Today’s Reading: Jer 18:1–20:18, Rom 2:12–29, Prov 16:12–33
Today’s Theme: The Conscience
Today we read about the natural law of the conscience which God has given to all men, which means we are without excuse and so are in need of the Gospel.
We also see God as the great potter who reworks us into a vessel for His use, the one who transforms our hearts making us His true people by faith.
And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. (Jeremiah 18:4, ESV)
Let’s be clear, this refers to the nation of Israel at a specific time in history, however we can find application for our own lives because like Israel each of us is a vessel in God’s hands and are even a corporate vessel as the church in His hands for His use.
We are clay in God’s hands, He moulds us as He wills. We should not become hard and brittle but supple in the Master’s hands so He can rework us into the vessel He wills us to be (not the one we will us to be).
Hope for our nation
and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:8, ESV)
So there is still hope for our nation too, please go to the prayer fuel area today and pray today’s prayer over our nation posted by Pastor Dennis at this time in 2014 http://www.wwmf.org/2014/12/09/prayer-fuel/daily-prayer-for-our-nation/
God desires your repentance
Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’ (Jeremiah 18:11, ESV)
God in His love and tender care is calling the men of Judah to repentance. At the same time He openly lets them know that He is planning disaster for them in judgment upon their sin if they do not repent.
God’s desire has not changed, He desires that all men everywhere would repent.
The blood of the innocents
Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, (Jeremiah 19:4, ESV)
The wickedness of Israel had become so great that slaying their own children had become common place. We look at this in horror but then must remember the genocide our western society is guilty of today through the abortion of unborn children. We realise that we too have the blood of the innocents on our own hands.
Don’t be stiff necked
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words.” (Jeremiah 19:15, ESV)
Today if we hear His voice we should repent. The worst thing we can do is to become stubborn in our sin and against God. Don’t become rigid or stubborn, be humble and pliable in God’s hand.
Fire in my bones
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9, ESV)
When the Lord gives His servants an urgent word they just have to get it out. The fire speaks of passion, zeal and urgency. This is the spirit we should hold the word in so when it is released it is done with power in the Spirit.
Lord let that fire be shut up in our bones as it were like Jeremiah for your word today.
Hearing alone is useless
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (Romans 2:13, ESV)
Paul makes the point that man is rightly judged on performance not hearing. Therefore those who seek justification by the law must keep the whole law which has been impossible for all human beings except Jesus.
So Paul takes away the false security in religion and moralism to leave the canvas blank for the presentation to both Jew and Gentile of the Gospel of God which is the only means of salvation.
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (Romans 2:15, ESV)
God has given all men a conscience to know right from wrong so all men are without excuse.
Here are a few definitions from Greek dictionaries (BDAG and Mounce) on the word used for conscience which is syneidēsis.
- Awareness of information about something, consciousness
- The inward faculty of distinguishing right and wrong, moral consciousness, conscience
- Attentiveness to obligation, conscientiousness
- Conscience, as an inward moral impression of one’s actions and principles
- The inward faculty of moral judgment
- The inward moral and spiritual frame
Even those who have never heard the law, Bible or Gospel are without excuse because the conscience gives all men moral judgement against the law written on their own hearts.
The moral structure inside the human being is universal, all men know murder, lying and stealing are wrong because we have a moral creator who made us as moral creatures having an innate sense of right and wrong.
This is why appealing to the conscience can be useful in evangelism as demonstrated by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron in the Way of the Master.
Live your talk
For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:24, ESV)
We can cause people to speak evil of the Lord when we do not live right. This is why we must teach, judge and preach to ourselves before we open our mouths to share with others.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:29, ESV)
Paul’s point here is that circumcision is not the way to salvation. Outward works are worthless if they are not a reflection of an inward reality.
This is not new, God has always called His people in Israel to have circumcised hearts pointing to the true meaning of circumcision.
A Jew is identified as one of God’s covenant people. We are truly God’s covenant people by our hearts and relationship to God not by birth.
God praises the true Jews, the inward Jews who like all the faithful of Israel believe in God and have a relationship with Him and not with dead religion.
Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus form a new humanity. A true Israel of God made of only those who are inwardly Jews in the sense that their hearts are circumcised.
God is the one who brings transformation to our hearts and makes us truly Jewish (this is one reason Christianity should not be severed from its Jewish roots) and in that sense God’s own people here in the earth.
Get wisdom and understanding
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. (Proverbs 16:16, ESV)
Wisdom and understanding are the most precious things in the world. Lord we ask you afresh this day that You would help us attain both, that You would graciously bestow these on us in Jesus’ name.
Guard against pride
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)
Lord please help us to guard against this in all areas.
Give thought to the word
Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. (Proverbs 16:20, ESV)
We should meditate on and study the word.
What are you hungry for
A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on. (Proverbs 16:26, ESV)
Hunger will drive us to work hard. What are we hungry for, if we hunger for righteousness we will be filled?
Rule your spirit
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32, ESV)
This is the true test of a great man.
God controls dice
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33, ESV)
There is no such thing as chance, God even controls apparently random acts like dice throwing.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Romans 2