Category: Daily Devotionals

Focal Passage:  Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:24 “For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’”

Paul is citing Isaiah 52:5 in this verse, comparing the state of Israel’s witness then to the time when they were in exile in Babylon.  Their witness to God’s glory and majesty was replete in the eyes of non-believers both times, but this time it was because of their hypocrisy.  This is still very true today with Christians.  The single most prevalent impediment to evangelizing in the church today is not that the Bible hasn’t been translated into every known language.  It’s not because of other religions or terrorism.  The single largest reason that the growth of the church suffers is nominal Christianity, Christianity filled with people who profess with their lips that Christ is Lord but who have not made Him Lord of their lives.  There is no witness in that.  We should be as horrified at the prospect of our actions being the potential cause of blaspheming the name of God as the Jews were when Paul wrote this letter.  The principle is more than “practice what you preach;” it’s “live who you say you are.”

Study/Meditation:  How is it that nominal Christianity is so devastating to evangelizing today?

*Father, forgive me for the times when I have lived more as a hypocrite than as Your child.  Give me opportunity to show the world how glorious You are in both my words and my deeds.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:21-23 “You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?  While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.”

Most believers are familiar with the story in John 8:1-11 with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  The woman had been caught in the act and the Jewish leaders had dragged her into the temple to be judged and condemned according to the law, which was to be stoned to death.  Jesus was teaching in the temple, so they asked Him what should be done with her.  Jesus taught in a few words exactly what Paul is saying in today’s verses.  Jesus simply said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  In other words, Jesus instructed them to begin this act by having the one among them who had never sinned throw the first stone at the adulterous woman.  They couldn’t do it, and neither can we.  Paul is reminding us, just as Jesus did, that ours is never to condemn the sin in others nor to judge others more harshly than we do ourselves.  In order to teach others about the grace we’ve received, we have to first see our own need for that same grace.

Study/Meditation:  Why is it so important to see your sin first before you instruct others?  How is this knowledge demonstrated in your actions?

*Father, thank You for forgiving me of my many sins.  Help me to be merciful and non-judgmental of those around me.  Thank You for Your grace.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:19-20 “And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—…”

Paul is still calling us to take a good, long look at ourselves and what we see as opposed to what is actually there.  In the last two verses he asked that we look at our claim to position in the Kingdom of God, and now he asks that we look at how we think we influence and treat others.  Often we can do more harm to the work of God in our superior, judgmental attitudes than we could be if we instructed in the humility of a fellow sinner.  One of the most common reasons cited by those who say they will not attend any church is that they see it as full of hypocrites.  That would not be the case if instead they saw the church building as full of humble sinners who have been saved by grace and wish only to share God’s good news with them.  We can only be a guide to the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor to the ignorant, and a teacher to children if we first see that we have needed and still often need the same things.  God’s grace should make us more graceful, not more prideful.

Study/Meditation:  How should the gift of grace make us treat others who need the same thing?  How can you manifest that today in your own life?

*Father, thank You for Your grace.  Help me humbly share this grace with others I see today and every day.  Amen.

Focal Passage: Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:17-18 “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent because you are instructed from the law;…”

Paul is still driving home his point that Jesus is the only way to salvation for everyone, even though he is specifically writing to the Jews in this section. He is setting them up in these verses; he’s painting for them a picture of what they claim to be true, but their claim is based on heritage and tradition as opposed to true heart change. Paul’s point is that knowing the truth can sometimes lead to misusing the truth. The Jews had done this in knowing the truth of their election as God’s people to whom He gave His law, but then in misusing this truth by making it their salvation instead of Jesus. There is a lesson for us in this, as well. Just because we may have been raised in the church and know all the right things to do and say doesn’t mean we’ve had the transformation indicative of one who is truly saved by grace. Being saved by grace means we recognize our need of Jesus as our Propitiator and we accept that He died in our place because of our sin. We don’t need the right labels or the right family or the right church building. We need a Savior. We need Jesus Christ.

Study/Meditation: How can you see the “church” today sometimes stand on the platitude of being the “church” instead of on the precious blood of Christ?

*Father, forgive me for any time I have depended on anything or anyone for my salvation than on Jesus. Thank You for choosing me. Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:16 “On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

Contrary to some fairly prominent opinions regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it does not exist outside of judgment.  As a matter of fact, the Gospel wouldn’t be the glorious truth that it is without judgment.  Paul has been making the point that we will be judged by the law, whether we choose to be or not.  God gave us the law so that we know by what standard He would judge.  His grace does not supersede or replace His law; it stands in conjunction with His law.  Jesus Christ gave Himself as a just sacrifice on our behalf, receiving on Himself the due penalty that we deserve for not upholding the law to perfection.  Our punishment was levied on Him.  Without Him there will certainly still be judgment, but it will be paid by every sinner who attempts to stand on their own.  In a world that attempts daily to dilute God’s justice with His mercy, let us remember that our Lord’s character never contradicts itself.  He is just and He is merciful, and both characteristics stand mighty and true in Him.

Study/Meditation:  How might you explain to someone the coexistence of God’s mercy and His judgment?  How does this coexistence prove that He is also just?

*Father, You are merciful and just, a great and glorious Lord.  Thank You for the sacrifice given for me through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 2:12-29

Romans 2:14-15 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.”

Paul teaches us that God’s judgment will come according to the law, that everyone stands condemned in His sight for not following it perfectly as He requires.  Some people in Paul’s day, and in ours, have attempted to water down God’s judgment by claiming that the Lord will certainly not judge everyone based on His commands when there are people in obscure parts of the world who have not heard it.  The apostle’s argument for this is in the way that people live.  Even those who adamantly deny God’s law live according to it, and that would also include those who may have never heard it.  God has written on the hearts of mankind the basic tenants of His law, and we can clearly see it in government, social structure, and in what even the worldliest person would call “morality.”  Inasmuch as this is true, no one is exempt from being held accountable to it, and God’s judgment will be rightfully on all men and women.

Study/Meditation:  What are some ways that the structure of our society reflects God’s laws?  What other evidences can you see that God’s laws are written on the hearts of mankind?

*Father, Your laws are just and Your judgment is right.  I praise Your holy name!  Amen.