Level Ground

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  (1 John 4:7-12)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3:23-28)

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.  (Romans 4:4-5)
Yesterday, we made the point that despite our many differences, we all start at the same place when it comes to receiving the love and inclusion that God offers us – that is, that we weren’t deserving of any of it! Keeping that in mind helps us to remember that all followers of Jesus are in the same position before God.

But that’s not the only truth that keeps us all on a level ground.

Perhaps your earthly father may have doted on you and spoken the most wonderful things over you. Perhaps you had the complete opposite experience. But fundamentally, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, it should bring a recognition that our Heavenly Father now sees us and justifies us as righteous. God hasn’t merely welcomed you in through the doorway of salvation. He has placed his seal of approval over you. He totally loves you.

The word justify in the New Testament has a range of meanings, but a very common sense is “to declare righteous”. That is, completely free in God’s sight from the guilt of our sin.

We live in a world where people look down on others, belittle others, rank people based on their looks, their education, their income, their life choices etc. But within the family of God, we have all received God’s declaration of righteousness because of Christ. This is the great leveller of humanity. Sure, we aren’t made perfect – but in the sight of God we are all now seen in the same light. In Christ we are all equally seen as guilt-free.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the wonders of that truth to us continually, it enables us to regard everybody in our church family with a greater sense of compassion and delight.  
  1. What do you think people see when they see you?
  2. How do those descriptions and values relate to how God sees you?
  3. Be honest: is there anyone in your church family whom you’re inclined to look down on or perhaps devalue because of their background or their life choices?
  4. What lies have you been spoken over you that might have created a barrier to you seeing and experiencing more of God’s love and affection personally today?
  5. What lies have you spoken over others that might have created a barrier to you letting God’s love and affection flow through you to those people today?
Father God, I thank you that because of Jesus I am now declared righteous in your sight. That when you look at me, you no longer see the mess and guilt of my sinful choices. Your Son’s righteousness surrounds me. Thank you that you also view everybody else in my church family in the same way. We are all equal, and nobody is better or worse before you. May that truth be the great leveller for us as a church. Please forge an incredible unity, an incredible love and an incredible respect within our Church family. I ask this for your glory. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Adam Bream, who leads our Southfields venue.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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