Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

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Real, Day 10

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LUKE 3:3 | He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John’s role was to get people ready for the Messiah. How did this purpose fit with his call for repentance?

By calling people to sorrow for their sins, and to baptism, John tried to get people ready by helping them see they were not ready!

John is, as Dale Bruner says, “the last great prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures, a walking talking law of God, full of doom and holiness and ultimacy.”

He knocks off balance everyone who assumes they are in good standing with God, everyone who believes, “I am basically a God person, I’ll be okay in the end.” Self-satisfaction and complacency are the enemy of repentance and never lead anyone to throw themselves on the mercy of God.

In what area of life are you complacent?

 

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Real, Day 9

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LUKE 3:1-2 CONTINUED

Political authorities have notable powers. In the first century, they had the ability to level taxes, and the Christmas journey of Mary in her ninth month of pregnancy to her husband’s birth city, Bethlehem, for registration, illustrates this. They could wage wars and press citizens to serve in these conflicts or to supply food to standing armies during campaigns. They could put down insurrections, and had few limitations on the way they identified  these threats, meaning minorities like Christians and Jews, were often mistreated in programs.

Religious leaders, like the High Priest, could define religious faithfulness for observant Jews, set rates for the sale of sacrificial animals, and influence local politics through the Sanhedrin.

But no political or cultic leader, because of their position, can directly influence a single human soul toward repentance. Formal authority has limits—it can’t change hearts and minds by compulsion. Indeed, formal authorities can easily alienate people. Both love and repentance are free acts.

In what area of your life are you under authority?

How do you measure freedom of conscience?

 

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