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Set Apart

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Deliverance, Sin, Temptation

“O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:2-3 ESV)
We know from sad experience that some people “love vain words and seek after lies.” Yet often enough we are guilty of the same; our own words may at times be vain and self-serving. We may even resort to lies, perhaps in an attempt to disguise our guilt and shame. We know how people behave, but we also know that our enemy Satan employs vain words. We know that he seeks lies. We know that he does, because Jesus tells us that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b ESV). We know, too, that Satan loves to turn honor into shame as he did so long ago in Eden. Through his deceitful questions and suggestions, the ancient serpent tempted Eve, and Adam with her, to doubt and disobey God’s Word and to eat the fruit forbidden to them. The honor and beauty of God’s creation was turned to shame and dishonor, shame that Adam and Eve tried in vain to hide from their Creator.

The devil, that ancient serpent, seeks to tempt us just as he did our first parents. The deadly foe wants to draw us away from our Lord and from walking in the Savior’s ways. When we listen to Satan’s lies and to the echoes of his tempting voice in the world around us, we turn from God’s Word and ways, exchanging our God-bestowed honor for guilt and shame. Yet when we see our shame clearly reflected in the bright mirror of God’s Law, we are moved by the Holy Spirit to repent and to humbly call out to the Lord. God hears our plea for help and forgiveness. In Eden He promised that an offspring of the woman would come, and that there would be enmity between the woman’s offspring and the offspring of the serpent. The woman’s offspring and the ancient serpent would be bruised in deadly conflict.

When the appointed time had come, God sent His Son, the woman’s offspring, into the world. Jesus was rejected, betrayed, and unjustly condemned, falling victim to the schemes of those who hated Him. Yet Jesus was delivered up into death “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23b ESV), a plan known before the foundation of the world, a plan for our salvation first announced in Eden. Jesus carried our shame and guilt to the cross, suffering the penalty of death for our sins. He took our sins onto Himself and in exchange He gives us His righteousness, His honor, and His glory. God in Christ has set us apart for Himself so that we might glorify Him with lives of love and service. He listens when we call to Him, and He hears our grateful praise.

Prayer: Lord, I know that You have set me apart for Yourself. Lead me by Your Spirit to live in love and service to others. Amen.

The Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Reflection Questions:

1. What sin of vanity do you struggle with the most?
2. How does God’s Law convict us of our sins?
3. How can Jesus give us His righteousness in exchange for our sins?

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