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Daily devotional

November 26 – Compelled by love

“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” – Romans 7:5-6 Scripture reading: Romans 7 Sin is an attempt to be a better god. The deception of sin is this, “I am powerful.” Our flesh loves the law because we think the power to overcome resides in our hearts. This “power trip” leads many to invent even more laws, which God has not made. What is the power of temptation? “You can be like God.” Behind sin is self and the fruit of self is death. Why do we love the gospel so much? Because it is the power of God unto sanctification. The gospel strengthens us to serve. Paul begins “But now” (vs.6). This is a famous Pauline “but now.” It is his way of contrasting our pre-Christian life with our Christian life. In that old life we were enslaved to the law, but now “in Christ” we are free. We are free not to do what we want, but to serve God. Paul contrasts freedom with bondage, the old life was bondage. Notice, we still serve. We are enslaved to righteousness. Just because the law is powerless does not mean it has no place in Christianity. It has a place, not of power but of leading. The gospel sets us free and the law then shows us the way. The gospel leads the Christian in sanctification. Christian obedience follows Christ. Suggestions for prayer Pray the Lord would expose your secret and hidden sins that you might with godly sorrow turn more and more away from sin and love God more and more instead. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 25 – Enslaved to love

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:20–23 Scripture reading: Romans 6 “Christ Jesus our Lord” is the last word in salvation. What can we do for such a great Savior? Only what God requires. We are enslaved to thankfulness. We do not obey God out of compulsion, fear, or greed. That would mean we hate sin and fear God only because we fear hell or because we want something – we want our best life now in return. That is enslavement to selfishness. That is not the fruit of justification. Those justified want to be enslaved to righteousness because Christ Jesus our Lord died for us sinners. We want to be enslaved because the Father chose us in Christ Jesus and because the Holy Spirit has sealed us into Christ Jesus. Why do we want to be enslaved to righteousness? Because God first loved us. We are enslaved to the gospel, enslaved to Christ Jesus our Lord, Who suffered and died not only for others but for us also. Heis greater than my shame. What else can I do, but offer my life as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. I am enslaved to righteousness and willingly and joyfully submit to God’s everlasting love and care in Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen. Suggestions for prayer Fix your eyes on Christ as your only hope and make it your aim in prayer to please Him all the days of your life. The highest praise is reserved for His great deeds of redemption that Christ has worked in us poor sinners. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 24 – Devoted to grace

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” – Romans 6:15–16 Scripture reading: Romans 6 Amazing grace might tempt the flesh to think grace leads to freedom to sin (cf. Rom 6:1). The answer is obvious. While we cherish God’s mercy, we don’t cheapen it by thinking we should sin to get more. That would mean we sin because of grace. Just because grace guts the law of its power, does not mean we are free to do whatever we want. There is a greater purpose behind justification—justified to become slaves of righteousness. We don’t cheapen grace, no, we devote ourselves to it. Jesus said where your treasure is, there your heart will follow. Well, there is no greater treasure on earth than grace. It is greater in every way. In the ancient Greco-Roman world, needy people often sold themselves into slavery as a way to avoid financial danger. These were voluntary submissions and often wise choices. Masters promised to provide all that the slaves needed if the slaves devoted themselves completely to their masters. The masters then devoted themselves to the slaves’ care. We are likewise bound either devoted to the master of death or to the Lord of life. You must serve someone and there is no third-party option. If you do your own thing, you are serving the master of death. You want to be slaves of righteousness because there is no hope without it. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you and your church would be devoted to God’s grace that works in us together with a love for God and one another. May our love for one another show the watching world the greatness of grace. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 23 – Baptism saves

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:3–4 Scripture reading: Romans 6 Christian living follows baptism. Baptism saves? Not the water, but the thing signified (“into Christ Jesus” and “into His death”). Baptism clothes us in Christ’s life and death. We are really united to Christ’s body so that His death brings forth fruit in our bodies. His flesh powers over our flesh that we might be changed. We are united to Christ not to increase in sin but to destroy it. Baptism is the means to the power of the Gospel Kingdom. Many hear this and think “baptismal immersion” as if this text speaks of submersion and emersion. Yet what does it say? Baptism is the means by which we were buried somewhere—where? In Christ! This text says nothing about the ritual of baptism or the application, but the event. Baptism is a burial event. It places us into Christ’s death. It is gospel, it is history—Christ’s death becomes our present reality. Here is its power to change—“It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me.” Baptism places us into the resurrection. Baptism is gospel, where the history of Christ’s resurrection becomes our present reality. What took place with Christ, what happened to His body and blood has taken place in us through baptism. In baptism, we are sacramentally judged with Christ, raised, gone into heaven, and are there hidden with Christ. We will also come again with Christ in glory. Here is the power to change. We are now in glory and sin’s power has forever been rendered powerless. Here is the power to change. The power is the gospel. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you never forget your baptism, but remember that you belong to Christ and therefore may grow and increase daily in the faith that is at work in every good deed. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 22 – The Gospel of the Kingdom of God

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” – Romans 6:1–2 Scripture reading: Romans 6 Over two thousand years have passed since Christ promised the Kingdom of God. Does it affect our lives today? According to Romans 6, the Kingdom of God has everything to do with the Christian life. In Romans 5, Paul explains how the gospel of the Kingdom has delivered us from the penalty of sin. Now in Romans 6, we learn how the gospel of the Kingdom saves us from sin’s power. In Adam, sin stormed into the world bringing with it destruction and death. Now, in Christ, grace has destroyed sin’s control. Christ has overcome this destruction and death with a grace greater than sin. The greatness of grace effects our justification and affects our sanctification. We live godly and quiet lives because we live in Christ. I’m not talking about perfection. Our lives are still messy. We are justified sinners. Evil still lies close at hand. How close? Too close, danger close, not beside, but in us, all around us, contacting and influencing our daily lives. We have carried into the Kingdom of God old baggage. We live with old habits that need to be broken – no, no, no, that need to be destroyed. Already sin is defeated, yet we must be killing sin or it will be killing us. We must put sin to death in our sanctification, not by our might or power but by the Spirit of the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray for continued victory over your sin and temptation. Here the Lord’s Prayer in helpful, “lead me not into temptation.” This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 21 – Total love

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:10–11 Scripture reading: Romans 5 The power of God’s love is total: totally depraved we are now totally saved because Christ is a complete Savior. Paul has substituted the word “justified” for “reconciled.” Justification is forensic, legal language. It pictures the believer being declared innocent of all charges. Reconciliation language, on the other hand, comes from the world of personal relationships. “To reconcile” means to bring together or make peace between two hostile parties. The cross makes peace. It destroys sinners and makes us believers. It takes us from the kingdom of darkness and transfers us into the Kingdom of light. Who belongs to the Kingdom of God? Those who have been washed “by His blood,” that is, those who are presently clean “by the death of His Son” and whose final salvation is “by His life.” Salvation from beginning to end is all in, with, by, and through Christ. By His death, our sins forgiven, we have peace with God. By His life, our righteousness, we have access to God. Because Christ is a whole Savior, our salvation is secure now and forever. Christ is the assurance of faith. If Hewas only a half-Savior, then there would be cause for concern. Our half – have we met our half of the bargain? Have we done enough, loved enough, progressed enough? Our half would rob us of His love, yet because Heis our whole Savior, we have no fear of being cut off from His love in the middle of our Christian life. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would see how much you have been forgiven that you might love more and hate sin more and turn from it. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 20 – Justification

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” – Romans 5:9 Scripture reading: Romans 5 Justification is history. Everyone who belongs to the kingdom of God has this history, the moment you believed all charges were dropped, and you have been declared righteous. The adverb “now” demonstrates that justification is a present reality. There are some who say you have to earn justification. They are dead wrong – matter of fact, they are still dead in their sins. From Paul’s perspective, he and the Roman Christians were justified in the past, a declaration that continues into the present. How so? Faith, by faith they were received into the kingdom of God and by faith, so too, we are now resting in that kingdom. Faith is our history, faith is our present, and faith is our future and this faith is a gift of God, not of works, because God first loved us. Our faith is not self-caused, it is God caused, a gift of grace. It has to be faith because Jesus’ work that earned the Kingdom of God is history, “His blood.” The cross is our history. Our past, present, and future is history, “it is finished.” Christ died and we were justified. Christ died and we are justified. Christ died and we will be justified. Everything here is past and present tense except this “the wrath to come.” This is the eschatological wrath of God to come. This is Kingdom time too—when the Kingdom comes to judge the living and the dead. In Christ, we will be on the right side of that judgment. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the fullness of God’s Kingdom, that He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and cause multitudes who neglect salvation to seek after Christ and find it. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 19 – True love

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 Scripture reading: Romans 5 In case we fail to see the greatness of God’s love for us, Paul spells it out. Paul compares the greatness of God’s love by the smallness of man’s love. It is indeed rare to find someone willing to die for another, but it happens. It happens on the battlefield when an unknown hero becomes known to all by diving on the grenade to save his troops. We’ve all heard the story of the man risking is life, even giving his life to run into the burning building or jumping in the frozen lake. There are exceptional men and women in the world; total depravity does not rule that out. Yet as loving as that may be, rarer indeed, perhaps unheard of, is the one who dies for someone who hates him. You don’t hear of the hero jumping on the grenade for the enemy. Yet this is exactly what Christ has done. In contrast to the very best of human love is God’s love. God sent His Son to die for a people who hated Him. God loves the unlovely. This dying “for us” is proof. Christ never dies for us in Scripture apart from the Father’s first loving us. The Father never loves us apart from Christ’s dying on the cross. God’s love is active, it moves to remove sin. It loves by preparing, protecting, and providing for us all we need in life and death. It is a sacrificial love. Christ died not for Himself but for us. He was our Substitute. He suffered in our place. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the abundance of His loving-kindness, Who has sustained us with every spiritual blessing by giving us His grace. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church( URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 18 – Made by love

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.” – Romans 5:6–7 Scripture reading: Romans 5 In ourselves, we have no access to God. We are sinners “while we were” in this lost state, God provided a solution. While we were unlovely and weak, “Christ died for” sinners. The solution is Christ’s love for undeserving sinners. We call this grace; grace is the self-caused love of God. Self-caused, He doesn’t love us because of some worth in us. We are unworthy. His love actually confers worth upon us. This means grace is greater than our sin. God makes us worthy of the kingdom of God. His love makes us. Who belongs to the Kingdom of God? Those who do not deserve it. So, contrary to popular opinion, Christ did not die on the cross to “help those who help themselves.” Grace does not wait for us to start helping ourselves. That is not grace. It is works. Salvation by grace, in Christ, without any merits of our own says, “God sent His Son to die for us while our life was off track.” Christ died for us while we were ungodly, while we were altogether helpless. Who belongs to the Kingdom of God? Christians who now remain in themselves completely sinners, yet by grace in the eyes of God are completely righteous. Who belongs? Those who put away their good works that they might have grace instead. Faith is not another good work among many. No, faith is the alternative to good works. Faith is access to the Kingdom of God. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would sustain all yesterday’s new converts to the faith around the world. Pray for the unity of our faith and love. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 17 – Spiritual glory

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:2–5 Scripture reading: Romans 5 Our glory now is spiritual, and not earthly prosperity, for we rejoice “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our praise follows the cross and as our Lord faced affliction in this sad age, so shall we. As His suffering brought us peace, so too through our affliction we continue to find more and more peace. Affliction is our race to run. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” – Hebrews 12:1 This is our pilgrim life on our way to Celestial City, yet tested on the way, nevertheless, in rejoicing through adversity we find ourselves strengthened on the way. We will reach the end of the line. Hope, like a muscle, must be used or it becomes weak. Suffering then makes us stronger. So the Lord allows us to be tried by adversity so that we might endure. This sad age is our gym, it is the means of strength so that we will come into the age to be victorious. Already we are more than conquerors, justified, yet being made more and more victorious in our sanctification until our glorification. The Kingdom of God is the consummation, when it will become evident that it has not been I who live, but Christ in me. To the watching world, we seem weak and vulnerable, yet when Hereturns “we shall be like Him” and will reign with Him forever over all creation. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the sick and spiritually distressed that God would continually care for us in such a way that all things would work together for our good. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church(URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 16 – A new standing

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1 Scripture reading: Romans 5 To be justified means to be declared righteous. Justified, we stand in righteousness. Now you might ask, “When do I start standing in righteousness? I would like that much indeed because I still sin and struggle with failure.” We feel the way of death all around us. Now this verb “have been justified” is past tense, from Paul’s perspective. Heand the saints in the church in Rome were justified in the past. Justification is a past act because it happens only once. The moment you first believed you were declared innocent of all charges brought against you who “sin and fall short of the glory of God.”Why? Because we have a King and a powerful One at that, Who loses no one. The moment you first believed, from then on, nothing can stand against you, nothing can separate you from His righteousness: not death (5:12–21), not sin (ch6), not the law (ch7),—nothing! (ch8). The result of justification is peace. We have a new life of peace. In the OT, the prophets spoke about this peace, the shalom that God would bring about in the last days. This is our day. By faith we scale the heavens to quietly enjoy its blessings now. By faith, Thy Kingdom comes on earth. By faith we have entered the peace of Paradise. Suggestions for prayer Pray for church tomorrow, that we sinners, unworthy in ourselves, would be partakers of the new life in Christ. Pray that God would further sanctify us by His Holy Spirit that we would stand in grace. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 15 – The law of faith

“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” – Romans 3:27–28 Scripture reading: Romans 3-4 Without faith there is no recovery of truth or life, no godliness, Christian discipline, good works, or pleasing God without it. Sound doctrine and good works emerge from faith itself. Thus sola fide is a hallmark of the Reformation, where we rediscovered how to be right with the God of the Bible. Other virtues make us like Christ, but faith alone makes us inChrist. You can love and follow Christ or you can believe and become one with the Savior. You can count the cost of redemption and try your best or by the hand of faith receive His merits and be justified. Faith is the sole means of salvation. Martin Luther said, “O it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith.” Faith is the sole means of salvation because, first, it excludes all works from justification. All works are excluded on two fronts. First, God has excluded them. The Greek verb excluded is passive and without an agent it is known by Greek grammarians as a divine passive. God is the agent of exclusion. How has Heexcluded boasting? By doing all the work of salvation, which has been Paul’s point all along. This is a defense of God’s righteousness. Not our doing, because we cannot do anything. All we do is unrighteousness. Grace then becomes the necessary cause of justification. Christ becomes the material cause of justification. Salvation is of the Lord. Justification is God’s justification, which eliminates any pride. God’s work has excluded any work we might offer. So, we believe instead. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would preserve our missionaries from every danger. Pray that their work would prosper through their words and deeds. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 14 – The life of faith

“…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:” – Romans 3:22 Scripture reading: Romans 3 We are the subjects of faith. In the Bible, Christ is always the object of faith. This is Protestantism 101. This is Biblical Christianity, justification sola fide. The ESV translates this passage perfectly, “faith in Jesus Christ.” Paul’s use of faith is always faith in, that is a certain knowledge “for all who believe.” If you know and trust in Christ’s finished work, then today you belong with Him in paradise. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1–4 By faith, we have been raised with Christ. It is a new day. By faith, we belong to a heavenly age.  We belong to the age where righteousness dwells. It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me. We are citizens of a Kingdom not of this world. Christ has regained Paradise, the life we now live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the continued salvation of your unbelieving friends and family. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 13 – But now

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it…” – Romans 3:21 Scripture reading: Romans 3 Romans 3:21 begins with two of the most important words in all the Bible – but now. But now, instead of wrath, there is pardon. In the place of fear, there is now hope. Instead of guilt, now there is the righteousness of God, which comes apart from the law. Wrath of God was being revealed against the unrighteous, but now we have another righteousness that turns away wrath. None is righteous, we are condemned, but now, I, who once was lost, now I’m found. I was dead in sin, but now I am alive. The old is gone, but now it is no longer I who live but Christ in me. I was condemned, but now there is no more condemnation. We were without hope and without God in the world(Eph. 2:12b). In a sense, without Christ you still have God, in His wrath. But now the gospel redeems us from the wrath of God. There is now hope with the gospel because Jesus endured the wrath for us. The incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has changed everything for the better, to those who believe. Suggestions for prayer Don’t focus too long on your sin and misery, but focus on Christ Who has saved you from your sin and misery and thank God for the gospel. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 12 – Faith alone

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17 Scripture reading: Romans 1-2 This is another highly debated statement, but it basically means sola fide. Paul is simply emphasizing the place of faith – salvation is received by faith through and through. Later Paul reveals why sola fide – soli deo gloria. By faith alone, God does all the work so that He gets all the glory. Comparing Scripture with Scripture we see that faith is not some meritorious condition we meet, rather faith puts away our good works to rest in Christ alone. Faith alone says Christ alone is our Savior. Today many argue against this old perspective, faith alone in Christ alone. They want to go back to the medieval scheme of faith plus works, grace plus cooperation. But the Reformers were right, Paul is not talking about the way God’s people should live. Paul’s point is that by faith God saves His people. Paul will insist over and over that a person is righteous only by faith. Paul is speaking of the way a person is made righteous, namely by trusting the finished work of Christ. God has done everything that needs to be done. The gospel is God’s almighty power for saving sinners. As it is preached, a righteous status which is God’s gift is being revealed and offered to you. Do you want it? It is altogether yours by faith alone. Simply reach out by the hand of faith and be clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ our Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would get all the glory in your home and in your salvation. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 11 – The Gospel’s power

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16–17 Scripture reading: Romans 1 The righteousness of God makes the gospel so powerful. There is debate surrounding this righteousness. The medieval age had turned it into the righteousness God accepts. The medieval scheme was grace plus cooperation, “God helps those who help themselves.” This made faith a meritorious cause – faithfulness. It was salvation by our blood, sweat, and tears; salvation by fear and trembling. Fear and trembling described Luther’s life before the Reformation. Luther rightly understood God’s holy demands. He tried to satisfy them with his good works, but one thing stood in the way, his sin. “How can I stand before the holiness of my Judge with works polluted in their very source?”Luther said, “If God will not be merciful towards me for the love of Christ and grant me a happy departure when I must quit this world, I shall never with the aid of all my vows and all my good works stand before Him. I must perish.”The thought of divine righteousness terrified Luther. Yet He found that the righteousness needed before a Holy God is not ours. He saw that the righteousness from God depends on faith. It is a free gift of God so that no one may boast. Luther understood that this righteousness, which comes through faith in Christ, is the righteousness from God. It is a righteousness God gives through the gospel. God makes the gospel powerful, and faith makes it my own. Suggestions for prayer Pray that many around the world would hear the gospel and receive, by faith, the righteousness of God. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church(URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 10 – The power of God

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” –Romans 1:16-17 Scripture reading: Romans 1 This verse has been called “the theme of the epistle” and the “very essence of Christianity.” In these words we find what it means to be a Christian, that is, how sinners are made right with God. This might shock our modern ears, but we don’t make ourselves right with God. Rather, we are evil, born in sin and God’s wrath is being revealed against all sin. So what do we do? There is nothing we can do. It is far too late for that. Yet here in our text, Paul tells us that God has done something, actually, God has done everything that needs to be done. It's called the gospel and the gospel is God’s almighty power for saving sinners. The gospel is almighty, for in it, God provides all we need. It is gospel because it saves sinners. Finally, it is powerful, so we receive it, not by doing righteous things, but by faith alone. The gospel is God’s almighty power for saving sinners. The gospel is not a power, one of many, as if there are other saving powers. Paul was not eager to preach the best of all the powers of God. No, Hewas overjoyed in the power. God has given to the church one power. We call it the Word of God. It accomplishes one thing – salvation. The gospel is God’s almighty saving power. Because the gospel is so almighty, so too is salvation. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the power of God in your church. Pray for the pure preaching of the Word of God; may it accomplish salvation this day here and around the world. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis  the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 9 – A powerful word

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” – Romans 1:9–12 Scripture reading: Romans 1 We have been chosen in Christ to bear fruit. Christians do bear fruit, but not in their own power. God gives the increase (cf. 1 Cor 3:6). He does so through the means of grace. What is the means of grace? What strengthens our faith? It’s why Paul was so anxious to visit Rome. The means of grace is the preaching of the gospel. Therefore, it must be freely offered to all. Paul was compelled to preach to all Gentiles, to as many as would believe. The means of grace is for the wise. There is enough wisdom in the gospel to hold the attention of the brightest among us. It is simple enough for the least unlearned to grasp. It is the power of God for all people, therefore it is administered through preaching. Paul wasn’t eager to play the guitar for Rome. He wasn’t excited to watch some media about the life of Christ or to give them marching orders. One thing compelled his ministry – preaching Christ and Him crucified. The message of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is the means of grace. Do you long for peace? Joy? To be loved by God? Then receive the means of grace, a grace greater than your sin. That is, trust the finished work of Christ, Who died for your sins and was raised for your justification. The promise is for you and your children – no more condemnation. Suggestions for prayer Pray that in church tomorrow the means of grace would be administered freely and that God would empower His preached Word. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 8 – The means of faith

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” – Romans 1:9–12 Scripture reading: Romans 1 The word serve is also translated worship. The gospel is our worship. The gospel causes our worship. Worship then affects our service. The Reformed had this saying, “the way of worship is the way of life.” Worship, the means of grace, affects how we live. Proper devotion, through proper means, leads to true discipleship. The power of Paul’s service was found in the gospel, a gospel that empowered him to serve the church. Paul was gospeled through and through. It was the content of his service, it was the power behind his service. Prayer is not a means of grace, but a chief part of thankfulness for the means of grace. The means of grace is a gift from God that keeps on giving. That gift is faith. The word “gift” is the noun charisma. Paul longed to visit Rome that he might give them charisma. Did he want to make them Pentecostal? No, it was a gift that strengthened. Paul was called by God to dispense the means of strength. What kind of strength? The means of grace strengthens faith. Now we can better understand Paul’s “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” The means of grace is a spiritual gift that strengthens us spiritually. The all things is the strengthening of our faith and obedience. Suggestions for prayer Pray for strength and obedience to God’s Word. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 7 – A new tongue

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” – Romans 1:8–10 Scripture reading: Romans 1 Paul thanks God. He doesn’t thank the church for their faith. Rome was an active church; they had an active faith. They were a mission-oriented church. They were worldly in a good sense as a light to the world. Paul swears to God that He will serve this church, hopefully by coming to preach the gospel and in prayer. But isn’t swearing prohibited? Didn’t Jesus say that we cannot make oaths? If so, what are we to say about all the Old Testaments saints who swore? What about Jesus, Who often testified, “Truly, Truly, I say to you.” That is an oath formula. What about Paul who made several oaths in Acts and in his epistles? Jesus did not condemn oaths. He condemned the unlawful use of oaths. He condemned lying. In context, the Jews would swear by lesser things, other than Yahweh, by His throne or heaven. In their legalism they found a loophole to get out of oaths, “I don’t have to honor that agreement, because I didn’t swear by God’s name.” As it says in James 5, let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. Jesus condemned lying. Oaths are proper and good. An oath is nothing else but an appeal to God that we are telling the truth, “So help me God.” That formula is important for it recognizes that vengeance belongs to the Lord. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Lord, “so tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Suggestions for prayer Pray for your tongue that it speaks truth, justice, and peace. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 6 – A new love

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 1:7 Scripture reading: Romans 1 Here is the gospel of God – God simply loves us. The gospel of God is therefore free “grace to you.” Grace is God’s desire to love us. Grace is His longing to bless us. Grace gives us the greatest gift – the history of redemption. It gives us a Son. The result of this gospel of grace is peace. Peace is the best gift because this is not a peaceful life. Yet for us in Christ, in the midst of this sad world, in trouble, adversity, sickness, and health, we can draw on God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for strength. We can come to the gospel of our Almighty God, Who is able, and to our Father, Who is willing to enrich us with His gifts; and to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has purchased grace and peace for us. The gospel of God is only found in Christ Who finished redemption on the cross and has been raised from the dead, the only One anointed with grace and peace. What is the gospel of God? It's what our faithful Savior Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross and what He continues to apply to us today through the preaching of the Word. The gospel of God is finished and it is finishing us more and more. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the calling of your minister this week, that He would work hard and good to preach Christ from all the Scriptures; that He would share the love of God to your family and all those in need. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 5 – A new belong

 “…including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ…” – Romans 1:6 Scripture reading: Romans 1 Great leaders, like Paul, are called, but so too are the lowliest of us. All Christians are servants. There are not carnal Christians and victorious Christians. It is not that some Christians will never really show forth good works while others will. No, there is only one kind of Christian – servant of Christ Jesus, because there is one and the same application of the gospel. “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 1:7 Christ applies the same gift to all believers. All Christians are servants because all Christians are saints. Sainthood does not belong to a select few, a few victorious Christians. It's not as if some have achieved some high moral standard and thus become saints. Every Christian in Rome, who was set apart, called, regenerated, and believed was a saint. The word, “saint,” in Scripture is never used of an individual, like “St. Peter” or “St. Mary.” It is always plural. It is always used of believers. Christians are the holy ones, set apart because Christ accomplished the gospel of God and the Holy Spirit has applied it to us. Why did God send His Son to die on the cross? Why did Christ willingly die for sinners? One answer – “who are loved by God.” Why did God love us? Because we are saints? No, His love has made us saints. Does He love us because of our service? No, His love has made us servants. Why does God love us? He loves us because He loves us. Suggestions for prayer Pray for your calling, your vocation, that you would work hard and good for His glory. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 4 – A new creation

“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…” – Romans 1:5 Scripture reading: Romans 1 The ministry of the gospel of God affects us today. This finished work, this history creates in us an “obedience of faith.” What is this obedience? I thought we are saved by grace through faith without any merit of our own. Does this mean that our works play a role in salvation? Jesus was asked by the leaders of His day, “What work must we do, to do the work of God?” He responded, “Believe in the One He has sent.” Faith is the obedience of faith, which is a gift, not of works lest any might boast. Faith is simply knowledge and trust. We must know history, the finished work of Christ. We not only know it, but trust our life with it. It is called obedience because ministers command it – believe! Faith is a non-meritorious work. It is a work in the sense that we must believe in order to receive and be received by God. By faith we belong to Christ. By faith we become servants. Now as servants, justified saints, serve! In Christ we serve, we fight against sin and the devil. We bear witness to Christ, and after this life, we reign with Him over all creation. This is what it means to be a servant of Christ. We are thankful servants who offer our lives as a thank offering to God. Christ accomplished the new life in the resurrection. Now the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead raises us to new life. What is the gospel? It is finished. It is finishing us. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would help our unbelief, as Thomas said, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.” May we give our every devotion to the Lord through His Word. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 3 – A new life

“…and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…” – Romans 1:4  Scripture reading: Romans 1 Redemptive history comes to an end at the resurrection. The gospel of God was accomplished by the Son of God. In theological jargon, we call this the historia salutis (history of salvation). What is the gospel of God? It is rooted in history. It was accomplished by Christ. What is the gospel of God? It is finished! What happens when something is finished? The project is over. The work is complete. You get paid or you sit back and enjoy the results. So too is our redemption. The Father promised it and the Son has done it. This means our salvation is complete. It means we add nothing. It means we are eternally secure, we are given the righteousness of Christ as if we had been perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for us. The gospel of God makes saints. The gospel of God is finished. Does this mean that we don’t do anything? No, for the gospel of God also makes servants. By the resurrection, the history of resurrection has given us a new history. We are no longer dead in our sins and trespasses; we are raised up to a new life. This is also the promise of the Old Testament, a new life, a new day, all because of the New Covenant. It is ours today, the Sabbath, a time to rest in the gospel of God. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the new week, that in rest, you and your family would serve God this week. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 2 – An Old Testament gospel

“…which He promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures…” – Romans 1:2 Scripture reading: Romans 1 Everyone has a family history. So does the family of God. Our history takes us back to “the gospel of God” which is the promise in the Old Testament. The gospel is an Old Testament truth. This is important to believe today. It was important for Paul that Jesus was promised in the Old Testament. It was important to the early church as they witnessed to the Jews to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. It was important during the Reformation to show that our salvation belongs to the eternal purpose of God. It is important for our assurance to know that God has chosen us before the foundation of the world. We must know that salvation is finished. “…concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…” – Romans 1:3–4 The gospel is redemptive history. You need to learn your family history. What must you know?  A King accomplished salvation, for Jesus was “descended from David.” As King, the Old Testament promised that He would destroy the prince of the air. We see this destruction in the New Testament. Having defeated death, the Father appointed Him the Son of God. Jesus is the King of kings. You must know that Christ has all power in heaven and on earth. All power and authority belong to the gospel of God. Only in Christ are we safe from sin and wrath. Only in Christ are we the righteousness of God for only Christ has finished the work of redemption. Suggestions for prayer Pray that in church tomorrow, unbelievers would hear the message of the gospel and submit their lives to Christ the King. If you know unbelievers, I know you do, pray for them specifically. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....

Daily devotional

November 1 – Introduction to Rev. Jared Beairdis' series on Romans 1-8

The Epistle to the Romans is a letter for the Christian mind. Luther said, “Every Christian should know it by heart.” It is a weighty book. It is the longest epistle and the most systematic. Paul wrote it to churches he wasn’t so sure he would meet. So, he wrote it to make sure their theology was sound – to make sure they understood the gospel. He wrote it for the understanding of our reasonable faith. While we are to have a Christian life, it’s not to the exclusion of the Christian mind; rather knowledge is key to the Christian life; “truth,” Christ said, “sanctifies.” Our life must be controlled by a mind saturated with truth. So God has given us books like Romans, a systematic study of the Christian faith. We will need to put on our thinking caps as we make our way through this important letter, matter of fact, don’t ever take it off. Christianity is the precondition for the intelligibility of human experience. You need a Christian mind, for ideas have consequences and Christian ideas have the greatest end – “to be loved by God and called saints.” The consequence of the “gospel of God” is belonging. The good news of God is that we belong to God and there is no higher truth to know. The gospel of God ”Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…” - Romans 1:1 Scripture reading: Romans 1 Paul’s entire ministry concerned “the gospel of God.” Romans is a theology of this gospel and its news gives us our purpose in life. By the gospel of God, Paul was not his own. He belonged body and soul, in life and in death to his faithful Savior Christ Jesus. By His faithfulness, we too are set apart for the gospel. Paul calls himself a servant, which in his day was very counter-cultural. Greeks found pride in freedom, that they were their own. Paul, however, affirmed his captivity to Christ. If you want to be counter-cultural, you don’t need tattoos and pink hair. We have something better – complete devotion to Christ. There is nothing more counter-cultural than serving Christ Jesus. Complete devotion to God is our purpose in life. We are called to forsake the purposes of the world for God’s instead – complete devotion to God because in God we find the source of our salvation. We are righteous before God only by the gospel, that is, by the righteousness of Christ. We are free from the tyranny of the devil, only because Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead. In this gospel, we are free to live for the glory of God. This is the “goodness” of the gospel—that I am not my own but belong body and soul to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. Knowing our deliverance we have become slaves of gratitude to our Deliverer. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for bringing us into the new life of grace. Pray that we avoid the temptation to purpose our life according to the world. May we live according to His Word alone. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA....