Thursday, June 30 – Romans 1:32
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.
People naturally learn to go to great lengths to justify sin. No child has to be taught how to give a reason why they disobeyed; the excuse or comeback comes naturally to them. As we look at Stephen’s life, it can be hard to process how men who were known for upholding the law could disobey it in such a blatant way and kill an innocent man. Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, was present for Stephen’s death. He was known for persecuting Christians and putting them into prison. Had the Pharisees and Saul missed the Old Testament law about not murdering? Had they missed that they should love their neighbor as themselves (Leviticus 19:18)? Paul later wrote in today’s verse that we can know something is wrong, even worthy of death, but still justify our actions and condone those same evil actions in others. Sometimes this comes so naturally that we don’t realize it.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are not bound by this nature any longer. You can accept your brokenness and your fault in a matter because that is not the end of the story. God is ready to redeem and restore us when we repent and turn back to Him. It is in our nature to point the finger when we are hurt by the brokenness in our lives and in our world. But when we use that as an excuse to be hurtful to others in word and deed, we do not reflect Christ. After the harm he caused the Christians of his time, Paul was converted, repented, and was changed by God. He no longer used his knowledge of God to hurt people but to point them to the only Person who could completely heal and restore them, Jesus.
- How has Christ changed your need to justify sin or make excuses?
- Why is it so hard for us to admit our fault in a matter?
- Pray and ask God to open your eyes to the areas where you are most prone to justify sin or make excuses.