Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It is God who Justifies - Who is to Condemn?

So I write a daily (well Tuesday-Sat) email devotion - mostly for some congregation members and some others. Usually I use a text from the Daily Lectionary. I'm leading a summer bible study on Romans so lately I've taken the text from Romans..

I started out writing it every single morning but that got to be too much so first I cut out Sunday and then Monday, my day off. But it is still quite a commitment. Sometimes I forget or blow it off. Or write what I think it's pretty much fluff. But my wonderful secretary will often give me some feedback that shows she's been thinking about what I said. And I got feedback from my never met facebook friend Ruth that she found today's devotion particularly meaningful. So I think I will work harder on these devotions. It is good discipline and prayerful for me to do as well. This was today's

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is probably one of my favorite verses to read at a funeral. But it is a message of hope and encouragement for us today. If God is for us who is against us? Who dares to say that you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not “spiritual” enough, not strong enough, not skinny enough, not popular enough, not wealthy enough, not cool enough, not well read enough, not educated enough, not “straight” enough, not American enough, to stand before God and your fellow creatures as a beloved child of God set apart to love and serve God and your neighbor?

Anyone who would dare say that needs to be forgiven because they don’t know what they are talking about. It is God who justifies. It is God who created and breathed us into life and Christ who lived, rose and died to bring us into new life and it is the Holy Spirit that sanctifies and strengthens and encourages and keeps us in this new life to which we have been born anew. No one can contradict what God has said and done. You are God’s new creation. You have been called to new and abundant life. Go and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God!

Gracious loving God, open our hearts to hear and accept only your message of grace and to those who would condemn us, close our minds to their condemnation but open our hearts to pray for the message of your Gospel to reach their hearts as well. Amen."


  1. I think it's grace that you do this, Joelle. hmmmm.... wondering myself.

  2. Grace yes, so hopefully you'll forgive me. When I was reading your list of not-good-enoughs I thought, well, the American TV moguls think that a show where people aren't good enough makes a lot of money. Do you think that this current culture might influence people EVEN more to think that they aren't good enough?

    I always thought I wasn't good enough in high school, but attending a school of 3600 kids, I probably wasn't as "good" as a lot of kids in a lot of topics. One thing I love about small town life and a smaller church is that even if I'm not all that good at something, I'm good enough to start a project or lead a project or partake in a project.