Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Turn and Get a New Heart

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 18:1-19:14
Matthew 12:22-45
Proverbs 13:20-14:4
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Focus Verses: Ezekiel 18:30-32
30 "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all  your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

Every person is accountable to God for his or her own sins. God does not condemn children because of the sins of their parents, and God does not condemn parents for the sins of their children. God judges "each one according to his ways."

The whole of chapter eighteen makes it clear that God is just. He looks at each person as an individual. He calls everyone to turn away from sin. He promises a new heart and a new spirit to those who repent. He takes no pleasure in condemning people, but would rather redeem and forgive.

Response and Action:
God deals with me as an individual. The sin I need to be most concerned about is my own. I do not need to worry about God condemning me because of the sins of others. The way I deal with my own sin is the chief concern in my relationship with God and my hope in his promises.

God does not take pleasure in condemning and punishing sinners; he would rather save and redeem them. Because of this, my primary image of God will be that of Redeemer and Savior. When I think of God as a judge, it will be as a benevolent judge who is reluctant to condemn, and who grieves over those he is judging.

O God, thank you for looking on me as an individual and for offering me hope and life. Save and redeem me. Help me to see my sins for what they are and to turn away from them. Lead me away from temptation, and deliver me from evil. Help me to walk in faithfulness to you. Grant me the wisdom and the will to guard my heart, feed my spirit, stimulate my mind, and care for my body. Help my life to be a praise to your glorious grace. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  John 3:16-17
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall  not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Grace: The Power to Change
by James B. Richards

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