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Daily Devotional | Right and Wrong - What the Bible Says About Sin and Righteousness. - Street Sign with arrows. Today in the Word September 2022 graphics

Daily Devotional | Real Holiness


Have you ever been confused about the relationship between God’s grace and our effort in the Christian life? Here is the key: Grace is incompatible with earning, not with effort. Hebrews 12:14 speaks about effort: “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” Being holy is not automatic, but it also does not just mean trying hard. We need the presence of God’s grace.

Today’s reading contrasts those who come to God through Jesus Christ with those who draw near under the Law of Moses. In verse 20, we learn that those who heard the Law on Mount Sinai “could not bear what was commanded.” However, verses 22–24 say that those who responded to the gospel have come to the heavenly Jerusalem (not Sinai). There they find the assembly of angels and the church of the firstborn “whose names are written in heaven” (v. 23). They also come to God Himself and to Jesus, their mediator.

By these images, the writer is showing that the Law could only take us so far (to Sinai), but grace which comes to us through Jesus Christ can take us where the Law could not (to God). The Law points us to God, but grace brings us into His presence. The gospel speaks a “better word” that must not be ignored (v. 24). The holiness that the writer urges Christians to practice is energized by grace. It begins with grace and is carried out through grace. Second Peter 3:14 echoes this theme when it tells us to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” The only way we can be blameless before God is to be found in Christ. Christ is our righteousness.

>> Verse 25 says: “See to that you don’t refuse him who speaks.” Come to Jesus, and He will make you holy. When you say yes to Jesus, you are saying yes to God. Refuse Him, and you will regret it forever.

Pray with Us

We accept Jesus our Messiah as Lord. In Him we receive forgiveness. We stand before You, God, as brothers and sisters of Your Son Jesus. We adore You for granting us holiness through the blood of Christ.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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