For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23)
As a Christian you have been freed from the bondage of sin and death and are a willing “slaves of God”. Freedom from sin does not mean freedom to sin; quite the opposite. Christians choose to shun sin and to serve God, bearing the fruit of holiness. The result of a holy life is everlasting life, but sin always brings death. Being saved in Christ compels you to bear holy fruit in your life that reflects your freedom from sin. Use today to serve God with all holiness.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)
The gospel of Jesus Christ will not penetrate the heart of the “natural man” (who defines wisdom by himself and by this world, see 1 Corinthians 2:14); he has no interest in spiritual things. So, he rejects the gospel as foolishness while living in the arrogance and lusts of sin. His path leads to eternal death. But, those with open hearts listen to and discern the “message of the cross” as being from God, and believe it. You may meet someone today who will try to convince you the gospel is foolish. If so, remember that their message will do nothing to save your soul. The good news of a Savior who loves you and sacrificed himself so you can live eternally is the wisdom of God. It commands you to believe and confess your faith, to repent and to be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10). Be wise; trust and obey the gospel, the wisdom of God.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
The fact that Jesus was fully tempted yet did not succumb to sin provides many great spiritual blessings to Christians. Among them is his ability to understand the trials of being tempted in the flesh. Jesus is our High Priest in heaven, and through him we obtain God’s help when we are weak and in danger from temptation. Take your struggles and trials to God in prayer, and continue to hold fast your confession. Do not yield to temptation; help from heaven is available through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)
The devil never stops tempting us to sin, but he can be resisted. Do not draw the conclusion from the record of Christ’s temptations that the devil never returned to tempt him; he did. Satan looked for “an opportune time” to continue tempting Jesus (see Luke 22:28). Never think you are beyond temptation. If you do, then the devil have you exactly where he wants you: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Instead, be sober and watchful, resist the devil and be steadfast in the faith. You are not alone – “the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). Keep resisting temptation!
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only You shall serve.’ ” (Matthew 4:8-10)
The devil does not stop tempting us. Although Jesus resisted prior temptations, the devil still tried to defeat him with sin. With the conviction of truth Jesus refused the devil’s allurement to rule the world while escaping the cruelty and humiliation of Calvary. But, the cost was too great. For Jesus to give in to this temptation would be to worship power, pleasure and self-interest rather than sacrifice Himself in service to the Father. What your eyes see can turn your attention away from God and lead you to worship created things instead of the Creator. When you are tempted by sinful attractions, remember you worship God and only serve Him – whatever the cost. Then, with Jesus you can say, “Away with you, Satan!”
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give his angels charge over you,’ and, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” (Matthew 4:5-7)
When the devil tempted Jesus he set one Scripture against another, partially quoting Psalm 91:11-12 to entice Jesus to act out of pride and jump from the temple – surely God would keep His word and protect Him from harm. But, Jesus set one Scripture beside another (“It is written again”) and resisted the temptation to sin. Proper interpretation of God’s word never pits one passage against another in order to prove a point or justify error and wrongdoing. Such disrespect for God and His word tests the Lord God, by expecting Him to act contrary to His revealed word. He will not. It is the devil who tempts you to act against God’s word and think God approves. Jesus always calls upon you to fully trust Him by accepting the harmony of God’s word and completely obeying it. That is true trust in God.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:3-4)
Just as your body is sustained by food, your soul is sustained by the word of God. You wouldn’t dream of eating poison. Yet, if you feed upon the doctrines and philosophies of men that is exactly what you are putting into your heart. Such things never satisfy your soul; indeed, they starve you of the spiritual nutrients you need for spiritual health. Trying to live without the word of God is starving yourself of the salvation, joy and living hope it gives. Bring your life into harmony with God’s word and you will have life abundantly.
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)
Today is Friday the 13th, the day of superstitious trouble according to common folklore. Of course, we know Friday the 13th is just another day on the calendar. But to the superstitious it is a day for taking extra precautions against harm. Superstitions arise from a lack of knowledge and understanding. And while some are playful and harmless (like the baseball player who will not change socks until his team loses), other kinds of superstition can destroy the soul. Faith in Christ is not built on superstition; it is built on faithful eyewitness testimony as well as incontrovertible evidence that He is the Son of God (John 20:30-31; Hebrews 11:1). Our confidence today and tomorrow rests upon the revelation of truth, the gospel of Christ. Those who think faith is superstitious do not understand the difference between the two. Faith is established by evidence; superstition results when people are without knowledge and understanding. “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Light wonderfully illustrates the life of a Christian. First, it should be obvious you are a disciple of Jesus Christ – just as obvious as a city nestled on a hillside (v. 14). Next, you are to function to your potential, just as a lamp gives light to those in a house (v. 15). A Christian is a light of righteousness in this dark world of sin. Thirdly, your life has purpose; Your life is to show others the good works of living for Jesus so that they have a reason to believe and glorify God (v. 16). Is it obvious by your life that you are a Christian? Are you fulfilling your role to provide spiritual light to people around you? Are you an example of good works so that others may come to Jesus, the Light of the world?
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)
There are few things more frustrating and disheartening as indecisiveness. It is so discouraging when God’s people are spiritually indecisive. Vacillating between Jehovah God and Baal, the once mighty Israel had become a weak, pathetic, faltering nation. Faith requires making a choice and having the commitment to follow through. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and all who believe it to be so follow Him – they do not limp along in fearful uncertainty. Genuine faith instills the confidence to serve the true and living God while rejecting all impostors. Live your faith today and do not be silenced by fear and doubt.