Mission Work Is In Our Blood as North Americans (Sun. July 4)

The word of the day is “partiality.”  On this the Second Sunday after Pentecost, we commemorate “All Saints of North America.”  The word for today is “partiality.”  As we honor the saints of our land, it is appropriate that we read from Romans 2:10-16 that “there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). St. Paul’s point is that the Almighty God will judge each person according to his or her deeds (Romans 2:6).  Whether one is a Jew who knows the Law of God or Gentile who does not, he or she will be judged by the same standards.  The dividing line is whether one does good or evil.  Therefore, in God’s eyes, the divisions among human beings make no…

In What or Whom Do We Trust? (Sat. July 3)

The word for today is “faith.”  Our currency announces, “In God We Trust.”  Do “we”?  And what is “our” conception of God who is the object of our trust?  Today we emphasize that the One who has earned our trust is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our study will suggest that if we put our faith in anything else (the Mosaic Law, our cultural or ethnic background, our education, our abilities, even our fate), then the Cross will be meaningless to us. Today’s reading from Romans doubles back to Romans 3:19-26.   In this passage, we hear that in Christ, the righteousness of God is manifest “apart from the Law” (Romans 3:21).  This is the righteousness that is freely given “by faith…

At the Bottom of Human Sinfulness: Two Contrasting Views (Fri. July 2)

The word of the day is “death.”  What is at the bottom of human sinfulness?  The Western church answers unequivocally, “original sin.”  Attributed to Augustine (354-430 AD), this doctrine holds that the sin of Adam and Eve infected human nature with incurable sinfulness.  Since the Garden, the guilt of Adam has been passed down throughout the human race.  Thus, in today’s reading of Romans 15:17-6:2, we read, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin…”  (OSB Romans 5:13).  Yet this answer to the origin of sin depends on the translation and the perspective that accompanies it.  Today we will encounter the Eastern counter view to the Western teaching of how the sin of Adam…

At the Bottom of Human Sinfulness: Two Contrasting Views (Fri. July 2)

The word of the day is “death.”  What is at the bottom of human sinfulness?  The Western church answers unequivocally, “original sin.”  Attributed to Augustine (354-430 AD), this doctrine holds that the sin of Adam and Eve infected human nature with incurable sinfulness.  Since the Garden, the guilt of Adam has been passed down throughout the human race.  Thus, in today’s reading of Romans 15:17-6:2, we read, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin…”  (OSB Romans 5:13).  Yet this answer to the origin of sin depends on the translation and the perspective that accompanies it.  Today we will encounter the Eastern counter view to the Western teaching of how the sin of Adam…

Who Needed to be Reconciled? God or Humankind? (Thurs. July 1)

The word of the day is “reconciled.”  It is possible to find those who consider themselves enemies of God.  But most people would deny it.  Instead, many may admit that “God” does not mean much to them.  They harbor no ill will toward God as long as He doesn’t interfere with their lives.  Today in our reading of Romans 5:1-10, Paul writes that “If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (OSB Romans 5:10).  Today we will explore what it means to be an enemy of God.  From this study, we can gain a deeper appreciation of our reconciliation with God. One question sets the direction of our thought.  Paul charges that…

How We Are Justified: Our Understanding Depends on the Words We Use (Wed. June 30)

The word of the day is “imputed.”  How can we put the meaning of our salvation into words?  As God’s mercy is infinite, so his work of salvation is beyond human comprehension.  Today in our reading of Romans 4:13-25, we find Paul’s understanding of what the Lord has done for our salvation.  He writes, Abraham’s faith was “accounted to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us.  It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead…” (OSB vs. 22-24). Today, we will study the words Paul uses to describe how we become righteous before God.  We…

On Justification: Why Explanations of God’s Mercy Surpass Those of Divine Justice (Tues. June 29)

The word of the day is “accounted.”   When we hear that God “accounts” faith as righteousness, we are likely to think of our salvation in terms of a law court.  What is more,  if we use this metaphor for understanding the work of Christ for our justification, we may think of it as a legal acquittal of the debt we owe God for our sins.  Today we consider what Paul means when he says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness” (OSB 4:3).  We will present a contrasting view to the emphasis on justice.  This perspective stresses the mercy of God, His active benevolence that brings us into a restored relationship with Him. In today’s reading…

God Is Not to Blame for Human Fault (Mon. June 28)

The word of the day is “blame.”  Today’s reading from Romans 2:28-3:18 involves us in Paul’s complex discussion about the rejection of many Jews to the Gospel.  The question is who is to blame for the unfaithfulness of the Jews?  God had given them his “oracles,” that is,  His words (Strong’s 3051, 152).  In these messages, the Almighty had shown them special favor. St. John Chrysostom says that “the honor that God treated them was so great that even when He saw what would come thereof, He withheld not His goodwill toward them” (NfPf1:11, 373).  Thus, God’s forbearance demonstrated His faithfulness. Unbelief Does not Nullify the Faithfulness of God Yet, according to Chrysostom, the Jews “made the honors bestowed on…

All Saints Sunday: God is Wondrous in His Saints (Sun. June 27)

The word for today is “wondrous.”  Today on All Saints Sunday we commemorate the saints who have gone before us.  And during  Matins (Orthros or Morning Prayer), we sing “God is wondrous in His saints” (Digital Chant).  From a worldly viewpoint, we might ask what is “wondrous” about the sufferings of the saints?  What is so glorious about the suffering that today’s reading of Hebrews 11:33-12 recounts?   Our commentary will explain how the saints are wonderful as the give glory to God. In this well-known passage from Hebrews 11, the Apostle recounts the astounding examples of the saints of the Old Testament.  Through faith these holy ones “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the…