(Jesus said) "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
The passage for today's devotion comes toward the end of Jesus' lengthy discourse known as the "Sermon on the Mount." Essentially, the text above sums up that saying most people call, "The Golden Rule." It's about treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves; it's about showing fair, balanced behavior toward another human being, just as we would like to be shown by them.
This measure can be used as a yardstick for behavior in all areas of life. When commenting on a number of the commandments, Martin Luther explains that we should treat others as we want to be treated, be it our brother or sister, father or mother, our co-worker, our neighbor, or our pastor. Now while this is a useful guide for how sinful human beings should reciprocate toward one another, it doesn't quite capture the way a perfectly just God deals with us.
If God's response to us was in keeping with our conduct toward Him -- even on our best behavior -- we wouldn't stand a chance. His justice is beyond human comparison; it is perfect, absolute, and incapable of being satisfied by our efforts or best intentions. When we treat God with disrespect, or neglect Him and His Word, He is still patient with us. When we go out of our way to sin and scorn the very relationship we have with Him, He is still forgiving -- ever ready and willing to draw us back into a genuine and healthy fellowship with Himself.
Rather than retribution, God offers grace -- the unending and undeserved fount of love and forgiveness shown to mankind through the sacrificial offering of His Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men ..." (1 Timothy 2:5-6a).
Jesus -- God's patient grace -- given to all men freely.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness we have through the death and resurrection of Your eternal Son, Jesus. Amen.
Biography of Author: This devotion was based on a text provided by Pastor Josef Henning. In 2002 he became pastor at the English Lutheran Fellowship of Randburg, South Africa. He and his wife, Birgit, have three children. Lutheran Hour Ministries-South Africa with its office in Johannesburg utilizes Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), and a performing arts program to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.