As people we have many beautiful differences, some of which are race, role, and gender. These differences have been ordained by God for His glory and for our good. Together, they form a more complete and intricate reflection of God and are a witness of His love and beauty to the world. Though there are ways in which we are different, in the body of Christ we are one (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5, Galatians 3:28). Our differences, no matter what they may be, do not change our value or importance to God and should not change our value or importance to each other or ourselves. It is because of the great value that God places on us that he intricately wove us together our in mother’s womb with those things that make us different from one another. It is his handiwork and creativity on display through us.
Sadly we have allowed the world, the enemy, and our sin to turn blessings from God into things that divide us or are used as a reason to mistreat one another. What should be a cause for celebration and a more full expression of worship to our God is hijacked for a host of reasons.
Why do we have a hard time fully accepting the grace that is offered through Christ?
By “fully” I mean completely, from beginning to end. Similar to my previous devotion about trying to earn forgiveness and righteousness, we often try to do as much as we are capable of and then rely on God to cover the rest. Even if that means all we think we can do is 0.00001 percent of what is needed and rely on God for 99.99999 percent of the work. We still try to “do our part.”
“He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.” – Isaiah 53:7
We rightly connect this prophecy to Jesus standing on trial before Pilate (Matthew 27:14), but it seems that we don’t always connect it to Jesus going through the actual crucifixion and being mocked as He is tortured and killed without defending Himself.
The first time we see Saul–later Paul–in scripture he is helping to facilitate the stoning of Stephen by watching everyone’s cloaks (Acts 7:57). From there, his zeal for Judaism led him to attack the church.
“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:5-8
This Psalm uses beautiful imagery to declare that God is the creator of all, sovereign over all, and Savior for all.