God Gave Us Grace, Devotional 3

God Gave Us Grace (Devotional 3)
By Katie Faris
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:8-11
There is no way back to Eden, but there is a way forward to heaven, and it is found in Jesus. The Advent season offers a rich opportunity to remember our Savior and anticipate his return.
At Christmas, we celebrate our incarnate Lord, the one who was found in human form, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. The one who got hungry,[4] grew weary,[5] and tasted sorrow[6] just as we do. The one who sympathizes with our weaknesses and was tempted just like us, but without sin.[7] Because of Jesus’ obedience, even “to the point of death,” even death on an instrument of Roman torture called a cross, God “has highly exalted him” (Phil. 2:8-9).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Tit. 2:11), and the proper response to the gospel is to bow our knees before Jesus, confessing with our mouths “that Jesus is Lord” and believing in our hearts “that God raised him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9-10). But whether or not we bow today, one day, every knee will bow.
God’s patience waits, just as it did in the day of Noah.[8] As Peter wrote,
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed (1 Pet. 3:9-10).[9]
Jesus will return, and there will be a final day of judgment when all will bow to him. But like Noah who found favor and was saved on the ark in the day of destruction, we can receive God’s gift of grace and be saved by faith in Jesus. We can join those who gladly bow to Jesus now, confessing him as Lord and Savior, presenting our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).
Just as God’s people eagerly anticipated Jesus’ first coming, true believers long for his second coming and can say with Paul, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
At Christmas, we celebrate the One who came and is coming back, and as we do, we extend the invitation: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price…The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (Rev. 22:17, 21).
Personal Application Questions
1. How does it encourage my heart to know that Jesus sympathizes with my weaknesses?
2. Have I placed my faith in Jesus for salvation and bowed my heart to him? If so, what does it look like for me to offer my body as a “living sacrifice”?
Family Application Questions
1. When is the last time our family talked about Jesus’ second coming?
2. What do we have to look forward to when Jesus returns?
3. Who are some unbelievers that we can pray for together?
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