The Cambridge dictionary defines Advent as the beginning of an event, the invention of something, or the arrival of a person. For Christians, Advent starts four weeks before Christmas. The season of Advent is meant to be one of hopeful reflection, anticipating the coming Messiah. I will be providing a devotion each week during Advent as well as Bible readings for you to read during the week.
Week One – The Lord Is Our Righteousness
Jeremiah 33:14-16 “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called, “The Lord is our righteousness.”
“Have I then no work to work in this great matter of my pardon? None. What work canst thou work? What work of thine can buy forgiveness or make thee fit for the Divine favour? What work has God bidden thee work in order to obtain salvation? None. His Word is very plain and easy to be understood, “To him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). There is but one work by which a man can be saved. That work is not thine, but the work of the Son of God. That work is finished.” – Horatius Bonar
Freedom shouts triumphantly through Jeremiah’s radical prophecy. “The Lord is our righteousness.” Those four simple words directly opposed the traditions of the children of Israel. Each generation performed outward sacrifices and memorised and kept endless rules with the faint hope that by doing so, they’d be seen as ‘righteous’ or ‘good’ in God’s sight. They were never quite sure if their sacrifices and burned offerings would be acceptable in God’s eyes. Saul is a prime example. Although he sacrificed to the Lord, his sacrifice was not accepted. God looked at the king’s heart and not his outward acts. (1 Sam 15:22)
Because God knew that we would never be able to do enough to bridge the separation caused by our sin, he put into place a grand scheme. He would send Jesus at the appointed time. He would become our righteousness once and for all. Jesus would be our bridge builder. One perfect sacrifice for the atonement of all mankind.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
As the Christmas rush begins, I urge you to take time to count the ways our Messiah, our bridge builder has changed your life.
Think of the times you tried to prove to God that you were worthy of being in his good books. How did that work out? God doesn’t need us to be all cleaned up and on our best behaviour before we are acceptable in his sight. He knows our failings all too well. He loves us unconditionally. If there is something in your life blocking you from intimacy with God, take time to talk with him about those areas. Ask forgiveness when needed, forgive others always, receive God’s forgiveness, and strive not to strive to prove to God that you are anything but his child, totally dependent on him.
We can never repay the incredible sacrifice Jesus paid to gain our righteousness, but we can bring much pleasure to our Lord thru hearts that are full of intentional thanksgiving.
Beware the martyr syndrome this season. God delights in hearts that serve Him and His people from a heartfelt assurance that He loves us. He does not take pleasure when we do things for others out of a motivation to earn brownie points with Him. A gift, no matter how expensive, will always be off-putting to its recipient when it is given to prove a point or as a public display of one’s generosity and sacrifice. (Hosea 6:6)
Bible Readings – 2018 Schedule – Free Download
These Advent readings are read by millions worldwide, transcending cultural and denominational barriers.
Accompanying Youtube Video
Part Two – He is our Hope
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
2013, 2018 Katherine Walden
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