Preacher: Tony Hunter
Daily Walk: Tony Hunter
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 80:1-7.
Read: Romans 8:31-38 (Message). Note 1-3 insights/questions that arise from the paraphrase.
Reflect: I have found myself in a conundrum. On the one hand, I really don’t like cheaters. On the other hand, I am really quite fond of God. You might be wondering why this is a problem. Let me tell you: God may well be the greatest cheater of all time.
God set forth all these rules. Rules that lead to death should they be broken. And then, once He spent a few thousand years drumming these rules into people, He sends Jesus who promptly places the burden and blame for sin on His own shoulders and then dies. Suddenly anyone who wants to accept that as true can be treated as though they haven’t sinned. Even though they have.
Paul suggests it’s a waste of time to bring a charge against God’s elect. God’s chosen. Why? Because God justifies. And according to tomorrow's verse, Jesus intercedes. In other places, we are told that Jesus is actually the judge. He gets to be the Judge because He was chosen, He died, and now it’s His privilege. All the accusations in the world are pointless because Jesus can decide whatever He wants to. And the thing is, God’s chosen are not sinless. And yet Jesus gets to still declare them so. He gets to ignore all those rules. Just because He loves us, He decided to treat us better than we deserve.
But maybe that is the catch. Maybe it’s not that God is cheating. Maybe it’s something else. You see, there is another group of people who also succeed and win by circumventing the rules and doing things that the rules don’t allow for. We call them innovators. And revolutionaries. People who change the way reality looks. God, through Jesus, changed the rules and judgement. When reality saw the breaking of the rules as requiring punishment and as a way to use fear to keep us obedient, God saw the breaking of the rules as an opportunity for love. He places love and fear in opposition to each other, and therefore love and punishment as well. By doing so, He separates judgment from punishment so that they are no longer synonymous terms. This one act changed the way the rules could be applied. That one act looked like this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His life, for all of ours. The truest act of a perfect love. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Respond: Pray for the ability to see your life through the eyes of love instead of the blinders of fear.
Research: What are some examples of people in the Bible who didn’t get what they deserved in a good way?