There are two important concepts we see all throughout scripture. We see first that we as people are sinful. We see it in the garden, we see it in Noah after the flood, we see it in Abraham, in Moses and in the people. We also see it in Peter, Paul, and all the others in the New Testament. And, we see it in ourselves. We see it in our world. It was once written that original sin is the only doctrine that can be proven by anyone; you teach a child to do right, they already know how to do wrong. Sin is a reality
But, in the same manner, we see through out the Bible that God longs to forgive sin. God longs to restore us, to make us whole again. Through Christ, those that believe are make whole. We see here in this text the ritual that the Israelites went through to receive that forgiveness on the Day of Atonement. Likewise, we have our own ritual of forgiveness, confession and repentance. We must confess our sin to God, and we must repent, or turn from it. Today, let us remember than we are born in sin and must constantly be searching our lives and our actions for the sin that is there; but let us also remember that that our God has made a way whereby we can be set free.
New Testament Lesson
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
So many worry about the return of Christ and the judgement that comes through it. We see in this passage that as Paul said,
God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.For the Christian, there is no reason to live in fear of the return of our Lord, in fact, we should live in hopeful awareness. Awareness that hits world is not our home. Awareness that there is more to this life than the world we see here. Awareness that we should be encouraged and joyful for we will one day be with the Lord.
This awareness of the return of our Lord should free us to live with abandon here. We should live sold out lives from Him, for what do we have to fear? Why should we be afraid of this world or its judgement. The only judgement we should fear is that of our Lord. Today, life in hopeful awareness of the coming of our Lord!
Today, we see Jesus teaching us that when we fast, we should not call attention to ourselves, but do it in quite. Two points. First, we see once again that our action of righteousness are not done for the sight of others, but rather done for God and are done to strengthen our walk.
Secondly, notice Jesus didn't say, "if you fast." He said "when you fast." When was the last time you fasted? Now, some of us have health conditions that will not allow us to give up food. Most of us do not, though. When was the last time we fasted? And, if we are unable to give up food, when was the last time we gave up something as an act of self denial. There too many references within the Word to the notion of "dieing to yourself" for us to ignore. Each week, we should have some day of self denial; to strengthen our walk with God and to really see how much we are controlled by other things. So, when you fast, or deny yourself, don't call attention to it. But, when you do, do it for God to know and for His glory. When you do.