July 9, 2015
And you, who were dead in your trespasses ... God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses ... This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. Colossians 2:13a, 14b-16
PASTOR'S NOTE: Adults, please review this devotion before you share it with the younger or more sensitive people around you. Thank you. Pastor Klaus
Every once in a while the news services carry a story which, although incredibly distasteful, is impossible to ignore. A few weeks ago the Christian Reporter carried such a story. It is of interest because it clearly points out one of the great differences between the truth of what Christians believe and the inhumane doctrines of the Islamic nation of ISIS.
That story said in Syria ISIS had proudly proclaimed it had crucified two children.
Signs hung around the necks of the murdered youths say they were punished because they had failed to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Islamic laws say that an adult should not drink, eat or have sexual relations during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan. To be fair, most Islamic scholars say children, pregnant women, the ill, the elderly, and travelers are usually exempted from this command.
Sadly, ISIS is very strict in its rulings, and these young boys were murdered because someone had caught them eating.
In contrast to Islam and ISIS stands Christianity and the freedom which has been won by Jesus.
Rather than creating and enforcing rules which demanded children be crucified for their supposed transgressions, the Lord has forgiven us of our trespasses. This He has done by allowing His Son to be crucified in the place of we who were guilty. The life of God's perfect Son was ended on a Jerusalem cross so that all who believe on the resurrected and ever-living Redeemer will be forgiven of their sins and freed from punishment.
That means those who are in Christ are free from damnation and man-made rules.
And, if you hadn't noticed, in the letter to the church at Colossae, St. Paul lists some of those man-made rules. Before Islam was ever created in the mind of Mohammed, the Lord told His people not to be ruled, regulated or condemned by any individual who tries to impose man-made rules that try to govern what and when we are to eat, drink and worship.
To make sure we understood the uniqueness of our relationship with the Lord, St Paul clearly wrote, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
It is a statement the leaders of ISIS simply will never understand.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the freedom that has been won for me by the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection. In that freedom may I live a life that glorifies You and His great sacrifice. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries