12/08/15 Joy to the World!

READING: Romans 4-7 

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Sometimes the Bible is so filled with life that it’s as if the words leap off the page, wrap their arms around you, hold you tight, and simultaneously squeeze anguish out of you while filling you with hope. That’s how I feel as I read a portion of today’s reading.

Paul was making the point that Abraham, David, and all others are found to be righteous by their faith, not by their works. In the particular text that hugs me today, Paul quoted David’s words from Psalm 32:1-2How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered! How joyful is the man the Lord will never charge with sin!

In context, David certainly knew the power of grace and forgiveness. He committed adultery and murder. He, as described in Psalm 32:3-4, likely kept his sin to himself at first, choosing to live in hiddenness. The result, though, was that he suffered under the heavy weight of his guilt. He even wrote that it was as if his bones were breaking under the pain. Then he acknowledged his sin to God and did not conceal his iniquity, and God took away the guilt of his wrong (Psalm 32:5). 

Paul picked up on the same images in Romans 4. When we are honest with God, God forgives us. He covers our sin in His shed blood. Though we’re obviously sinful, He does not charge us with sin; He does not hold our wrong against us once He’s forgiven us (in fact, follow this link to see what He does with our sin when He forgives us). 

We’re guilty, but He declares us guiltless because Christ already paid the price for our wrong. How can we not be filled with joy today? 

ACTION STEPS:  Despite the pain of doing so, take time to confess your heart to God today. Let Him cleanse You fully.  

PRAYER: “Lord, I cannot put into words how grateful I am that You forgive me. Let my joy be obvious to everyone around me today.”     

TOMORROW’S READING:  Romans 8-10