Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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Mar. 5 – The Way of God’s Salvation

“Fire devoured their young men, and their young women had no marriage song. Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation. Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine. And He put His adversaries to rout; He put them to everlasting shame.” Psalm 78:63-66

Devotional Thought For The Day

Again, all of this is in consequence of the idolatry of the children of Israel – which apparently afflicted the priests as well. We know of the moral struggles of both Eli’s family and Samuel’s. We also know that there were many times in Israel’s history when the priests capitulated to the worship occurring in the “high places,” and times when the priests of “baal” outnumbered the priests of Yahweh, the LORD, the only True and Living God. When that which is supposed to be “light” capitulates to the darkness, how utterly worthless and devastating that darkness is. Who can blame God, when the light of His love, the truth of His Word, is so plain and visible, but people choose instead to hold on to their dark thoughts, their idolatries, their man-made religious systems? What a difficult thought, that even the wives of these fallen priests made no lamentation for them!

It is the recurrent theme and history of the Old Testament, that God renews His love and commitment to His fallen people, delivering them from their dismal circumstances and destroying His wicked idolatrous enemies.  In these verses this is described: “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine. And He put His adversaries to rout; He put them to everlasting shame.” This is the cyclical structure of the whole book of Judges, and really the same history is repeated over and over again in the historical books of the Old Testament, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. It is also recorded in the books of the prophets. He delivers and saves His people prior to their renewal in faith and decency – and sometimes even when He knows that they will not respond properly to His deliverance and mercy. They do not “work” first, reform themselves, and then are saved by God; neither does God reform them and help them so that they can save and deliver themselves; rather they are saved and delivered first, so that they can freely honor Him and serve Him – and this same pattern instructs us as to how God works with all people, how He deals with fallen human beings, and how He has saved us in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul details this for us:  “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . . For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” [Rom. 5:6,8,10] Only those who recognize this truly appreciate the wonders of God’s love, and can take full confidence in the resulting realities: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.” [Rom. 5:9]  And only those who understand this dynamic can give proper glory to God in worshipping Him: “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” [Rom. 5:11] The pattern related in this psalm, and throughout the Old Testament Scripture, helps us to clearly understand the pattern, principles, and dynamics of our salvation in Christ Jesus.

Once God has delivered us from sin, death, and hell in Christ Jesus, not “because of righteous deeds which we have done, but according to His mercy” [Tit. 3:5], people once again have freedom, options.  Some choose to deny that they have been delivered, lifted up out of the pit, and insist upon “saving” and “delivering” themselves from the pit by their own “righteous deeds.” This is preposterous – and also a rejection of what Christ has done for them [you can’t do for yourself what God has already done for you!].  Others hop right back into the pit – submersing themselves in the same wickedness, rebellion, moral slime, and rejection of God that He delivered them from. What God desires is that we FIRST understand His salvation, putting full faith and trust in Him.  By proper understanding and vision of His love, our hearts are changed, warmed, drawn to Him, and imbued with devotion to Him – so that freely, willingly, selflessly, without hope of any reward, we take up His Word of love and conform our lives to His good and gracious will.

So let us take care not to reject what God has done for us and return to rebellion against Him – whether by immorality, unbelief, or worse yet by misbelief [religion, which is idolatry]. Remember, the pattern is cyclical – and though God’s judgment may be a long time in coming, it will surely fall upon those who despise and reject His salvation.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, You have made clear and plain to us the kind of salvation You have performed and provided for us. Impress Your love upon us, that we forsake all idolatry – whether immorality or perverse misbelief. Grant us great joy that we do not have to save ourselves, and joy in the privilege and freedom we have to serve You in love by truly and genuinely loving the people around us. Amen.