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April 2- Tidings of comfort and joy

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… – Romans 3:21-23

Scripture reading: Romans 3:9-26

Yesterday I began by saying: “I want to live in joy, and I want to die in joy.” And we saw that Jesus is the only true source of joy. But Jesus lived over 2000 years ago. How can my joy in 2019 have anything to do with Jesus?

The Heidelberg Catechism is a summary of biblical teaching and begins by asking the question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer can be summarized: “That I belong to Jesus.” But notice what the second question asks: “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?” Then it lists three things. That is, if you desire (as I do) to live in joy and to die in joy, you need to know and understand these things:

First, that I am a sinner. And not only am I a sinner, but I have no hope of earning or meriting God’s favor on my own. Because I am a sinner, I deserve only God’s punishment.

Second, that God in love sent His only begotten Son to save sinners like me. There is no other Saviour but Jesus Christ and I am trusting in His salvation.

Third, that my gratitude is the inevitable response to God’s grace in Christ. This gratitude is not only a feeling, but shows itself in a life of obedience to God’s will.

When you know, understand and believe those three things, you will have joy.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for a deeper appreciation for the gospel. Pray that the gospel will be the pillar and foundation of your church’s ministry.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen is the minister of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) in Littleton, Colorado.

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