Monday, October 31, 2011

Deceptive ways...

Week 44:
Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, “
How many of us know this passage well, but do not notice the comma at the end of it?  I wandered through life quoting this passage alone without really paying attention to the rest of the sentence.  I truly believe that Satan does this on a regular basis. He deceives us with scripture.

In his attempt to discourage, and deceive us, Satan will use scripture to try and knock us off our game.  In the week 40 devotional thought titled, “Overcoming temptation…,” I made note of how Jesus used scripture to fight off the temptation Satan was using to try and trip up Jesus.  Within his temptation attempts, Satan misquoted scripture.  I believe this still happens today.  He may not be there speaking directly to us like when he was working on Jesus, but it still happens.  Just look at this passage as a case in point.
How many of us know what comes after the comma in vs. 24?  “…24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  My tendency in the past would be to take vs. 23 and apply it one of several ways totally ignoring vs. 24. 
First, I might say as a cop out for my sin, “Oh well, all I have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  The feeling here is, I’m like everyone else and the Bible says I am going to sin anyway. I have free license to sin.  Second, I might take a fatalistic stance and quote the same thing in the same way.  The difference here is that I feel there is not hope, so why try?  The third misuse would be for me to either brow-beat people with the passage or give them license to sin.  I am sure there are other ways I would misuse the passage but these are the main ways.
What just looking at this passage in this way does is prompt me to ask myself, “How many other passages have stuck with me in this way?”  How many times have I bought into a deception of scripture?  How many times have I listened to someone else take a passage out of context and use it improperly?  This is something I have to be careful of when I am reading and using the Word. 
Now, let us go back to this passage.  Notice what is said both before and after vs. 23. “21But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference…”  And, “24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  I can get so beat down or comfortable with verse 23.  But, I need to remember that vs. 23 has a comma and the rest of the sentence is vs. 24.  Vs. 24 is such a comforting and powerful verse.  We are “justified freely by his grace!”
The challenge for me is to read the whole context of the verse.  I really need to do this with all the “favorite” passages that I quote.  I do need to remember that all scripture is useful (II Timothy 3:16-17).  I just have to remember proper usage of scripture. 
Just remember, in this passage, there is a rest of the sentence, “23…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  And, what a great rest of the sentence it is!
1.        What other passages have you sensed that Satan may have misused?
2.       What was one of them and how was it used?
3.       What is the proper usage or context for that passage?
4.       Spend some time this week in prayer and silence and ask Jesus to reveal to you where you may have fallen into this trap.
5.       Share your thoughts around this prayer with someone this week.


Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment