Romans 2:13

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 2:13

“For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.” – Romans 2:13 

Paul is writing to the Romans here, which have many Jews who believed they were saved by their adherence to the Mosaic Law.  Their belief is that if they are perfect in keeping the law, and this includes the sacrifices of such as the sin offering, then you are in good standing with God.  If they gave great deference to the Law, if they hear it read with attention and professed with their mouths a great desire and willingness to yield to it in obedience, they were the ones who were the saved.

We have many today who believe the same thing, and they think of themselves as Christians.  Many believe that if we hear or read the Bible and go to church occasionally, if we sing the words of a song without doing it in worship and praise to God, if we say a short and/or memorized prayer where the words are secondary to the action itself, then how different are we from the Jews who believed that as long as they heard the Law and performed the rituals they were good.

I am definitely not perfect here, however, when I detect this in myself, I immediately ask God to forgive me and I focus on what I am there for, reading His Word, singing as worship, praying in humility, or any other action in my service and adoration of God.  We must come to the point where we realize it is not the words we say or the empty actions we perform, but the heart and sincerity by which we do and say these things.  Jesus said the following, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. This was said in answer to the question of which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

Jesus’ words bring additional clarity to our focus verse.  The greatest commandment in the Law is to love God with everything we have.  And that means whatever we do, whether it be reading or listening to the scriptures, praying to Him, taking communion or whatever else we are doing, ensure we are doing it with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole mind, and our whole strength.  If we do not, then we are mere hearers of the law who are simply going through the motions.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 37:31

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 37:31

“The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” – Psalm 37:31  

Before we go into our focus verse, let’s determine who ‘His’ is.  If we go a few verses back, we read the following, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.  The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. “Psalm 37:20-30 Our focus verse therefore is speaking of the righteous, those who follow after Him, following His ways, and who love Him above all things.  Jesus put it this way when asked what the greatest commandment is.  “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.  Adding on to this, Jesus also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

So, putting these verses together, we see that the righteous are those who love God with everything they have; that loves their fellow man as he loves himself.  And because of the love he has for God, obeys His commandments.

If we are righteous as defined above, then we shall not slip.  In other words, our course will be firm and steadfast.  Everything He has promised us will come to pass.  We will trust Him and because we are righteous, our desires will be good and fulfilled.  “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”  Psalm 37:4-5.  We will be content in what we have, no matter how little it is.  For we are content with His provision here for He is with us.  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

I want to encourage everyone to seek His righteousness.  May it be the greatest desire of our heart.  The righteous will be taken care of.  Every need will be met.  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34.

God loves us with an everlasting love. and He shows it to us with everything He does.  He takes care of us, stays with us, protects us and fills us with His Spirit.  He gives us joy and peace, and our every need.  Let us show our love to Him, giving Him glory and honor and praise and thankfulness.  What an incredible relationship we have with our God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Matthew 5:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:17

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” – Matthew 5:17 

Jesus is here at the beginning of His ministry.  He has been baptized by John the Baptist, went through the temptations from the devil and now is teaching to a crowd on the mountain.  As we read the account of the sermon on the mount, it is important to remember that Jesus came for the Jews, the chosen people.  “Jesus went away from there and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.’ But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, ‘Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.’ But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:21-24.  Note that He did cast out the demon because of her great faith.  (See Matthew 15:28) This is, of course not to say He came only to save the Jews.  He would go out to the gentiles through Saul of Tarsus.  “But the Lord said to him (Saul), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” Acts 9:15.

Because He came to the Jews, it was important that they knew He would follow the Law.  But their reason to follow it was different than His.  In Exodus we see why the Jews followed the Law.  “‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;” Exodus 19:4-5.  It was to have a special relationship with Him that was unending, their salvation.  However, salvation requires perfection which the Law could not address.

They did not fully understand this.  Their following the Law could not bring them perfection.  For this reason, the Messiah came.  “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18-19.  The Law was set aside because it could not bring perfection, the better hope mentioned here was capable, which was Jesus.  “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.” Galatians 3:19. Until the seed would come.  And who is the seed?  “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” Galatians 3:16.

So, we see here that the Law was in place, as weak and useless as it was, until Christ came.  The purpose of the Law was to show our need for salvation, not for salvation itself.  “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. The word ‘justified’ means to be declared righteous, therefore we cannot be declared righteous by the works of the Law.  Our sins must be removed, and the penalty must be paid.  And when the penalty is paid, the sin is not held against us, thus we are justified.  If Jesus had sinned, what He did would have paid the penalty for His transgressions, not ours.  But because He was blameless, His death paid for our sins.  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

So, wrapping this up, we could not keep the Law perfectly, therefore we could not be saved by works.  Without perfection, we could by no means pay the penalty and be justified.  This required a perfect sacrifice.  Jesus came and lived a life free from sin by perfectly following the law.  Thus, because there was no penalty to pay for His own benefit, He was able to pay the penalty for ours.  But it took fulfilling the Law completely with absolutely no transgression. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10. He fulfilled the Law so that we could be declared righteous and become children of God.  So, is the Law important?  Yes, for Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. However, it is to express our love for God, not to be saved, therefore, let us show our love for Him in all things we do.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 19:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 19:7

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” – Psalm 19:7

This particular verse is from David, and he is speaking of what God has revealed in God’s law.  First, the Hebrew word translated law here is Torah, a reference to the Law of God given in the first five books of the Old Testament commonly called the Pentateuch.  The idea of Torah is that it is instructions, precepts that are given to us as a guide to how we are to live our lives.

He calls the law perfect in that it lacks nothing in its completeness; nothing that makes it what it should be.  In other words, it is complete as a revelation of divine truth and as a rule of conduct.  And following this law turns us from the ways of sin to holiness.  Now, I am not saying the law saves us, but what it does is help us live as we should.  We see this idea in the first psalm.  “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2.  We are to delight or find pleasing His law, for by following it we can please God.  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8

He follows this with the phrase, ‘the testimony of the Lord is sure.’  This word ‘testimony’ refers to God’s revealed truth.  Whatever God reveals to us is sure.  It is not uncertain but is established.  It can be relied on, if presented as God intended.  And it trains people who are ignorant of what God requires of them.

We are saved through the shed blood of Jesus.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Again, works has nothing to do with our salvation, except it is proof that we are already saved.  James put it this way, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  However, Jesus did say the following, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. And how can we keep His commandments?  By knowing them, studying them so that we will do what they say; meditating on them so that we instinctively do what they demand.

It is important that we spend time in His Word every day.  And not simply read it but think about what is says and how we can implement it in our own lives.  Our desire must be to eliminate what is unpleasing to God and replace them with what truly pleases Him.  By taking the time every day we can replace doing with becoming.  We are new creatures in Christ.  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  And the ways of this new life are found in His word, His sure and complete word revealed to us by God Himself.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Daniel 6:5

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Daniel 6:5

“Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.” – Daniel 6:5   

Now Darius, after defeating Belshazzar and Babylon overall, appointed 120 Satraps over his kingdom. Satrap is a word that means ‘protector of the kingdom.’ Because of the Persian Empire’s vast size (the largest empire the world had known), it was divided into many smaller territories, and the satraps spoken of here evidently denote lesser officials who ruled over these smaller areas. Now Daniel was, by the Satraps and the king himself, thought highly of. “Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” Daniel 6:3.

After some time had passed, the commissioners and the Satraps were trying to find some fault in what he did. However, they could find nothing. “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.” Daniel 6:4-5. Since they could not find anything against Daniel regarding his government dealings, they decide to take another course by looking at his religious dealings.

So they went to Darius with a recommendation. “King Darius, live forever! All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Daniel 6:8-9. So, Darius signed the document, and thus the injunction.

Now, when Daniel heard about this, he made no changes in his devotion to God. “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” Daniel 6:10. He saw what was designed, but he knew whom he served. It was not any other gods but the True God, Yahweh. As a point of interest, when the Jews were in distant countries in prayer, they turned their faces towards Jerusalem; and when in Jerusalem, they turned their faces towards the temple.

Now it was obvious they were watching Daniel closely, for “these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.” Daniel 6:11. It would have been ok if he had gone before the gods of the Medes and Persians, but because he went before his God, that had him trapped. So they approached the king and asked him to agree that he had signed the petition outlawing going to any god but theirs. He responded with, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Daniel 6:12b. Then these men responded. “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.” Daniel 6:13. What broke the injunction was his prayers to his God rather than their gods.

Now, I will finish chapter six next time, but what I wrote here brings out an important point that we also must follow. Daniel, upon hearing of this decree, chose not to follow it because first, he would not stop going to his God and giving Him glory as well as lifting up his requests to God. And secondly, he would give no credence to their gods for they were false gods and he would never go to anyone but the true God. And as we get closer to the time Jesus returns, more and more Christians will be ridiculed for worshipping and praying to God Almighty, but they will not complain about worship to other things. Moses warns against Idolatry. “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise? You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” Deuteronomy 12:29-31.

When it becomes illegal to worship our God, the true God, we must be as Daniel was and continue worshipping Him and ignore the false gods that will be presented to us. He is worthy of this, and it is laid out above by Moses. If we, as Christians, give in to what they tell us and honor these false gods, we will be denying Him, and thus will be walking away from our faith. If we do what He desires, our eternal future will be glorious.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 119:165

Verse of the Day Devotion Psalm 119:165 

“Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” – 119:165

Over the next couple of days as we approach the New Year, I will be looking at verses that I believe we all, including myself, should focus on as we approach and go into 2022.  I am preparing myself to focus my attention on how I want to think next year.  Thus, the verse selections for this week.

The writer of Psalm 119, who many believe to be David, makes it clear that it is the words of God that bring him peace.  From the first verse to the last, this chapter speaks of the author desiring to keep God’s commandments and ordinances, which encompass His Law, His word, and His ways.  And it also speaks of His judgement which he has stated is righteous.  For instance, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.” Psalm 119:1.  And then, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, For I do not forget Thy commandments.” Psalm 119:176 (Last Verse).  And as you carefully read through the entire chapter, you will see that practically all of them speak of His Law, which is His words and ordinances. 

And how can we keep and follow in His ways? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.” Psalm 119:9.  The verse does say young man, but I believe that everyone is alluded to here, for we all can keep our ways pure by keeping His word.  It is imperative that we know His word and what is expected of us, and the only way we can do this is to read and study it.  And this speaks of one of my New Year goals for 2022, not that I do not do it now, but to make it a greater focus of my time.  And as we see in our focus verse, we are not just to do it simply out of duty,  but also because we love it and we love the one who gave it to us. Remember what Jesus spoke of as recorded in the gospel of John.  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10-11.

So we see here that when we strive to keep His commandments, then we declare our love for Him and we have peace because our joy is complete.  And Jesus is the perfect example, for as He was perfect in that He kept His Father’s commandments we must also keep the commandments given to us by the Father.  And we find these in His Word.  And as the writer of Psalm 119 said, “Seven times a day I praise Thee, Because of Thy righteous ordinances.” Psalm 119:164, we should also give thanks to God for His Word, for by it we are able to please Him and declare our love to Him.  

And according to our focus verse, it brings peace to us. “Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165.  What is essentially being said here is that those who love His Law will keep it, and by keeping His law will have great peace.  And speaking of us when we love His law we can have great calmness of mind. We will not be troubled and anxious. We will believe and feel that all things are well-ordered by Him and will be brought about with the best result. We, therefore, calmly leave all with Him. As a matter of fact, the friends of God have peace and calmness in their minds, even amidst the troubles, the disappointments, and the reverses of life. The love of God is the best and only way to secure permanent peace in the soul and thus nothing will cause us to stumble.

This is a beautiful promise of God, and thus I have made it one of my New Year resolutions to do all I can to know and understand His word greater then before.  And the way I can do this is to study and follow His laws, loving them beyond everything else so that I will not struggle to keep them.  And if I do that, then I will be at peace during all hard times, for I know that God will bring me through.  And I pray that you desire to do the same, to love His word and to keep it so that you will experience the same peace.  There can be no greater life than to live it with the peace of God alive in our hearts.

God Bless you All.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 103:1

Verse of the Day Devotion Psalm 103:1 

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” –  Psalm 103:1

David starts this prayer with ‘Bless the Lord, Oh my soul’.  The word here translated bless is the Hebrew word baw-rak which is a primitive root meaning to kneel, and by implication to bless God as an act of adoration.  What is implied here is that David went before the Lord God with true humility, kneeling before Him and abundantly blessing and praising His God.  It no doubt also implies a mighty sense of gratitude to Him for all God has done for Him. 

Most of the time, the call to praise and worship is addressed to a worshipping community, such as a church, or to some other group of people.  And to be honest, most worship is done at a church with music and lyrics in the front.  And there is nothing wrong with this for when the Church gets together, and by Church I mean the people, we should always kneel or bow before Him giving thanks, worship, and praise which He absolutely deserves.  However, as we see in our focus verse, David calls on his own inner being to bless the Lord.  This act of worship involves his entire person. Humans bless the Lord by speaking well of him as they complement him publicly. Blessing, or praise, is the natural response to contemplating the Lord’s holy character, which provides an inexhaustible reason for extolling him. The psalmist’s praise of the Lord is intentional, as he focuses on various aspects of his greatness and goodness.   

However, how many of us bow before Him alone, where no one can see us and praise and worship Him privately as well?  How many of us go to Him alone and give Him the glory and praise due Him.  This can give us a wonderful time to praise Him with our own words, our own songs, and our own heart in the way that we feel at that time.  This is a beautiful opportunity to use, as theologian Albert Barnes puts it,  “all our powers and faculties; all that can be employed in his praise: the heart, the will, the affections, the emotions. The idea is, that God is worthy of all the praise and adoration which the entire man can render. No one of his faculties or powers should be exempt from the duty and the privilege of praise.”  

The one value of these opening words is that they show us that worship is not involuntary or automatic. It calls for the coordination of all that we are. We should not restrict our worship to the sanctuary, but we must make everywhere a potential place of worship. We should enter worship and praise with all that we have, dedicated to giving Him all due Him. Then we may render a service of praise that is worthy and acceptable.

In this daily devotion, I want to encourage us all, and I do include myself in this, to take time to get alone with God and offer praise and blessings to Him with all we have and are.  And I encourage everyone in these times to not only offer praise to Him but pray to Him as well and then sit quietly and hear what He has to say back to us.  There is nothing like a two-way conversation with God.  I have experienced it and I never want to miss this time again.  This may be difficult at first, but once it becomes natural, I believe you will find this time as important as anything else you do.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Romans 8:2

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Romans 8:2  

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” – Romans 8:2  

Paul here is writing this letter to the Church in Rome.  Now, this verse is a clarification of what he wrote in the previous verse.  ‘For’ or ‘because’ begins this verse. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. When we accepted the work Christ did for us on the cross and became a Christian, there is no condemnation that we must suffer, for the payment has been paid. There is no reason for us to do anything, for we are pardoned. 

Now in our focus verse he gives the reason for this. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:2. We see a similar verse in 2 Corinthians where Paul says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17. Again, in this verse, there are two laws that Paul is contrasting. The first is the Law of Sin and Death. This is  essentially the written law of Moses. It was intended to be kept perfectly by the Jewish people, and if it was not, then there was required a sacrifice to God to deal with this sin. What the law does for us is help us to understand what sin is. “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET. But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died, and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me.” Romans 7:7-10. If we rely on the law to please God, we will fail for if we violate this law even in one issue,  then we die.  Notice verse ten here. “and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me.” Romans 7:10.

However, the first law mentioned above, which is the law of the Spirit of Life takes the requirement of keeping the law to a different level. “because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. “Romans 5:5-6. And then, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Romans 5:9.  Regarding the Jewish Law (Law of Moses), perfection was required. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10. If we stumble in one point, and are not a true Christian, then we are required to pay the penalty. And since we cannot address our sins because it requires perfection to do so, there is no way to address it.  And this is where the first law comes in.  If we become Christians, and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, then He, being perfect, can address our sin. For in doing this, the requirement of us addressing our sin is removed for He, Christ, addressed them for us.

One more thing we need to see here. There are many people who believe that if they do what is good and follow God’s way, they are saved.  This is in essence, salvation by works, which is what the Jews believed in following the Law of Moses. But salvation cannot come by this means. The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is good for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit. Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. And we must be careful that we do not fall into this trap. The Old Testament law was never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all of time. We are to love God and love our neighbors. If we truly obey those two commands faithfully, we will be upholding all that God requires of us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Romans 7:7

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Romans 7:7  

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” – Romans 7:7

Over the last ten daily devotions we looked at each of the ten commandments, one per day, listed in Exodus 20:2-17.  Should we follow what they say?  There is a belief system out there that says no, it is not necessary.  However, it is critical that we do, but not for the reason many people think.

There is a deception called “antinomianism” that says it is ok for us not to follow the law found in the scriptures.  The word antinomianism comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning “against”; and nomos, meaning “law.” Antinomianism means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law.  The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.

The apostle Paul dealt with this belief in his letter to the Romans.  “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2.  When we became a Christian, we died to sin.  Paul, in a rhetorical fashion basically is saying, “If sin has been the occasion of grace and favor, ought we not to continue in it, and commit as much as possible, in order that grace might abound? This objection the apostle proceeds to answer. He shows that the consequence does not follow; and proves that the doctrine of justification does not lead to continuing in sin.  So if we died to sin due to His grace and love, why would we want to continue and nullify His work in us.  “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.” Romans 6:9. 

And also, we show our love for God through following His commandments.  “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3.  It is not that following the law saves us, it is that we demonstrate our love for Him by obeying His laws.  We are not under the Old Testament Law; we are under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not an extensive list of legal codes. It is a law of love. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will do nothing to displease Him. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will do nothing to harm them. Obeying the law of Christ is not a requirement to earn or maintain salvation. The law of Christ is what God expects of a Christian.

Antinomianism is not what the bible teaches, in fact it is contrary to all that is taught in the scriptures. God desires and expects us to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Christ freed us from the burdensome commands of the Old Testament Law, but this does not give us a license to sin. Instead, it is a covenant of grace. Our goal is to overcome sin and cultivate righteousness as our lifestyle.  And the only way we can do this is through the Holy Spirit. The fact that we are graciously freed from the demands of the Old Testament Law should result in living our lives in obedience to the law of Christ.  “By this we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:3-6.

Therefore, I encourage everyone to obey His commands in all ways, for this shows you are a true follower of God.  If we take the path of antinomianism, then we show we do not truly love Him as we profess.  And this is the reason we obey His commands, not to be saved, but in essence to show that we are truly saved.  He has freed us from our slavery to sin.  Let us prove it by the Godly life we live.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Romans 13:8

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Romans 13:8   

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8

Paul is very clear in this verse.  We are not to be indebted to anyone.  In earlier verses in this chapter, Paul tells them they are to be subject to the government.  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Romans 13:1-2.  And this includes the paying of taxes.  “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.”  Romans 13:6.  Whatever is owed to someone, pay it to them.  If it is money pay them.  If it is property or goods, give it to them.  If it is respect, give that to them.  Basically, if we owe anything to anyone, pay it.  This is our responsibility to those who govern us or provide goods and services we need.  However, there is a different standard for all others.

In our focus verse we read, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8.  In other words, pay all you owe to everyone, and let your only outstanding debt be the debt of love.   Jesus said this as recorded in the book of Matthew when in answer to a question from a Jewish lawyer said, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.  We are to show the same love to others as we show ourselves.  Thus, in loving our neighbor we fulfill the law. 

Now there are many ways in which we can fulfil this.  One of them is to help someone who is troubled.  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2.  We are to have sympathy, feel for each other, and consider the case of a distressed brother or sister like this distress was our own.  Paul wrote to the Colossians the following, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14.  This verse fully explains how we are to love our neighbor.  We are to have compassion on our neighbors, being humble and meek with patience, helping others through their difficult times by helping them bear their burdens.  And we are to forgive them just as Christ forgave us, even if we feel they do not deserve it.

This verse says we are to love our neighbor and not cause them harm by holding back whatever is owed to them.  All debts are to be addressed and paid; however, we are to give them all the love we have.  This means treat them as Christ did us, whereby He sacrificed His life to save ours.  And this is the love we are to show others.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12. This is the type of love we are to have for our neighbor, even those who hate, despise, or want nothing to do with us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.