Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Christ Banished the Law

CALL TO PRAYER
Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
The earth and the riches that in it are stored,
the world and its peoples belong to the Lord,
for he is the One who first caused it to stand,
and up from the seas he established the land.
 —Psalm 24:1-2
Suggested tune: To God Be the Glory (11.11.11.11)


SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
While we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
—Galatians 4:3b-5 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
By the elements of the world the Apostle does not understand the physical elements as some have thought. In calling the Law “the elements of the world” Paul means to say that the Law is something material, mundane, earthly. It may restrain evil, but it does not deliver from sin. The Law does not justify; it does not bring a person to heaven. I do not obtain eternal life because I do not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc. Such mere outward decency does not constitute Christianity. [Non-believers] observe the same restraints to avoid punishment or to secure the advantages of a good reputation. In the last analysis such restraint is simple hypocrisy. When the Law exercises its higher function it accuses and condemns the conscience. All these effects of the Law cannot be called divine or heavenly. These effects are elements of the world.

Thus Christ banished the Law from the conscience. It dare no longer banish us from God. For that matter, the Law continues to reveal sin. It still raises its voice in condemnation. But the conscience finds quick relief in the words of the Apostle: Christ has redeemed us from the law.
 —Martin Luther (abr.)
TODAY'S PRAYER
O my forgetful soul, awake from thy wandering dream; turn from chasing vanities; look inward, forward, upward; reflect upon thyself: Thou art a creature of God, formed and furnished by him, lodged in a body like a shepherd in his tent; dost thou not desire to know God's ways? Let me not delay to come to thee; break the fatal enchantment that binds my evil affections, and bring me to a happy mind that rests in thee, for thou hast made me and canst not forget me. Let thy Spirit teach me the vital lessons of Christ, for I am slow to learn; and hear thou my broken cries...
 The Valley of Vision (abr.)
YOUR OWN PRAYERS
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

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