Thursday, February 23
Scripture for The Day: Romans 2
As I prepare for Easter each year, I read Isaiah 53 as a key passage in my devotions. This chapter projects the full reality of Christ’s sacrificial work on behalf of sinners–like me. In our contemporary American culture, self-esteem is often elevated as the highest good. Sadly, even when an individual goes to a typical Christian bookstore, this same impulse finds expression in the showcasing of countless quasi-pop psychology books designed to help individuals actualize their potential instead of learning how to surrender self in the pristine light of God’s Word. According to Dr. John MacArthur in Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ, “True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him—submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost. In other words, to be a Christian in to be Christ’s slave” (22). Consider the perfect model our Savior provides of godly humility in the face of the most wrenching circumstances possible in Isaiah 53:3-5:
“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
This moving passage allows us to see the substitutionary essence of grace—an unmerited gift of mercy granted and accepted through God’s sovereign work, a sanctifying work impossible to grasp fully with our finite minds.
— Alisa Thomas, Chair, Humanities & Natural Sciences; Professor of English
In this season of Lent, may I glorify the Lord as I humbly seek to internalize the eternal value of a spiritual peace that was purchased at great cost through Christ’s atoning blood. Praise God that believers are granted “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” so I may rejoice this Easter season in fullness of joy as those “accepted in the Beloved.” Amen.