Tag Archives: redemption

Returning The Slave (Reflection for 9/22)

“If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account”

-Philemon 1:18

ROTD: Christ has redeemed us to return us


 First of all, I apologize for the short break. Life caught up with me this weekend.

 The book of Philemon is such an interesting story. One chapter, it tells of how Paul came across the slave of Philemon, Onesimus. He discipled him and then returned him to his master, asking (firmly, in love) that he receive him not in anger as a slave, but as a brother.
I do not wish to stretch beyond reason here, but in this little story I see a picture of Christ. At the end of the day, we all belong to God. He made us. We are his-and even more so, when we are in Christ we are His. Paul calls himself a “Slave to righteousness” as he goes about the work of God. But-even as we walk with God, and under His authority, we fall. We try to run, we backslide, we look for escape, we lose our way. We become an Onesimus, unfortunately, because we are still human. Imperfect. Now, this is not to excuse sinful behavior, but simply to recognize that these things do happen.

Praise be to God that we have Christ. What He did for us is what Paul asks of Philemon-that any charge God might have against us, be put to His account. He took on all of our debt, all of the charges God could bring against us, and paid for them with His own perfect blood. We also know that He intercedes on our behalf to the Father, asking Him to look on us not as the sinners that we are, but as saints, covered in His own blood. And God listens.

Oh, it’s good to be reminded of the simple truths. This is at the core of our belief, and yet so often we lose sight of who we are, and who He is. We are sinful, creatures trying to surrender ourselves to Christ, to let Him disciple us, walk along with us, and at the end of the age present us before the Father to hear Him say “Well done, my good and faithful servant”


Lord, we come before you grateful for all you have done for us. We know that we mess up, run away, and try and hide from your authority and grace. We thank you that you sent Jesus Christ to take on our debt, so that we may be able to continue to strive forward and have a relationship with you. You are merciful, and just, and righteous, and you can deal with us in any way you please-and yet, you chose to deal with us in mercy and grace. Let us not take that for granted, and let us ALWAYS remember what it is that you’ve done for us.
In Jesus’ holy name, amen.


Shoutout to Luther: Law and Gospel (Devo, January 30)

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
-Romans 5:20-21

The Law was given so that we might know our sin. It makes sense, when you think about it. How does a child know that what they are doing is wrong unless a parent says so? Otherwise, they will continue acting in what they perceive to be a normal fashion. We, too, needed to be told that what we were doing wasn’t right-because the pattern of sin that has invaded earth is normal to our flesh. It is normal to us. So the Law was given-the perfect, unbending, unchanging law of God that governs everything from outward actions to inward thoughts. It is in this perfection that the Law came “to increase the trespass”. People got used to the idea that the Law just had to do with what we should and shouldn’t do. When Jesus came, however, He showed them that really it extends down to thoughts, control of emotions, etc…it ran deeper than anyone knew. We had been sinning way more than we cared to acknowledge, and still care to today. There is no one that can fully keep the Law in deed and thought and spirit. It’s impossible, and therefore no one is exempt from the condemnation that it brings. We are all guilty under the Law of God.

Praise be to God, though, that there was One who COULD perfectly keep the Law-and that He did. Because even though our sins increased through the Law, grace increased infinitely more as Jesus came to fulfill that same Law. He said that He did not come to abolish it, but to fulfill it, down to the smallest detail. The only man who ever lived a completely perfect life was the one who could perfectly accept the punishment that was meant for us. The transgression of the Law, even one small part, requires payment; it requires death. Jesus paid that debt; He gave up His own life so that we wouldn’t have to. He did what we could not so that we could have life, and life to the fullest!  Praise be to God that we have a God that loves us so much that He gives us a way out. The war has already been won! Victory has already been claimed over the Law and sin and death through Jesus Christ!

And all it requires of us is just surrender everything.

We don’t have to strive to keep every ounce of the Law; we do not need to work to get to God, for one cannot possibly  do such a thing. We just need to surrender to the work that God has been doing in us, and allow this grace to abound all the more than the sin and brokenness in our life. Let Him transform you into the son or daughter of the Most High that He desires you to be. The Law will always condemn us. But Jesus is greater than that condemnation.

Will you let Him work in your life today, transforming you from a condemned sinner into a member of the body of Christ? Will you let Him continue to show you areas of your life that are abundant in sin, and let Him wash them clean with the overabundance of grace He offers? Will you let Him do what He came to do?