To close a week of reflection on the law—the Hebrew law, an ode to it in the Psalms, and Jesus’ radical ethic—we hear a final word of grace from Paul, who is having some trouble with the Corinthian Christians. One of his problems is that members of the church are...
Merciful God, we trust you know we are doing our best. Thank you for renewing your covenant with us day by day. Bless the community of the church with faithful hearts so that when we fall short of Christlike love, we may recall your love for our humanity and turn once more in hope toward you. Amen.
This week we continue to explore the importance of Christian morality. We do not earn God’s grace by our actions; rather, our obedience is a response to God’s grace. In Deuteronomy, we read that the choice of life will bring prosperity and is the proper response from a heart of gratitude. The psalmist echoes this sentiment, for blessed are those who follow the Lord not just with words but also with actions. The Corinthians have not understood this, so they continue to act like those in the world around them, living by the flesh instead of by the Spirit. Jesus pushes us even further. God sees not only what we do on the outside but who we are on the inside. A true life of obedience begins on the inside and flows outward.
Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20. When have you experienced the choice God sets before us of life or death, prosperity or adversity, blessings or curses? How have you discerned how to obey God?
Read Psalm 119:1-8. How does following God’s commandments bring you joy?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. What affiliations of yours or of people you know could you insert in place of “Paul” or “Apollos” in the scripture?
Read Matthew 5:21-37. When have you experienced legalistic interpretations of scripture? How do you get to the heart of scripture?
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