“Acquit One Another” (Romans 14: 8, NEB) by Carley Evans

Jesus dies and returns to life again; therefore, He becomes Lord of both the living and the dead. Therefore Paul asks: “You, sir, why do you pass judgment on your brother? And you, sir, why do you hold your brother in contempt? We shall all stand before God’s tribunal.” (Romans 14: 10)

Each of us — whether we live or whether we die — belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Each of us will have to answer for Himself.” (Romans 14: 12)

“Let us therefore cease judging one another.” (Romans 14: 13) Rather, writes Paul, let our conduct be guided by love. (Romans 14: 15) The apostle reminds us that “[we] may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if [we] are without love, [we] are sounding gongs or clanging cymbals.” (1 Corinthians 13: 1) “If [we] have no love, [we] are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13: 2)

Jesus says, “Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted; give, and gifts will be given you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in return.” (Luke 7: 37 – 38)

“Saved By His Life” (Titus 2: 11 – 12, ESV) by Carley Evans

God’s grace appears in Jesus, bringing salvation to all. His grace teaches us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

Jesus says, “Do you see this woman? I enter your house; you give Me no water for My feet, but she wets My feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair. You give Me no kiss, but from the time I come in she does not cease to kiss My feet. You do not anoint My head with oil, but she anoints My feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven — for she loves much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7: 44 – 47)

He tells this woman, “Your faith saves you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 50)

“Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more, so that, as sin reigns in death, grace also may reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Romans 5: 20, 21 – 6: 1)

Instead, through faith, we put off the “body of sin” which is “brought to nothing, so that we are no longer enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6: 6)

Jesus’ gift of grace leads us to live in this freedom from sin. “Since, therefore, we are now justified by His blood, how much more are we saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we are enemies we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, are we saved by His life.” (Romans 5: 9 – 10)

Saved by His life — to God be the glory.

“The Prophet Of The Most High” (Luke 1: 76 – 77, ESV) by Carley Evans

Zechariah sings first to God and then to his unborn son. He sings a song first of praise, then of delight. He sings of joy that his own child will be “called the prophet of the Most High,” and predicts his son “will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.”

John will preach “knowledge of salvation.” He will tell of  “the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 78 – 79)

John when he has grown into a man sends two messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus, after healing many, answers: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” (Luke 7: 20, 22 – 23)

Before they leave, Jesus asks John’s messengers, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ I tell you among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7: 24 – 28)