Highlights In Today's Reading:
As believers in Jesus Christ our Savior (John 14:6) we're showered with the loving kindness of God (1:3-8). We all . . . were by nature the children of wrath. . . . But God . . . loved us . . . through Christ Jesus. For . . . we are His workmanship (2:3-4,7-8,10). As His family (2:19), we are strengthened through His Spirit (3:16).
Before Jesus Christ came to earth, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the grave, the high priest was allowed to enter into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies only once a year to offer prayer on behalf of the worshipers. Before that time Gentiles did not have a Covenant relationship with God: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being . . . strangers from the Covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world (2:11-12).
But now, in Christ, Jews and Gentiles alike who have received Christ as Lord and Savior have a new Covenant relationship with God and access by one Spirit unto the Father: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (2:13).
After Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, God removed the Temple, Altar of sacrifice, Laver for cleansing, and the high priest. All these were merely symbolic of the Messiah and were replaced by the only-begotten, perfect Son of God. Jesus made this very clear, saying: I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6). For Christ is not entered into the Holy Places made with hands . . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that He should offer Himself often . . . but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:24-26). Only through Christ is it possible for anyone to come to God our Father in prayer at any time.
The Holy Spirit guided the Apostle Paul to write: For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all . . . children of God. . . . For Christ is the End of the Law . . . to every one that believeth. . . . But . . . if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom. 9:6-8; 10:4,8-9).
Thought for Today:
There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him (Rom. 10:12).
1:8 prudence =spiritual insight, knowledge and holy love of the will of God; 1:10 dispensation of the fulness of times =past period of the dealings of God with mankind on earth; 1:13 sealed =proof of ownership that we belong to the Family of God; 1:14 earnest =first installment of our inheritance; 2:1 quickened =made alive; 2:13 sometimes =formerly (not "occasionally"); 3:3 mystery =purpose of God which is hidden from the ungodly; 3:13 faint not =won't give up or be discouraged.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Staff: Bernice Rathbone (retired) • Government Officials: Rep. Stephanie Herseth (SD) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) • Country: Mozambique (19 million) on the eastern coast of Africa • Major language: Portuguese • Religious freedom • 40% worship of false gods, ancestral spirits, and some witchcraft; 23% Roman Catholic; 14% Protestant; 13% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings (Ps. 150:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 18:33