Prayer for the day
You are my hiding-place . . . you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
Scripture for the day
As someone who embraces non-violence, you may find this to be a strange title coming from me. Stick with me.
Paul regularly teaches Christians that it is God’s work that saves, God who makes holy, God who turns us into what he has designed us to be. It is God who initiates this work and God who completes it.
This kind of language could make us lazy and apathetic, simply resting on our laurels and waiting for God to hurry up and get done with us.
If Paul left it with the work of God, that could certainly be an adequate response. But Paul does nothing of the kind. In almost every passage that speaks of the work of God, including this one, Paul engages the Christians in a discussion of their responsibilities within this work of God. We do not save ourselves, but we participate in the work of God in our lives by putting things to death. Things like immorality, sin, lust, greed, hatred. All of these things belong in the grave where our old self lies, so that we may be free of them. Once free, God’s transformation is enacted.
The prophet Isaiah describes in his book an equally important death: death to self-reliance. King Hezekiah is threatened by Sennacherib, and could very well trust in nations around him to save the nation of Israel. Instead, Hezekiah trusts in the Lord, putting to death both his fear and his ability to rely on other nations. Instead, he trusts that God will care for the Israelites and that God will provide for them. His trust is not unfounded. God does indeed care for those who trust in him, and Hezekiah’s belief is vindicated.
May we learn to put to death the things that would keep us from trusting in God.