A few days ago, I used this graphic and I feel that today’s devotional demands that I re-use it. Today’s Bible reading discusses this very thing in Galatians 4.
In Galatians 4:6–7, Paul brings out the fact that believers are not servants; they are sons. There is a tremendous difference between the responsibilities of a servant and the privileges of a son.
Several years ago, some friends of ours adopted a baby girl from an unwed teen. It was a win-win-win and to this day, the girl’s (or young woman now!) biological mother is still involved in her daughter’s life. But as our friends went through the legal process of adopting their daughter, I learned that US adoption laws are based on Biblical adoption laws. I also learned a mind-blowing fact about adoption: Adoptive parents are legally more responsible for their adoptive children than they are for their biological children. Being an adopted son or daughter brings tremendous benefits, even over being a biological child, including the security of knowing that if you are an adopted child, you can never be disinherited.
Believer, do you see you see yourself as a servant of God? Or do you see yourself as a child of God? How you see your relationship will determine how you feel about God, how you pray to God, how you give to God, and how you talk about God.
If you are an insecure servant of God and get into trouble, you will respond, “I’ve messed up. My Father’s going to kill me.” But if you are a secure child of God, you will respond, “I’ve messed up. I need to call my Dad.” One view brings a response of paralyzing fear, while the other brings a response of feeling lovingly supported.
If you are a child of God, rejoice!
You have a loving Father Who will never disown you.
Today’s Bible reading is from Hebrews 13. The writer of the book invites his readers to
Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. (Hebrews 13:5 CSB)
The writer says the key to avoiding the love of money is satisfaction in God. John Piper, in his book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (affiliate) coined the term, Christian Hedonism and I love that idea behind that word. Piper refers to a comment from CS Lewis.
Our problem as human beings is not that our desires are too strong, but that our desires are too weak. I thought my desires were the problem. Lewis says, No, your desires aren’t the problem. The weakness of your desires [is] the problem. You are like a child fooling about in slums with your mud pies because you can’t imagine what a holiday at the sea is like. In other words, your desires for the great things that God is offering you are way too small. Your problem is not big desires, but small desires for big things. (source: DesiringGod.org)
When God created us, He created us as worshipers; we are hardwired to worship. Our original purpose was to worship God and find our meaning in Him. But our original parents chose to look elsewhere to find their meaning for life. We inherited their sin. And ever since, we have been far too easily satisfied.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to not take the bait of being satisfied with the love of money, but instead to be completely satisfied with God. He will never leave you and He will never forsake you.
Defeat the desire for money with a bigger desire for God.
Or, fight lust for money with lust for God.
In today’s Bible reading from Hebrews 9, the writer says that the ministry under the new covenant ministry is better than the ministry under the old covenant.
Under the old covenant in the Tabernacle — and later in the Temple — the ordinary priests could enter the Holy Place to do their ministry, but ordinary men couldn’t go there. The High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place (the “Holy of Holies”), but ordinary priests couldn’t go there. And the High Priest could only enter the Most Holy Place once a year, on the Day of atonement. He had to do this every year. The writer says that Jesus’ blood was so much more effective than the blood of goats and bulls in cleansing the conscience of God’s people. (Hebrews 9:13–14). (More on this tomorrow)
Imagine feeling the guilt of committing a sin, knowing that it couldn’t be covered by a sacrifice for 364 days. Imagine carrying the conviction for that sin and every other sin you commit multiple times each day for an entire year. That’s a lot of guilt.
Next, imagine the feeling on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest emerges from the Most Holy Place. All that guilt from all those sins you committed for the past 365 days was covered… in an instant!
Ministry under the new covenant is so much better! No longer do God’s people have to look forward to a day when their sins could be dealt with. Now, we can look back, knowing that our sins have been covered — all of our sins, once for all time — by Jesus’ blood. What a relief!
If you are a believer, you don’t even have to worry if a sin you committed a moment ago is covered. It was already covered almost 2000 years ago, long before the Holy Spirit even convicted you of that sin and you asked for forgiveness!
Note: Today’s devotional was supposed to have posted Saturday. Internet gremlins kept that from happening. Our next scheduled Bible reading is on Tuesday.
In today’s Bible reading from Hebrews 6, we come across more scary words. The writer warns that if someone were to have been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift and God’s good word, and shared in the Holy Spirit, and then to fall away, there is no redemption, no repentance to enable them to come back because it would mean
These are very scary words because it means that if it’s possible to lose your salvation, there is no way to get it back!
I remember growing up, never being sure whether or not I would go to heaven or not when I died. Sure, I was a pretty good kid, but with every white lie, every little sin, the thought would cross my mind, “Am I sure that I’m saved?”
Such questions can be healthy. The fact that we ask the question demonstrates spiritual interest. A lost person won’t worry if they’re saved or not because they have no interest; they’re spiritually dead. Spiritually dead people have no spiritual concerns.
Unfortunately, a lot of preachers have told a lot of lost people that since they prayed a
I was saved for almost ten years before I heard that it was possible to know that you’re saved for all eternity; I had never heard, “once saved, always saved.” I grieve for those who have never been told that it’s possible to know that you’re a child of God. And I grieve for those who fear that maybe they’ve committed the “unpardonable sin” (Matthew 12:31)
But the bottom line is, if you are one of God’s kids, you can be absolutely sure that you’re saved. And if you’re one of His kids, know that the security of your eternal destiny is based in your Father’s character. The Holy Spirit has been given as a downpayment for your salvation. (Ephesians 1:14)
For God to take away your salvation,
He would have to forfeit the Holy Spirit!
Getting back to the original point, I think that the emphasis the writer was trying to make was not on those who fall away, but the sufficiency of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice. His sacrifice is more than enough to cover our depravity and all the behavior it gives birth to. And as I said a couple of days ago, our salvation has nothing to do with our behavior — neither for getting
If you’re one of God’s kids, don’t have to worry about Do. Do. Do. Do. Don’t do. Don’t do. Don’t even think about doing. Just rest in Jesus’ “Done!”
We come across some hard words in today’s Bible reading from Hebrews 4. It’s a good reminder that not everyone who followed Moses out of Egypt made it to the Promised Land. As a matter of fact, only two did: Joshua and Caleb. Even Moses was denied entrance.
The writer of Hebrews warns believers to be careful to not grow hardhearted and therefore to fall short. He wraps up the chapter with
Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 CSB)
On one hand, the writer tells us that we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace, yet he says earlier in this chapter (and in the previous chapters) that we need to strive to enter His rest so no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)
So how does that work? On one
Think about it. You probably love your children more than anything in the world. You’d do anything for them and give them anything they need. But where does obedience figure into that? Will you withhold something from a disobedient child? Of
Later, the writer will tell us that the discipline we receive from our Heavenly Father demonstrates that we are His kids. Disciplining our own children demonstrates our love for them. And even when they’re disobedient, we still love them and will do whatever we can for them. Our love is grace or undeserved favor we give them by virtue that they are our children.
All believers have received grace and mercy from our Father. We didn’t do anything to get the favor He has shown to us. And because we didn’t do anything to get it, His continued favor is not dependent on our behavior. However, the more we know our loving Father, the more we will want to return His love and the more we will want to please Him with our obedience to His commands.
If you’re not interested in changing your behavior to obey God’s commands, you might want to check your spiritual state: Are you really one of His kids or not?
All of His children will enter His rest. Those who don’t enter His rest are not His children.
Some of the scariest words in the Bible are,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’ (Matthew 7:21–23 CSB)
Jesus points out that behavior doesn’t promise eternal life. Knowledge of Him and knowledge by Him does. (John 17:3) Knowing and being known are the key; they signify a relationship with Him.
And that’s what it’s all about.