The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Category: Lent

Lent Devotional: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (click here)
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Why was I saved?

That is a question we would all do well to ponder. In a sense, there is no answer. God did not save any of us because of something in us. He didn’t save us because we were smart, good looking, or deserving in any way.

Yet…in another sense there are many answers. He saved us for many reasons in him. He saved us to the praise of his glorious grace, to display his great mercy and love, to bring us into eternal joy in him.

As a much older apostle Paul is imprisoned with much time to ponder…this is one of the things he thinks about…why was I saved?

Among many reasons, Paul highlights one for us to think on…he was saved as an example of God’s great mercy. Paul says that there is no sinner worse than himself, for her persecuted the very church of God. Therefore, God saved him as an example to you and to me that there is no one beyond the grace of God.

Jesus Christ is perfectly patient in his pursuit of us! Paul is declaring to our hearts… “Do you think you are too far gone for God to save? Just look at me! No one has ever been more “far gone” than me! I didn’t just rebel, I tried to put an end to the church! Did you try that? I didn’t think so! If Jesus is patient enough in his mercy to save me…he is gracious enough to save you!”

Why were you and I saved?

One reason is simply to be an example to the world of how great the grace of God is! That he would save a sinner like me is a display of his infinite grace!

We have been saved to the praise of his glorious grace!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Lent Devotional: Jonah 4:5-11

Jonah 4:5-11 (click here)
But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:9-11)

Jonah has set himself up. He has trapped himself with his own words.

He was angry over a plant that the Lord had graciously provided to him for some shade and relief from the sun. The plant lasted all of 24 hours and Jonah’s praise died with the plant.

Yet…Jonah insists that he has every right to be angry over the plant! It was important and valuable to him. He pities the plant…he has compassion on it. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t create it, sustain it, or even know it for very long…he has the right to be passionate about this plant.

And now God turns the tables.

If Jonah thinks he has the right to be passionate over this plant, how much more so does God have the right to be passionate about 120,000 people whom he did create, he does sustain, and who he has known since before they were born! Are they not more valuable than a single plant. God even gets sarcastic…if Jonah can’t see these people as valuable he must at least be willing to admit that so many cows are worth more than one plant!

Jonah looks silly, pitying a plant while wanting people to perish.

This must be how we look, when we get upset over small broken comforts…a broken picture frame, a busted A/C, or a flat tire. Oh the injustice of it all! We care deeply about these little things…all the while we care little for so many people. We have a “Nineveh” in our life that we wouldn’t mind seeing perishing…but to see our comforts perish…that is a crime!

God’s question to Jonah hangs in the air… “Should I not pity Nineveh?” We don’t get Jonah’s answer…because Jonah’s answer isn’t the point. The point is how will we answer the question? We are supposed to finish the story.

Should God pity our Nineveh? Will we embrace his amazing grace…or be angered by it?

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Ephesians 4:1-16

Ephesians 4:1-16 (click here)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of our calling?

This sounds like the language of earning or meriting something. We need to work hard to be worthy of being a Christian. Is that what this means? I don’t think so. There’s another way to see it.

When someone comes to visit our home, we often spend time cleaning before they arrive. Why? Are we trying to earn the right for them to come over? Are we trying to be worthy of their presence? No. They’re already committed to come. Our cleaning says something about their worth and we want the cleanliness of our home to say something about how we value them.

Likewise, we have already been called by Christ to be his people. We do not make ourselves worthy to receive that calling… we walk in a manner that displays the worth of the calling we have already received. In other words, Jesus is already coming to the house of our lives…and the transformation of our lives displays his worth!

We long to live in a manner that displays the worth of the King of kings and Lord of lords who has called us as his own!

How do we do that? We do it by walking in unity with other believers. We love Christ the groom by loving his bride. This is the way we display our love for Christ, whom the world cannot see, in a visible manner.

Jesus has empowers us to love one another, to be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with on another in love. When we do this, we are putting his power and his worth on display to the world!

Paul goes on throughout Ephesians 4 to lay out exactly the manner in which Jesus works his empowering grace into our lives so that we may live in this powerful, peaceful way as part of his church. He has given us the gift of his Word, expounded by the gift of teachers. In this way, he works to equip his church, mature his church, and grow his church.

Through the teaching of the Word we are equipped for the work of ministry…both within the church and before the world!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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