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The problem of sin is the worst problem we can imagine, there being no more horrible thought than that of being alienated from our Creator. Yet the problem is as universal as it is horrible; every accountable person who has ever lived has committed sin and suffered its penalty of death. Only those too young yet to understand the difference between right and wrong are innocent. All the rest of us bear the guilt of having sinned against our Creator.
The problem of sin is indeed our problem, but God was not willing simply to leave it there. In His immeasurable love, He purposed to save us from the death that we had brought upon ourselves. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). And “in this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:10).
Yet it was not just the Father’s love that made our salvation possible; the Son Himself also loved us. Jesus voluntarily gave His life to save us from our sins. It was not that He was required to do so against His will, but rather He went to the Cross because He chose to do so. With our very limited concept of love, it is hard for us to imagine a love that would make such a sacrifice.
In dying for our sins, Jesus showed what true obedience to the Father is all about. “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hb. 5:7,8). If we only obey God when it is easy, we are living far below the level of obedience that Jesus demonstrated — and in these days of ease and convenience, we desperately need Jesus’ example.
But not only does Jesus teach us obedience; He also teaches us a love that is unselfish. By choosing to humble Himself and be our Servant, He showed us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Let’s think about that this week. Let’s be reminded that love lifts us out of the small, selfish concerns of our own needs and encourages us to serve the needs of those around us.
Monday: Romans 6:20–23
Key Idea: In sin, we are dead and without any means of saving ourselves.
Questions for Family Growth: What are “wages”? What does it mean that death is the wages of sin? Is there anyone who is not involved in the problem of sin? What does Rom. 3:23 say? Is there anyone who is dead who can raise himself back to life?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:1.
Tuesday: Romans 5:6–8
Key Idea: When we were helpless, Jesus gave His life to save us.
Questions for Family Growth: According to this passage, what is so amazing about the fact that Jesus died for us? What did God demonstrate when He gave His Son to die for us? What does this evidence teach us about character of God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:2,3.
Wednesday: John 10:17,18
Key Idea: Jesus died for us because He loved us, not because He had to do so.
Questions for Family Growth: Concerning his life, what did Jesus mean when He said, “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (NKJV)? What did Paul say about the “love of Christ” in 2 Cor. 5:14,15?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:4,5.
Thursday: Hebrews 5:7–10
Key Idea: In dying for us, Jesus chose to obey the Father’s will.
Questions for Family Growth: For what reason did Jesus offer up “prayers and supplications”? What does it mean that Jesus “learned obedience” by the things He suffered? To whom is He now the “source of eternal salvation”?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:6.
Friday: Philippians 2:5–8
Key Idea: In dying for us, Jesus humbled Himself to be our Servant.
Questions for Family Growth: In what sense does Paul use the word “mind” in v.5? What “mind” did Jesus Christ have? What does it mean that He “humbled himself” (v.8)? How should that be an example to us? Consider vv.3,4.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:7.