Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 12-16-22

Intro: As we continue on in Paul’s letter to the Galatians from yesterday, let’s reaffirm that God’s purpose for the law in the lives of his children has been fulfilled in Christ. We cannot be saved by obeying the law of Moses because human flesh cannot fulfill it; salvation comes only by connecting to Christ and obeying him. However, in obeying and following Christ, we will choose to live righteously by loving God wholeheartedly [with every aspect of our being], as well as loving our neighbors [everyone else] and ourselves in a righteous way. Christ is our plumb line for righteousness, so we are following in oneness with Christ, because he is One with Father God.

In our passage today, we understand God’s timing has always been amazing and at just the right time the Father sent the Son in his first advent to fulfill all righteousness [the law] (Mat 3:13-15). Now, in Christ’s righteousness, believers are God’s adopted children (Ro 8:15-17). Our relationship with God is like a child with a parent; we are learning how to outwardly put on and live in Christ’s righteousness—with the help of the Holy Spirit—so we can please the Father. Paul had to correct the early Galatian believers many times about trying to please God by relying on the law instead of resting [by faith] in grace and truth—God’s work to offer redemption to humanity is now complete.

Jesus is our rest [Heb. “shabbat”—we stop working to make ourselves righteous], because Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath [fulfills the spiritual intent and divine purpose of rest]. Jesus is the One who settles us [Heb. “nuakh” Christ becomes our abiding place] and makes us holy! Christ gives the law its true meaning and makes it relevant for our lives (Mat 7:28-29). 

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes believers way beyond a mere act [of physical rest] to the motive of the heart [rest and abiding trust in the truth]. We are ordained to live in the holiness of Christ—to let our light shine—every single day. Jesus said, “My Father has entrusted everything to me…Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest [refreshment]. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest [cessation of your works] for your souls (Mat 11:27-29). The purpose of the Sabbath is about enjoying Oneness or wholeness with God.  During worship, we come together to rest from the world, express our wholehearted love to God and rest in our devotion to him, celebrate all Christ has done for us through his merciful redemption, and grow in our understanding from the Word about how we extend love and mercy to the world who has no idea about the goodness of God to provide redemption and a dwelling place for humanity. Tell someone the Good News with great Joy, today! (Luke 2:10).

Galatians 4:1-7 NLT

Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Prayer:  Abba, thank you for always revealing to our hearts the truth of your intent for our lives.  We do not have to guess about how or when you want us to worship; we find our rest in your presence every day.  Everything you put into place is for our good, because you are preparing us for an eternity of righteousness and worship. Every day we will cling to our Sabbath Rest!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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