May 24, 2018
Read Genesis 17
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Scripture- Genesis 17:9-10- Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised."
Observations- to us this is quite a peculiar way to mark the commitment to honoring the covenant, but it was unique in ancient culture, which means it revealed the special nature of being set apart for a life of connection with and service to the living God. One thing is certain- one had to be really committed to the covenant from God to live into this unique symbol of relationship with God.
Application- In Acts 15 the church struggled to make sense of Gentiles coming to Christ, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit without being circumcised. They determined that circumcision (being Jewish) wouldn't be a prerequisite to being a Christ follower. Baptism would serve as a mark and a sign of the new covenant of grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. A key point is that we mark and renew our faith in the power of God's Spirit. In the New Testament it was all about having a "circumcised heart."
Prayer- Dear Lord, thank You for filling me with Your grace and mercy. Thank You for Your renewing, life-giving covenant to keep drawing me into Your truth and love. Help me be open to marking my journey of faith with symbols that reveal my love for You and joyful service to You. I am Your, Lord. And You are mine! Amen.
"Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts...But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:11, 13),
P. S. - On May 24, 1738 John Wesley had his "heart strangely warmed." This is how he described the experience in his journal: "In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading [Martin] Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
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