I’ve been struggling with a fever for days. Today I found myself on the floor at the foot of my Christmas tree, which happens to be a cross. As I looked up at the well-light, decorated cross tree, I considered the goodness of God.
Our God, holy and almighty, stooped down to us. Not only did He stoop down, sending His one and only Son to live life in this broken world and die on the cross, but He continues to stoop down again and again, meeting us where we are in this broken world.
This is grace. Reaching down and lifting up to where you are. No one demonstrates grace like our Father. We cannot earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. Yet He gives it freely to all who believe. When we believe, we are called children of God—and co-heirs with Christ. We go from sinner to saint, from dead to alive.
Every day, we need this reminder of His grace. You may feel down today, but you will not be down forever. You may feel pain today, but you will not feel pain forever. Breathe in some grace today, and then pour it out as well. We all need grace.
“He stooped down to lift me out of danger from the desolate pit I was in, out of the muddy mess I had fallen into. Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.” – Psalm 40:2 [TPT]
Today’s devotion is hard to write. I must admit that as a pastor, this verse is one I think upon often. One day I was hit with this overwhelming truth—that my actions—my words and my deeds – could cause someone to stumble and fall. This great responsibility caused me to reevaluate everything. I asked the Lord to please reveal to me if I am being a stumbling block, and to give me the wisdom and discernment to not get in the way of His work and His people. I was deciding “instead to live in such a way that (I would) not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” This doesn’t mean I haven’t done it, but that I pray for more of Him and less of me. I pray that I can live in such a way to embrace and encourage others on their walk, pointing them to Jesus, speaking life, equipping the saints for His kingdom.
Fall on your knees today and seek the wisdom and discernment so that you, too, will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. Seek out the best interests of others. Live with the eternal perspective. Today, decide to live in such a way that you build others up, that you show the love of Christ, that you reach down and raise up. This is grace. It is the same grace that God has shown us when He reached down in our broken world, and through Christ Jesus raised us to new life. We are now co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Live in such a way.
“So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 [NLT]
- 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
- He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
- He predestined us for adoption.
- Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
- 11 – Obtained an inheritance
- This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
- 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee
Adopted Children of God:
- Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
- Identical legal rights as blood child
- All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
- God will care for us
- Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
- Complete authority over child
- Legal role as caregiver
- Relationships will change
- Our relationship with God changes
- God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
- God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
- God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
- Our relationship with others changes
- Our relationship with God changes
1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]
Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]
Bible Study Questions:
- Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
- Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
- In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
- God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?