Closing the Gap 3.2.18

Week 8 Day 5

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated — 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Reflect:

The gospel is your only hope.  To have the faith to see dead, loved ones raised to life is not enough.  To have the faith to endure terrible suffering and torture is not enough.  To have the faith to be killed in horrible, terrible fashion is not enough.  To live in unbelievable circumstances in order to be faithful is not enough.  What is enough if these things are not?  The sacrifice of Jesus is.  The “better” thing that God had planned for us and for those who died before the coming of the Christ is just that: the coming of the Savior to the world.  Those who died prior to the incarnation were saved by faith that trusted God alone for salvation.  They were not saved because their faith took them through terrible circumstances; they were saved because their faith took them to God for salvation.  It is by God’s grace that all are saved through faith.  This has always been the case.  Some people have been able to endure much because they had faith in themselves, or in a certain hoped-for outcome.  But although this faith may have given them extra human stamina and strength in the short term, it is not the faith that can ultimately save.  Some people have been able to endure much because of their faith in a certain god, or idol, or even a demon.  Their faith increased their resiliency and allowed them to overcome much, but that faith is not enough to ultimately save them.  Have you ever been confused by people who do have faith in the gospel but are able to live with great endurance and hope in the face of great difficulty?  You need not be.  Faith and hope are powerful factors in human lives.  Even if the object of faith is not real, the presence of faith can make a difference in outcomes.  Faith is not what is most important.  What is most important is that our faith is well-placed in the one true God.  Some will have overcoming faith that is misplaced in their own ability.  This faith can do much, but it will in the end fail them.  You can have a stumbling, faltering faith that is placed in God.  Though you may fail along the way, he will not fail you in the end. By all means close the gap: seek to grow in your faith.  But grow in your faith in God, not in some kind of faith that tries to exist in isolation from him.  The gospel is your only hope, hope in Christ alone.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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