OYB January 7

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Genesis 16-17, Genesis 18:1-15
NT: Matthew 6:1-24
Ps: Psalm 7
Pr: Proverbs 2:1-5

Gospel Thread - OT:

10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Genesis 17:10-11 (NIV)

Today we read the next major weave of the gospel thread: circumcision! The physical circumcision by the hands of men was a sign of God's covenant with Abraham, and served as a symbol and foreshadow of the spiritual circumcision of the heart by the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel prophesies about this truth in Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV):

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Paul explains in Romans 2:28-29 (NIV):

28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

Paul later makes a very important point, that God credited Abraham's faith as righteousness long before the establishment of the covenant of circumcision. Here is excerpted from Romans 4:9-25 (NIV):

9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Gospel Thread - NT:

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:3-4 (NIV)

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

I once heard my pastor in a sermon preach that the gospel can be summarized as "give and forgive": God gave (His only Son, to die), and then He forgave (us of our sins, because of the atoning sacrifice of His Son); likewise, we are to give (our lives to God), and then forgive (others who have sinned or will sin against us). I don't necessarily think Jesus' intent in this part of the Sermon on the Mount was to summarize the gospel directly; however, reading these two statements so close together evoked the words of that sermon. And "give and forgive" is an accurate summary of the gospel. Because God gave and forgave, we likewise have an obligation to give and to forgive.

Gospel Thread - Psalms/Proverbs:

If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow.

Psalm 7:12 (NIV)

Repentance is a pillar of the gospel - an outward manifestation of inward conviction of sin and submission to the will of God. Salvation does not come through repentance, but rather repentance is evidence of the saving work of Christ in the life of the believer. As John explains in I John 3:7-10 (NIV):

7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

OYB Image of the Day:

Matthew 6:14

Matthew 6:14
Image © Sue. Used with permission.

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