Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 5 – Living As Free Servants of God

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”  1 Pet. 2:16 

Devotional Thought For The Day

Our sinful flesh quickly interprets our freedom from sin and guilt, the cleansing away of all our sin and God’s gift of salvation and eternal life – the certainty of all of this, as grounds and reason for us to go ahead and capitulate to the sinful desires that are constantly arising in our hearts and minds.  The temptation then is to proceed in living unrepentantly in all manner of sin – both the evils that we are strongly attracted to and habituated in and avoiding good things that we really don’t want to do.  The rationale for this is that in our freedom in Christ no sins, whether sins of commission or sins of omission, can harm us – and this is “using your freedom as a cover-up for evil.”  Of course, great harm does come from this for impenitence negates faith, and without faith it is impossible to please Him [Heb. 11:6]; “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  So it is self-delusion to think that one can be “believing” and remain committed to continuing in evil.

True and genuine faith, that which is accompanied by genuine repentance and proper grasp of the nature of God’s wondrous love for us, does not compel us to further sin and evil but rather to all manner of goodness and love, in contrast to and fighting against all of the impulses of our sinful nature.  We are constantly discovering just how “integrated” the corruption of sin is in our thinking, our values, our habits, and our perspectives – and this drives us back constantly to God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and God’s Word assures our faith of the reality of His full forgiveness and cleansing away of our sin and guilt, and all of this reminds us that we must exercise constant vigilance in turning away from sin – for we are now servants of God, and in view of His love for us, our freedom from sin and condemnation, we seek to be faithful servants of God, to use our freedom for what is good, what is in keeping with love, and we know that this is His will for us.

In view of this sinful dynamic within us, how treacherous it really is, many people conclude that such faith in God’s full, complete, gracious, and merciful gift of salvation must be put away and rejected – that such “faith” is the cause of increased sin and ungodly security.  However, it is not what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, what He has promised, the freedom He has given us, or faith which grasps and appropriates such blessedness that causes such capitulation into sin and spiritual laziness and lethargy.  It is rather the sinful nature which causes this.  Turning away from faith doesn’t help – then our works and commitment to doing good is aimed at “getting” salvation for ourselves, and hence it is about self-interest, which is contrary to love [1 Cor. 13:5].  Since love is fulfilling the law [Rom. 13:10], that which is devoid of love is really devoid of goodness – regardless of how “glorious” such “good works” may appear externally.  Only faith, genuine faith in God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy, His gifts of salvation and eternal life provided freely for us in Christ Jesus, frees us to love, to live not as servants of our own self-interest, or as servants of evil, but as servants of God.

The fact that Peter had to write about this, compelled and moved by the Holy Spirit, is evidence of the treacherous dynamics at work in our sinful nature.  So the glorious Gospel of our freedom in Christ Jesus is affirmed, true and genuine faith is urged upon us, but we are warned about how our sinful nature seeks to corrupt and pervert this freedom into an excuse to remain in sin.  Even more hideous, utterly reprehensible, is the temptation to blame the dynamics of our sinful flesh on the Gospel and our freedom in Christ, and to reject His blessedness with the pretense that “we need to be doing more good works,” and that these can only be compelled by uncertainty and self-interest. Rather, with this wisdom from God we are shown the way to utilize our real freedom in Christ Jesus in a good and beneficial way, as servants of God.  All of this is filled with strange paradox, and may strike us as confusing – again, because of our damnable sinful nature – but God’s Word is clear, and the reality of His love is clear, and His will for us in clear.  So we pray as well that God will enable us to truly “live as people who are free.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to recognize the horrid and treacherous ways in which our sinful nature compels us to remain in slavery to sin, impenitence, and unbelief.  Continue to free us from our sinful nature, its distortions and perversions, that through faith in Your glorious and gracious love and salvation, we may live as people who are free, people who are servants of God.  Amen.