Thursday of the Week of Lent II
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 4:9-10, 19-28; Romans 2:12-24; John 5:19-29
“While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” (Rom 2:21-23)
In his letter to the Romans, Paul is contrasting the faith and actions of the Jews with that of Gentiles. Are Jewish Christians in a better place in God’s sight than the Gentile Christians, because they were “first in”? Are Jewish Christians better off because they were the recipients of God’s Law under the old covenant? The point in this passage is that receiving God’s law is not the same as obeying God’s law.
All of this in Romans, however, is aimed at helping all—Jewish and Gentile Christians alike—to understand that “since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God (and with each other) through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).
The reality of our lives is that we do preach and teach God’s commandments and ordinances, while sinning regularly. Lifelong Christians are no less sinners than those new to the faith. We are all called to be humble before God, acknowledging our sin and disobedience and placing our complete faith and trust, not in ourselves, but in Christ. “Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9).
Lent is about being reconciled with God through the blood of Christ Jesus, just as it’s about being at peace with our neighbor through Him—whether “new” Christian or “old,” whether Jew or Gentile, whether lifelong Lutheran or recent convert!
Prayer: Humble me, O, God, that I may be at peace with you and with my brothers and sisters in the faith, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Lenten Response: At worship each week, make it your goal to greet and share the peace of the Lord with someone who is not a friend, family member or well known to you.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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Video of each day’s devotion is available here. The 2017 Lenten Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.
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