ESV)

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Followers of Christ have been given the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18). This does not mean that we are able to bring someone into a right relationship with God based upon anything we have done. It does mean that we are given the message of salvation to tell to the world in order that others might hear it and be saved.

The Christian’s priority is to proclaim that reconciliation with God is possible because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 summarizes exactly what Jesus did. Though he was righteous, he took our sin upon himself so that we might receive his righteousness. There was a great exchange at the cross. Jesus took our sin and, in return, we received his righteousness. This wonderful gift is available to all who will repent of their sins and call out to Christ for forgiveness. Do not delay. Today is the day of salvation!

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

All Have Sinned

Romans 323–24 [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 to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Romans 3:21–26 (ESV)

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Salvation in No One Else but Jesus

Acts 412 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Acts 4:5–12 (ESV)

5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

The religious leaders of Israel had rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah and Savior of the people. At every turn in Jesus’ ministry, they challenged Jesus and sought to discredit him. When they could not and when they saw that his influence was becoming too great, they sought to get rid of him. Eventually, they were able to have him crucified. Peter reminded them of this truth in his preaching. It was through the power of Jesus that a crippled man was healed. This was the same Jesus that the leaders had rejected. And Jesus was the one and only way of salvation. There was no other way.

The truth of the gospel for today is still the same. Jesus came into the world to save mankind from our sins. Through his sinless life and selfless sacrifice, our sins are paid for and we can have eternal life. But we must repent of our sins and turn to Christ in faith. Many simply will not do this. Many are convinced that Jesus is not who he or his followers claim he is. Others cannot accept that they need to be saved or that there would only be one way. Yet, Jesus is the only way to be saved. There is no other way. Will you go to him today?

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

No Excuses

1 Peter 224 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 1:18–23 (ESV)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul writes that there is only one way for any person to be saved. Salvation is by grace through faith. In our reading today, he tells us why salvation can only come in this way: all people are under the wrath of God because of sin. Every single person, whether religious or not, is guilty because God has revealed himself to us in the created order and what can be plainly known about him has been rejected by every one of us. No one will be able to claim “I did not know!” Mankind has exchanged the one true God for other gods.

We have a sin problem. It is our greatest problem and causes all of our troubles in this world. And there is nothing we can do in our own power to fix our problem. The good news is that God has done something for us. Jesus Christ came into the world to live the sinless life none of us could. Then he went to the cross to die in our place. He took the wrath that we deserve to pay our debt. If we will turn from our sin and turn to Jesus in faith, God promises to forgive us and give us eternal life. This is amazing grace!

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.