Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God's Greatest Gift

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." You call out to God for help and he helps—he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That's why the prophet said, The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop, God's Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you. 1 Peter 1:13-25 [MSG]
  • O: God sent His Son to save us from our sins. He wants us to spend eternity with Him. But the gift of salvation is not carte blanche to live our lives here however we want.
  • A: I was speaking with a new Christian recently who had questions about two points of salvation. First, she asked how someone who had committed violent acts of violation or murder could be saved and go to Heaven. She understood God's plan of salvation, but couldn't understand God's grace -- or God's capacity to have such grace -- as to forgive such heinous acts. We talked and came to the second point, which she found even more troubling. "If someone is saved, and then commits such an act, he can still go to Heaven?" she asked. I explained that God's forgiveness is boundless for a sincere heart. She then asked, "So they can be saved and then do whatever they want, and they'll still go to Heaven?" A later sermon at church explained to her how our salvation cannot be lost, but how we might suffer consequences for our sins even though we are saved. This passage sums that up quite plainly. Salvation is a gift. It costs us nothing. It cost God everything through the sacrifice of His only Son. As true followers of Christ, we are to live life as God would have us live it. Why? If we can't lose our salvation, why does it matter? Because if we love God, we should want to please Him, and we do so by living a life of love and a life that brings others to receive His gift of salvation. We don't avoid a sinful life for the sake of keeping our salvation and avoiding punishment, we avoid a sinful lie for the hope of hearing God say,"Well done, my good and faithful servant."
  • P: Father, help me to model the life of a Christ follower, to live a life of love, to be a mirror that reflects your grace to everyone I encounter.
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