Exodus 20:2 – I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Though this passage was addressed to the Israelites, it applies to God’s people today. Our Lord may not have rescued us from literal slavery, but He has redeemed us from something equally as enslaving: sin. At one point or another, sin was our house of bondage. No matter how hard we tried to be free, that sin still had a hold on us; we were under its bondage.
But Christ saw fit to redeem all who are under the bondage of sin. He died on the cross so we may be slaves no longer. Those of us who are free know how great of a blessing this is. The chains that enslaved us were broken and replaced with the light and easy yoke of the Lord.
If you are still struggling with a sin, know that you do not need to struggle alone any longer. The Lord promised to bring His people out of the house of bondage, and, should you ask deliverance of Him, He will not deny you. And if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
Colossians 3:13 – Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Our God is a perfect example of forgiveness. He tirelessly forgives the trespasses we commit, despite the pain it causes Him every time we sin. He forgives those who blaspheme and curse His name. He even forgave those who betrayed and killed Him. His free forgiveness is available to anyone.
We are called to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ as God has forgiven us. The same mercy, grace, and plentiful forgiveness we take advantage of every day should be shown to those around us. There is no reason why we should not forgive. No wrong against us can ever be as great as the misdeeds the Lord has forgiven.
When wronged, choose to forgive. Forgive as He forgave the Pharisees and those that betrayed and killed Him. Forgive as freely as He forgives our sins each and every day. Forgive as Christ forgave.
Further Reading – Matthew 18:21-35
Matthew 6:15 – 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Hebrews 13:5 – …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The Lord will never abandon us. No matter the difficulty, He is there to lead and guide His people through it. We will never be cast away, we will never be left to fend for ourselves, for He has promised to be with us. Trials and tribulations do not phase us, because we know we do not face them alone. We do not fear the dangers around us, because we know our Shepherd will protect His sheep. In any situation, we are never alone. For He has promised, He will never leave us or forsake us.
Further Reading – Psalm 94:14 – For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
Psalm 37:8 – 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
Selfish anger and harmful wrath is present in so many hearts, bubbling out at the slightest provocation. These emotions cloud judgement and prevent wise actions or decisions. It is the Tempter who drives these feelings, not the Lord. Christ requires peace, kindness, and love of His children, not outrage; sinful anger is not found in those that are His. If we aim to have the character of Christ and the privilege of His name, we must respond as He did. When provoked He did not become angry. Instead, He remained calm and overcame evil with good. Do not give place to the workings of the devil any longer. Cease from wrath. Put off the anger which so easily besets us and put on the peaceful, loving character of Christ.
Further Reading – Romans 12:21; Ephesians 4:26-27
1 Peter 4:10 – 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
All who have received God’s gift are called to give as freely as they have received. Our kindness and love to one another should be as free as the mercy and pardon Christ gives to us. Our heavenly blessings are not intended to be exclusive. They are intended to be shared non-discriminately and liberally. As a people who have received much from the hand of God, it is only right we give as willingly to our fellow brethren. This is the mark of a good steward of God’s manifold grace. This is the mark of a child of the King.
Further Reading – Matthew 10:8 – 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
1 Peter 1:3, 4 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you
Thanks to the Lord’s mercy, His children are granted status as an heir to eternity’s greatest inheritance. This inheritance cannot fade, be corrupted, or be defiled, and no power on earth can ever take it away. It is this inheritance Jesus went to prepare and reserve for heirs of the Kingdom. It is this inheritance that should be sought above all else, and it is this inheritance that endures forever. Seek it first, last, and everything in between, and do not fail to claim God’s gift reserved in heaven for you.
Further Reading – John 14:1-3, Titus 3:3-7
Once a patch of ground has had all the grass and weeds removed from it, something must be planted or put there almost immediately. If it is left alone, the weeds and grass will soon return, usually thicker and higher. The same is true of our habits. If you rid yourself of a bad habit, take up a good one in its place. Do not simply leave a portion of your time and attentions unoccupied. The tempter takes advantage of this unclaimed time and will replace it with a habit or thought that may even be worse than the original. Always be sure something good takes the place of the habits you may discard. Idle, unoccupied time really is the devil’s workshop.
The praise and honor of men is quite fickle. At a moment’s notice, once ardent praise can become bitter, hate-filled words. This reward will do you no good. It is corruptible, easily devalued, and holds no eternal significance. The praise and honor of the Lord is the only worthwhile reward. The glory and praise of men can never compare. His reward is eternal and valuable. It cannot be stolen or corrupted by the things of this world. It is truly the only reward. Be not as the hypocrites, searching for the worthless praise of men, but long for the praise of God.
In this passage everyone receives a reward. Whether it be the hypocrites or the followers of Christ, they all “…have their reward”. Those that practiced inward, secret religion will be rewarded openly by their Father, who sees in secret. Those who work for the praise of men will only have empty applause as their reward. This is indicative of the end. In that case, everyone will receive a reward as well, only the rewards will be quite different. Those that follow after the Lord and have been washed in the blood of the Lamb will receive a robe of righteousness, a crown, and life everlasting. Those who chose their own broad, easy way will be cast into the lake of fire with the devil and his angels. Choose the reward of God over the recognition of men. Temporary praise can never match eternity with the Master.
In this passage, Jesus admonishes an inward, secret religion (Matt. 6: 4, 6, 18). He suggests almsgiving, prayer, and fasting all be done in private. This is a call for an internal religion focused on the condition of the heart as opposed to outward appearances (Romans 2:28-29). In contrast, he warned against doing things only to be “seen” by men (Matt. 6:5, 16, 18). Seeking the glory of men leads to a religion of white washed sepulchers, appearing beautiful on the outside but devoid of personal religion (Matt. 23:27-28). Examine your motives and be assured your religion is inward first; make the appearance of holiness secondary. It is the condition of the heart that matters most.
Further Reading – Matt. 23:25-26