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The Coming Wedding

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25

The burden of the law has been lifted from you. “You are no longer under obligation to try to obey the law as a way of earning favor with God, because every demand of the law has been satisfied in Jesus Christ.”

If truly is such good news. It changes everything. All of the days of comparison are over. The days of feeling ashamed because of our brokenness are done. When we were granted Christ’s righteousness through the work of the cross we we made pure, whole and clean.

“Christ has given himself up for our disgrace. His blood has washed away all our impurity. He has completely cleansed us so that we’re without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind. No stain, no disgrace, no defect. All our shame is gone, and he declares us to be holy.” Let that sink it.

Now imagine your worst day… the day you fail terribly. Not let that truth sink in. It is so good, but that is not all. One day, Christ will return for his bride, the church – you! And it is the ultimate wedding that he longs for.

We will dwell with Christ for eternity and we will be part of the greatest of parties celebrating the marriage of the Lamb. Let’s look forward to that day and rest in the anticipation of Christ.

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 3.

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Burden Lifted

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15

The law, or at least the sense of the law surrounds us. We know how to behave to earn things. We follow a speed limit. It is everywhere. Even more so when our minds attempt to figure out how to relate to God. ‘Surely I must do this or that” we think as if our actions will generate love from God. It is just not true. And even in our best moments we fall short and can’t live up to the expectations we think are put on us.

Allow the burden to be lifted: “because Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed every facet of the law in your place and then died bearing all the guilt and wrath that was rightfully yours, you are no longer obligated to obey the law as a way to avoid his (God’s) wrath.” Whew. No way! At Jesus’ obedience I am freed from the burden of behavior and the law.

This freedom is amazing. It is the hope of grace because I know how incapable I am and how my best efforts always come up empty. But Christ; his effort is all that is needed.

It is from this place of grace then that I can obey. Since I am loved I am motivated! “Faith is all that is necessary. However, not only is faith necessary for your salvation, but it’s also necessary for your ongoing obedience. Responding to his love and grace is the only way to true or what I call “gospelized” obedience, because all other obedience always degenerates into penance or trying to avoid punishment. Other forms of obedience simply don’t measure up, because love for God isn’t the motive. And if love isn’t the motive, your obedience will always be motivated by love for yourself. It seems upside down to say that God motivates our obedience by freeing us from law and by declaring that he has no wrath left for us, but it’s true, and true faith embraces it.”

Now without the burden of the law I can live obediently out of love and in a sea of grace as I stumble along the way. The burden is lifted in Christ. Live that today.

Lenten reflection from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 2.

Discipleship

Comforts for Lent

For some Christians Lent is a big deal. It is the season of anticipation ahead of Easter and it begins next Wednesday. While our church culture is not big on Lent, as a young adult ministry we do call our people to reflection and revelry in the cross. This year we will be sharing daily thoughts pulled from Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book, Comforts from the Cross. We will take Saturdays and Sundays off and get through the book in time for the Thursday before Easter.

You can follow the reflections on the Abide Facebook page. Like the page for updates.

No matter your tradition or what you do this Easter season, may Christ be bigger than ever before and may you rest in his once for all work for you.