I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Devotion Choice to do Right

Read: I Peter 3:10-18 

For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit: –I Peter 3:18   

How often do we use “Christian” jargon either to excuse our behavior or (maybe unwittingly) confuse others about what we mean? It is easy for some of us who grew up in the church to use such terminology as “Jesus forgives sins”; “Jesus paid the penalty for my sins” or “He took my place.”   

We spout spiritual-sounding words such as the following: new birth, salvation, sanctification, and the much-used phrase–”Asking Jesus into your heart.”   

These may have meant something significant in our lives. But as time passes, we tend to lose sight of what this terminology once meant to our faith and to our walk with Jesus. We lose sight of the deeper meaning and forget those who do not know Christ may have no clue what we’re talking about when we use such phrases as worn idioms. Why should they? We’ve forgotten.   

Jesus Christ, Lord and Creator of the entire universe, loved each of us so much that, when He realized what a mess we’d made of our lives and His beautiful world, He made a critical choice. He left His power and glory to be born into our world. He lowered Himself to our level. He lived as we lived, felt as we feel.    He struggled with the same temptations, enticements and sins that seek to entangle us. The difference? He knew God’s Word. He chose to say, “No!” over and over again. He used Scripture to foil Satan at his own game.   

Because Jesus said, “No!” to sin and temptation, He didn’t have to suffer consequences for His own sin– He had none. It meant He could, and did, choose to take the consequences for our bad choices. He chose to take on Himself the punishments and consequences we rightly deserve.   He allowed Himself to be tortured and murdered– for you, for me, for our sin.   

We do not need to castigate ourselves over sins for which we’ve regretted and for which we’ve repented and turned away. Jesus forgives all those sins, bad things we’ve said, thought or done. He took our punishment and set us free of the guilt. Our part is simply to accept His gift; a gift freely given, which cannot be earned. 

 Jesus made the sacrifice for one reason. He loves us. He created us and desires a personal relationship with each one of us. He wants us to follow Him, that He might give us the deep, rich life He has planned for us. Jesus accepted death, that He might conquer death, evil and hell. Those of us who choose to follow Him, He offers His peace, hope, new life today and a place with Him forever in heaven.   

He doesn’t want robots. He doesn’t force me to serve Him. With His death and resurrection, He provided us a choice. We do not have to choose His gift of forgiveness, guidance, hope and life. There is always choice to make.   We never lose our right to make choices that either bring us life and light or selfishness, heartache and, ultimately, separation from Him. Satan entangles, manipulations, entices and intimidates. Only Jesus offers choice. Only Jesus offers true freedom.   The choice is mine–yours.

Thank you, Father God, for the gift of Your Son. Help me commit or recommit my life to You. Help me not merely spout words of faith, but live them out as a follower of Christ. Help me make choices that lead others to You. Amen.

Meditations: Monday: James 4:1-8 
Tuesday: Revelation 2:1-7 
Wednesday: Matthew 27:15-25 
Thursday: Luke 18:18-30 
Friday: Revelation 3:14-22 
Saturday: Hebrews 25

(C) 2018, 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies

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