Salvation

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July 29

Monday, July 29th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Do vs Done.

One of the hardest things-I think-for many to grasp is the relative “ease” to obtain salvation. There is in many of us this feeling like salvation can’t be that easy; there has to be something I must do. So we get into this whole works and earning my way into salvation. We find ourselves in a game we play of “If I do this, this and this then I will be more acceptable to God.”

But that kind of striving takes away the sheer joy of unearned salvation. It’s like at Christmas time. Let’s suppose you as a parent or grandparent give your child/grandchild a present but say, “Now, you can have this for the price of $20 or (name your price) or even $1! No matter how you look at it, that is not a gift. A gift is not something that has to be paid for-no matter how much or how little.

I’ve heard it put this way:

Salvation is not a matter of what you do; it is a matter of what has been done.

Our salvation is not dependent on what we have or can do.  Our salvation is dependent on what Christ has done. The Bible is clear: “By grace you have been saved through faith. It is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone can boast.” [Eph.2:8-9] I like that last phrase. Actually, the whole thing but that last phrase tells me two things: 1) I have no reason to boast about my goodness; and 2) neither does anyone else. My good works; their good works; will not endear me or them to God. I have nothing to brag about.

“Father, thank you for changing the word from ‘do’ to ‘don’t.’ Thank you that my salvation, or anyone’s for that matter, does not rely on how good I am. I have no reason to boast. I’m a sinner saved by your amazing grace.”

April 18

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

My title is God’s Sovereign Plan vs Coincidence.

It’s not unusual to hear someone says, “I was lucky” or “Just happened to.” I cringe when I hear those words because I don’t believe in either one of those. There might be games of chance that’s true, but not in life. I don’t believe things which happen are “luck” or “chance” or “coincidence.”

Case in point: My Scripture reading the last two days. The book of Ruth. What a fascinating story! I’d encourage you to sit down and read it today. Slowly. Glean (pun intended) the truths from it. It can be read in one sitting; I chose to do it in two. It is full of love, commitment, jockeying, and deep spiritual truth. The way Boaz treated Ruth. The way he didn’t back down from being her kinsmen-redeemer. His “jockeying” and negotiation for her. His care for Ruth and Naomi. But here’s the coup de grat: “They named him Obed.  He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (4:17)

A son born to Boaz and Ruth (the Moabitess)! Check out Matthew 1-the lineage of Jesus. I love seeing a plan like this. It was not luck that brought them together; it was God’s sovereign plan. An interesting commentary follows verse 17. “Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron…Salmon fathered Boaz…(and you know the rest).” Even the illicit conception of Perez (Judah and Tamar, his daughter-in-law) was not a “chance” encounter. No. God’s sovereign plan was at work. I’m not smart enough to understand all of the theology surrounding God’s sovereign plan, but I am “smart” enough to know God is in control and I must trust that that truth. Ruth is a rich book. I love the whole story, especially the kinsmen-Redeemer one.

“Father, it’s not luck. It’s not chance. It’s not coincidence. It’s your plan. Thank you for this story of Ruth and Boaz in all its angles. Thank you for the beautiful story of redemption contained here. What a beautiful picture of God’s perfect plan of redemption through Jesus. Stepping in and saying, ‘I’m buying Him (me). He’s mine. The price is my life.’  How can I call that anything but love? Anything but ultimate sacrifice? Anything but the ultimate price? This Easter season I pray for that truth to deeply impact me.”