Sunday Devotion: Becoming Slaves to Righteousness

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Bible Readings for Sunday, June 26th, 2011 – The Second Sunday After Pentecost

*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.

Jeremiah 28:5-9

Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

Romans 6:12-23

Matthew 10:40-42

  • As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.” – Jeremiah 28:9
  • ‘I will establish your descendants forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” – Psalm 89:4
  • … and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. – Romans 6:18
  • “… and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” – Matthew 10:42

Slaves to Righteousness?

Romans 6

16. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Obedience leads to righteousness…

…obedience to what?

To God’s law? No.

Romans 6

14. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Fine. Obedience to “something” makes us slaves to righteousness. But what it is we are supposed to be slaves to?

Modern Christianity seems to have found a very long list of things we are to be obedient to: some say no drinking, some say no violent movies, some say no cursing, some say no bared skin, some say no porn, some say no voting Democrat, some say no voting Republican, some say no gluttony, some say no… the list goes on and on.

The list of modern Christian prohibitions is so long and convoluted, it’s impossible to understand much less to accomplish. Just like the Law became too convoluted to accomplish for the Jewish people 2,000 years ago.

And yet nothing’s changed…

My God, we’ve done it, again: we’ve become slaves to the Law once more.

We’ve replaced Grace with Law.

And Christianity is broken.

Galatians 2

16. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the Law.

So if “being slaves to righteousness” does not mean a foolish adherence to an endless list of shifting prohibitions, then what are we to adhere to?

Let us examine our Gospel passage:

Matthew 10

40. “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
41. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous;
42. and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

“Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones… none of these will lose their reward!”

Amazing.

Compassion.

It’s all about compassion.

Grace accomplishes our individual salvation. Compassion accomplishes the Kingdom on Earth.

Jesus taught over and over the simplest of concepts: God wants us to be compassionate above all else. It’s so simple!

The Source of Moral Confusion

Then why do we make it so hard?

Because it’s impossible to gain power as a “pastor” or a “church” if the path to righteous living can be taught in an hour.

Christ never intended for the pinnacle experience of Christians to be an hour or two each Sunday. God intended a way of life. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Community wasn’t meant to be found only in the church, it was the experience of the Christian life together, loving each other, and caring for the stranger in need, welcoming the prophet and the fellow righteous in the name of Christ, all week long.

Church should be a great place to get recharged in the Word and Spirit for the work of a righteous life of compassion, if needed, but it should never be viewed as the pinnacle Christian experience.

“Slaves to righteousness” means to be:

Slaves to love.

Slaves to compassion.

Slaves to forgiveness.

Slaves to the Christ who is over all and through all and in all.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

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Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

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