"You Were Justified"
February 9, 2009
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9a, 11
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE! The subject for today's Daily Devotion deals with a topic that may not be suitable for everyone. The devotion was written at the request of a number of our subscribers who were disturbed by the intense nature of the crime.
Two-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers told her mother, "I love you." She reached out to her mother and said, "I love you."
Those words -- this little girl's gestures -- should have touched her mother's heart. They didn't.
After being brutalized by both her mother and her mother's boyfriend, Riley died. Her body was unceremoniously stuffed into a plastic container and set adrift in the sea. In life, Riley Ann Sawyers probably felt unloved; in death, she was unmourned.
The life of that little girl is a terrible, tragic tale. But, for those who are given grace to understand, Riley's narrative gives a glimpse into the completeness of sin's corruption and helps us perceive the kind of people Satan would like all of us to be.
In the devil's world, even those things that ought to be most pure -- things like the love of a mother for her child -- are degraded, dishonored, and twisted beyond recognition.
Some of you have told me you have cried for this little girl's life and mourned her death.
Others have shared how you are filled with anger, rage, and a desire to avenge Riley's murder.
It is a good thing that in this world of evil, your hearts can still be touched. It is a blessed thing that you have an understanding of right and wrong. It is a godly thing when God's people reach out to the downtrodden, the lonely, and those who are in pain.
Although we cannot help Riley, and it is not our place to take revenge, I do pray if you ever come upon a similar circumstance, you will do what is proper and right. Most of all, I encourage you to remember what St. Paul wrote: "...such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
By the Savior's sacrifice, we have been rescued from the world Riley knew all too well. The Lord's salvation is cause for unending thanksgiving. We are blessed because, as the book of Revelation says, God is "making all things new" (Revelation 21:5a). And that includes us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks for my rescue. Empower me to take a stand against Satan and sin. May I be a friend to those who hurt. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries