By Terra Hangen
Today's Scripture: Acts 13:16-41
Central Thought: Paul preached about a dramatic change in how sins are to be forgiven.
In this sermon Paul preached in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch to an audience of Jews and Gentiles. In Acts 13:38-39, Paul spoke of one of the foundations of the Christian faith, proclaiming that forgiveness of sins is given through Jesus, in direct contrast to the law of Moses, which requires obedience to a daunting and complex list of rules. Some people who heard this sermon were carefully attempting to obey the Ten Commandments and the laws of Moses, in this way endeavoring to please God. Imagine how they felt when Paul spoke. If they truly understood Paul's words and believed, they received this as very good news indeed.
Paul changed everything when he exhorted them to see how Jesus' death and resurrection transformed the world. Believing that salvation can be achieved by successfully following rules can lead to depression and even to giving up when we fall short. Even Mother Theresa must have had moments where she felt she didn't succeed in acting as a Christian all the time.
Yet, Mother Theresa and all Christians have received the joyful news that through Jesus our sins are forgiven.
Devotional Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I always be reminded that forgiveness comes from You—through Your Son Jesus Christ—and may I always know and believe in my heart that You have forgiven me. Thank You for Your gift of forgiveness.
Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 13:16-41; Psalm 138:1-8; Proverbs 17:17-18