Today's Reading: Romans 12:9-21
What might make you uncomfortable:The idea that there are standards in God's kingdom can be uncomfortable to those that misunderstand grace.
Today's Devotional:There are those that read the Bible erroneously and claim that the New Testament never tells believers to "do" anything. These false teachers claim that because of grace that Christians are free from any commands and may simply do what they want and enjoy the benefits of salvation.
Of course, this is a partial truth. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Not only that...God really loves us AND He likes us! He is totally pleased with us despite our performance. We are totally accepted by the love of God.
God's family is a place of total acceptance. But have you ever seen a family without rules? Some parents, in the name of "love," let their children do whatever they want. Things rarely turn out well for children left to their own devices without proper God-ordained boundaries and leadership.
In the same way, God set up His family with some simple rules of how to act. Most simply, it is the law of love - we are to love our neighbor as ourselves because we are totally loved by God. When we fail, there is grace for the journey... but God's grace does not change God's standard.
Grace, then, does not simply mean God accepts us... but it also means God empowers us to obey His will, not by OUR works but HIS.
What are some of the standards in God's family? We see them in Romans 12:
- Love must be sincere
- Hate evil
- Hold fast to what is good
- Honor others
- Never be lacking in zeal
- Be joyful
- Be patient
- Share with the needy
- Be hospitable
- Love your enemies
- Rejoice and mourn with others
- Live in harmony
- Be humble
- Don't take revenge
- Overcome evil with good
This is the law of love. This is what grace empowers us to do.