Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, April 21, 2017
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
Get ready to shout! By “shout,” I mean to rejoice. There are countless things for which to be thankful. I would like to highlight just one (if that’s even possible). Let’s talk about the blessing of Christ’s righteous covering, which He so freely gives to those willing to receive it by faith.
- Fact: We are born in sin and shaped in iniquity.
- Fact: Even on our best days, whatever decent acts we may perform do not even come close to God’s standard of righteousness. All of our attempts, if not surrendered to Christ to be sanctified, are like filthy menstrual cloths.
I didn’t just make that up for effect, by the way; that’s what God said in Isaiah 64:6. That means all of my kind gestures, philanthropic activities, Bible exposition, apparently selfless activism, and church activities, are not enough to cover up the sins that make me worthy of eternal death. Let’s not even even mention the overwhelming list of my darling little sins here. If my “good” acts are filthy, how in the world do my overtly evil acts rate in heaven? That’s where Jesus comes in.
The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1–4).
There you have it. If you are like me, a human being needing to be transformed and renewed in the Spirit, here’s your opportunity to shout!
God loves us so much that He gave us the Person and work of His Son, so if we exchange our good and bad for His good, by faith, He will flood our spiritual bank accounts with the currency of His 100% good works. This is no light matter, however. Once we accept the gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live according to the Ten Commandments standard of righteousness. Imagine God’s dismay if, having accepted the gift of deliverance from eternal death, we continue to walk in our old paths of evil or self-righteousness. Imagine His dismay if He empowers us to live like royalty in helping those who need to know Him through our example and direct interactions, but we continue to live like paupers who never tasted of the heavenly gift.
Rejoice because God will adorn your life with the royal jewels of salvation, majestic robe of Christ’s righteousness, and garments of peace between your soul and heaven. Rejoice in the fact that God has been so kind to allow you to breathe for another minute as He throws open the doors of acceptance for you to walk through and begin (or continue) a life of close communion with Him. Commit yourself to God afresh today and thank Him for not holding your sins against you when you accept Him, by faith.