Hosea 5:15 6:6 (NRSV)
Salvation on the third day
I will return again to my place
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
In their distress they will beg my favor:
"Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Oh my! Today’s Bible passage from Hosea is a vivid reminder of what life would be like if we had to live Law apart from Gospel.
The Law of God is righteous and states that, “the wages of sin are death.” Sin always equals death, damnation, and punishment in the eyes of the Law.
BUT, thank God for Gospel! Gospel simply means GOOD NEWS and the GOOD NEWS is simple! God loves, gave, and saves.
God loves the world so much that God gave Jesus to die upon the cross to save us from our sin and to gift us with eternal life.
This is wonderful GOOD NEWS my friends because Law without Gospel is pretty ugly, in fact, it looks just like the Hosea passage above.
Look what happens in the absence of Gospel. Our sin causes us to be separated from God, distressed, lost, punished, judged, and killed. YUCK! What terrible bad news.
But, Law--with Gospel--means that Jesus has already paid the price for our sin. He has taken our maxed out credit card and paid it in full. He has paid off the mortgage on our house, just as it was going to foreclosure.
Come on somebody! That deserves a “Hallelujah Praise!”
When Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day, we were revived, raised up, and given New Life in Jesus!
No longer do we have to live guilty, distressed, and ashamed. God’s Amazing Grace and Unconditional Love revealed on the cross is more than enough to bring us into a right relationship with God.
Today’s reading says in essence that God desires for us to be in a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
Now, you may have tried other ways. Perhaps you tried to work your way into heaven. Perhaps you tried to “be good.” Perhaps you tried to bargain with tithes or offerings. Let me tell you something, my friends, none of it will work!
God says that it is not our “sacrifices and burnt offerings” that save our souls; rather, it is the love of God that gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life.
Stop making salvation so hard, dear ones. God has chosen to make it easy! It's not about religion, it's about relationship!
Now, you may be thinking, “This is too easy. It can’t be this simple! I know there is a catch. God can’t really love and forgive me. I’m just too bad.”
My friend, God does love you and God does forgive you. There is nothing that you have ever done that will make God stop loving you and there is nothing that you can do to make God love you more!
You are precious to God and God’s never-ending-never-give-up-unconditional-love-that-will-not-let-you-go is REAL, REAL, REAL!
All that God requires of you is to believe that God loves you and that Jesus died and rose again for you! It’s that simple.
Since it is that simple, why not put all of your hope in Jesus today?
Please pray with me:
Dear God, I know you love me and I love you too. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and that you raised him from the dead! Please forgive all of my sins and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I want my whole life to declare your praise and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, today, you are saved! I would be so honored if you would let me know about your decision by clicking “Yes” in the poll located at the top/right of today’s devotional! I am so happy for you! Happy Spiritual Re-Birth-Day!
Next steps: In response to what God did for you just now, let me suggest that you consider telling another Christian so that they can celebrate with you! Ask them to help you find a Bible that is easy for you to understand so that you can learn more about your new-found faith! Ask them to help you find a good Bible believing church where you can make new friends who will walk with you on your new journey! You are already saved; now let God mature you by faith! Congratulations!
If you have additional questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus"
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From Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com