The Grace of God Keeps Us

Jude 24–25 [widescreen]

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

The gospel teaches us that we are all sinners and in need of a Savior. It tells us that we cannot save ourselves, but God sent his Son into the world to die for the sins of mankind and redeem all who repent and trust in him. Our salvation comes not through what we can earn through good works, but through the love and grace of God.

Today, we read that it is also by God’s grace that believers will one day stand before God blameless. God’s grace not only saves us, but keeps us to the end. He is a wonderful God and worthy of all praise and honor and glory! Jude closes by describing God as our great King who deserves our worship now and forever.

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God Offers Peace to All

Luke 213 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 2:8–14 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus, the Messiah, had been born, but there was no one to celebrate the event. An angel went out to a nearby field and told some shepherds about what had happened. The shepherds were fearful, but the angels told them that Jesus had been born as a Savior for all people. There was no reason to be afraid, but this was cause for celebration! The angel was then joined by many other angels and they praised God for his grace.

The song of the angels was a praise to God for bringing peace on earth, but it is important to notice that peace was not for all, but for those with whom God is pleased. The Bible teaches that God sent his Son to save mankind, but only those who turn to Christ in faith will be saved. This is how we please God, by believing his word. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.

Our sin has put us at odds with the holy God, but he has offered peace to all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ. This Christmas, be sure to accept the greatest gift ever given.

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Jesus Is More than a Wonder Worker

In the Villages the Sick Were Presented to Him

In the Villages the Sick Were Presented to Him (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Mark 6:53–56 (ESV)

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Parallel Text: Matthew 14:34-36

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus’ fame traveled quickly. People had heard that he had the power to heal, so when he arrived in Gennesaret, the people brought their sick to him in desperation for healing. All who even touched Jesus’ garment were made well.

As we read this passage, we notice a couple of important things. Jesus had great compassion for the crowds and ministered to them with great love for them. Jesus’ great power to heal demonstrated his identity as the Son of God, but the people were more interested in his wonder-working power because it directly benefited them at that moment. This was the case throughout Jesus’ ministry.

Unfortunately, many today turn to Jesus for the same reason the crowds did in the Gospels. They go to him to meet their immediate needs and no more. They desire some sort of powerful intervention in their lives, whether it is physical healing, fixing a marriage, helping with an addiction, etc. These are all wonderful things, but they should not be our primary pursuit. Jesus calls us to him as our Savior and Lord and offers us something far greater than instant release from our temporary ills in this world. He tells us that he has the authority to grant eternal life to all of those who trust in him because his death and resurrection have purchased the forgiveness of our sins and victory over death. Let us not forget who Jesus truly is and the primary reason that he came.

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He Stood in the Breach

art cathedral christ christian

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Reading the Word

Psalm 106:19–23 (ESV)

19 They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. 20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass. 21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. 23 Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verse recall when the Israelites fashioned an idol while Moses met with God at Mount Sinai. God’s anger was turned toward the people for their idolatry, but Moses “stood in the breach” on behalf of the people. The imagery is of a soldier who stands in the breach of a wall willing to sacrifice himself to stop a threat by sacrificing himself to the attacker. As a result of Moses’ intercession for the people, God turned away from his anger and the people were spared.

Scripture tells us that all people have sinned against God and are under his wrath. There is coming a day when God will judge mankind for their sin and all will be condemned. However, Jesus Christ has stood in the breach for all of people. He has given himself as a sacrifice to take the wrath that we deserve. All who trust in him will be saved from the coming judgment and given eternal life. Praise God for a Savior who serves his people by giving his life on our behalf!

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He Led a Host of Captives

sky sunset person silhouette

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:7–18 (ESV)

7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. 9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; 10 your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. 11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host: 12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil— 13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds— the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold. 14 When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon. 15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan! 16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever? 17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary. 18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these verses, we read a retelling of the exodus when God brought the Israelites out of servitude in Egypt and into the Promised Land where the people became a nation. The passage proclaims that it was God, and God alone, who was responsible for the great victory. The Lord is the victorious King who led a host of captives in His train.

In Scripture, the exodus is often used as a picture to the greater deliverance that God would bring to mankind by delivering them from captivity to sin. God accomplished this deliverance through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ followed by the resurrection. The Letter to the Ephesians quotes Psalm 68 when it states the following:

“When he [Jesus] ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8)

The imagery here is clear. Jesus is seen as the conquering King who leads His people out of bondage to sin. This is the message of all of Scripture. We are sinners and God, by His grace, has made it possible for our sin to be dealt with so that we might have eternal life. We cannot do it on our own, but our King does all of the conquering for us. It is ours to simply trust in Him.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!