Amos 9:1-10; Revelation 2:8-17; Matthew 23:13-26
It is hard to imagine God as one who vows to destroy sinners, but that is exactly the image Amos portrays in the first reading. “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground…” (Amos 9:8). Jesus declares to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” What a terrible indictment! On the other hand, in Revelation 2 the Christians in Smyrna and Pergamum are commended for their faithfulness.
Clearly God expects there to be a change in His people. We who were once sinners are by grace through faith made a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). We are not to continue in sin. Through the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live lives that are pleasing to God. As we live in Christ Jesus we grow in our faith to the point we want to reach out to others lost in sin with the life changing news of the Gospel.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for making me a new creation in Christ Jesus. Forgive me when I sin and empower me anew to live for you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Carl Haynes, the Pastor of Christiana Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.