We Can't Earn It
Paul begins his second missionary journey.
Inherent within man is a tendency to want to work his way to heaven. Accepting a gift with gratitude does not seem to be enough; human beings want to do something to earn it. While Paul and Barnabas are at Antioch, some men come down from Judea and teach: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (v. 1). This issue grows into a major debate involving the leaders in Jerusalem, but in the final analysis, Peter's argument wins out: "Why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (v. 10). The council in Jerusalem then sends a letter to the Gentile churches encouraging their faith and assuring them that they are not under bondage.
Since none of us could earn it, praise the Lord that salvation is a gift:
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful...
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God.
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 147:1, 5, 7, 11, 20)
Pause for praise and thanksgiving.
Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you (Isaiah 44:22).
Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and pray this affirmation to the Lord:
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).
As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
- Unity in the body of Christ
- Greater commitment to the Lord
- Your activities for the day
Close with this prayer to the Lord:
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! (Psalm 90:14)
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