Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Wanted: Living Faith

“And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee.”

Luke 24:5-6
 

A religion allows a person to go there, where he thinks God is, however God cannot be found there. Many religious people visit certain areas and buildings, because they seek confirmation for their religious feelings – and some even find it. On a purely emotional level one can even understand and follow their example. But a liberating faith, which is independent of appearances and circumstances, is different. In Luke 17:20-21 we read: “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ''The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Thus it is an inner matter, not necessarily dependent upon circumstances or membership. When Jesus in John 8:36 says: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” then it is clear that nothing stands between them and one also does not need any other mediator for the Mediator (John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, ''I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.''). As Christians we are not servants of sin (not any more) but, servants of righteousness – thanks to the resurrected LORD Jesus Christ (Romans 6:17-18). Righteousness and freedom belong together here – the Name of Jesus Christ, Who made us righteous, stands for it – 1 Corinthians 1:30 “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Jesus did not establish a religion, but came to seek that which was lost (Luke 19:10). What sense would it make for a lost person to seek the One who will seek and find him? He would never come up with this idea, as he does not realize that he is lost in the first place (Romans 3:11). However, a religious faith does precisely that: It imagines to be able to seek God, and meet God on its way to heaven. Religion is man's attempt to come near to God, but the Gospel is the divine way for God to come to man. God comes to us, because we cannot come into His presence, due to our sinful nature. The disciples of Jesus also didn't really comprehend it at first.

Peter first disregarded the message of the three women at the sepulcher of Jesus as “idle chatter” (Luke 24:11). He was also perplexed when he stood in the sepulcher and found nothing apart from the linen clothes and the neatly folded napkin. Although he had some information and knew the scriptures, he somehow still didn't understand it (John 20:9). This was also the case with Nicodemus, who was in fact a prominent teacher in the former Israel. No one is born again by himself – not in the flesh, nor in the spirit. The latter is essential in order to see the Kingdom of God and to partake thereof (John 3:1-12). A religious person can therefore not be a born again person just because he thinks he can contribute or participate in bringing about this new life from God. But, even if a dead man came back to life to tell others about God and call them to faith, it would serve no purpose because they are their own obstacles. We find the corresponding scripture in Luke 16:30-31 “And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” So regardless of what happens, we cannot by our own means receive salvation and cause ourselves to become new persons. A religious person is not really convinced of his basically hopeless condition before God. Just as was the case with the self-righteous Pharisee and the penitent tax collector which we read in Luke 18:11-13 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.'' God was merciful towards him.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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