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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, November 17, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 John 2:1–6

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked. (NRSV)

Grace is a concept that isn’t easy for us humans to comprehend. Oh, we like to try and pay it lip service. But the idea of giving love unconditionally with no strings attached is so far outside the bounds of how we operate that it’s not something we can easily wrap our minds around. Even when we do begin to understand it, we try and apply it selectively. We treat it like something someone must earn, and we withhold grace and love from others. And in many cases, we convince ourselves that God’s grace does not apply to us.

What I love about this scripture is that it denies both of these attitudes. Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t just for “our” sins, but for the sins of the entire world. All are worthy and equal in God’s eyes. Christ’s grace is not selective.

We can’t reject it for ourselves, and we can’t withhold it from others. With that grace comes responsibility. If we say we abide in Christ, we are to walk and love just as he did. We must allow ourselves to be overcome by his grace and take that into the world.

Lord, thank you for the overwhelming gift of grace and forgiveness. Help me to breathe in your love. I pray that I would have the opportunity, strength, and courage to be your disciple and to walk like you in this world. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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