Prayer for the day
Almighty God, my heavenly Father: I have sinned against you, through my own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, in what I have done and what I have left undone. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all my offences; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Scripture for the day
In writing Timothy, Paul gives regulations and recommendations about how men and women ought to conduct themselves in life and in worship. Many pages have been written about the contextual difficulties of 1 Timothy 2 and the regulations Paul lays down, whether they are contextually driven or divine mandate. Regardless of the specific recommendations and regulations, what we see here is what is best at the time to ensure that the hearts of Timothy’s congregation remain in the proper place and that their conduct is that which pleases God, both in the church and outside of it.
Isaiah has much to say about the activities and heart states that truly please God. In these last few chapters of the book, God speaks through the prophet to tell of the time to come when all things will be made right, and when God will mete out His perfect justice: to the righteous, eternity and joy, and to the wicked, punishment and shame. God will do these things, He says, according to his perfect judgment, which will include both the activities of the world and also the hearts of the nations. People will be judged not just according to their actions, but according to the rationale of their actions as well.
Reading these two passages should give even the most diligent believer pause. It is not simply enough to act well. Nor is it enough to believe correctly. It is in the convergence of belief, action, and right heart that the pleasure of God is to be found.