It is always interesting to me how many faithful Christians, justified by God’s grace and sanctified by God’s Holy Spirit, still spend so much of their time thinking about sin. And not even really the condition of “sin”, but individual acts we have come to consider “sins.” Our brokenness, our separation from God through the power of sin, is the whole reason Christ came to earth, died for us, and was raised. Because we cannot be pure and holy and good through our own human efforts, God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We are the recipients of God’s grace, not because we deserve it, but because we don’t deserve it. God loves us in spite of, and transcendent of, the condition of sin that separates us.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23)
Those of us who have been blessed to receive grace should never be selfish in that grace, but we should always seek in every possible way to share that grace with others and spread that grace to all the world! God’s amazing grace is not given to us alone. God’s grace is given to sinners; to all sinners including you and me. And through this unmerited and underserved forgiveness, acceptance, and love, we are sanctified – included in the glory of God and eternal life. Thanks be to God.
Gracious God, hear our prayer. First, we give you thanks for the gifts of justification and sanctification you extend to us. Second, we are grateful that you call us to share this justifying and sanctifying grace with others. Third, we ask that you help us not to feel self-righteous or selfish with the grace we receive, but instead break down all our barriers, so that we might share your abundant grace with everyone who needs it. This is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).