All For Nothing?

January 17, 2020
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Galatians 2:21 – I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (NIV)

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, and I remember something that I foolishly spoke or an embarrassing mistake that I committed years ago. The event or the expression that I used stings my pride, and I feel sorry for having said or done something stupid that may have hurt or disappointed other people. As I think about my mistake, I wish that I could go back and change the past, but that's never going to happen, so I make a silent prayer to God and ask for Jesus to forgive me. I cannot alter the consequences of my error either, but I am able to leave it in the hands of God after confessing my sin.

This reminds me of why we all need a Saviour. We could say to God that we regret the past and will try to be better people by making it up to Him with a whole load of good deeds, but all we would be doing is covering our shame and blanketing our remorse. We can never do enough good things anyway, because there are countless other times when we have said or done something stupid and selfishly sinful in all of our past.

This is also the reason why the cross is at the centre of our faith. Without Christ's sacrifice, we would sadly remain unforgiven for the numerous sinful moments across our entire lives. Without the effective work of the cross, we could never be restored to God's gracious love. If we could do this all by ourselves, then, as Paul simply states, Jesus would have died for nothing. But because we cannot save ourselves, we need the power, purpose, and peace that the cross of Christ provides for every one of us to be forgiven.

So, perhaps the next time when you or I awaken in the middle of the night and recall an embarrassing or sinful moment from the past, instead of dwelling on our stupidity, we should think about the wonderful opportunity to be totally forgiven and completely reconciled to God through Christ's death on the cross.

Points to ponder: What past regrets do I honestly have that still embarrass or shame me? Have I asked God to forgive me for them in Christ's name?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are at the centre of history and the focal point of all the universe. Your life matters to us in so many ways, but Your death has significantly impacted us by negating our sins and restoring us to our Creator. Thank You for such an amazing gift of love! In Your holy name, we humbly and gratefully pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, John, for this timely message.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful truths, John.

    Once again John, a reassuring and inspiring devotional.

    Thank you, John, for sharing this uplifting devotional with us. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    Thanks for your thorough-going scholarship today in this devotional, John. The passage from Galatians is especially memorable. I see the importance especially focusing on Acceptance of this forgiveness so freely offered.

    Greetings John,
    Thank you for writing this devotional. A great reminder of the love our Saviour has for us and we need be so thankful for His ever readiness to forgive our misdeeds.
    Blessings to you,

    Amen! God forgives as we ask, but often we are reminded of our confessed sins, I believe, by the evil one. I pray to the Lord thanking Him for covering my sin. Then I say, Get behind me, Satan. Then again, I turn to our Savior with humility and thankfulness for all He does for us. Thank you for reminding us this morning how much we need Him every day.

    Though I am amazed: I have gone back to someone over something I had done or said, and they had no recollection of the incident. After a few times, I realized that I was beating myself over something was of no account to others and the enemy was beating me up about it because he can. So yes, confess it to God, receive His forgiveness and tell Satan to get lost. When it comes to mind, declare that you are forgiven, and he cannot use it against you. And forgive yourself for being human.

    Excellent John,
    I have the same problem as well of remembering something in the past where I stepped “into the manure”.
    Since my wife starting using coconut oil when cooking, my memory has improved and
    I have started remembering even little things from the past.
    Thank you for writing this.
    God speed,

    As always, I benefit from your reflections, John. I am so grateful to God for people like you who are willing to share such insights from personal experience. I often fall into self-pity and self-destructive thoughts when I review my past. How can anyone still put up with my ignorance and habitual errors … surely, they put up with me out of pity, and because there’s no one else who has the time/freedom to do all the tasks at hand. Without my confidence in our Lord’s love and Presence, I’d really be a mess, but being consistently aware of Him is a constant necessity. Fatigue and being overly busy are a great enemy to peace with God. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    As usual your devotional today, touch’s me deeply. There are so many things I need to clarify in my mind and heart but can no longer talk to my mother about anything as she has dementia and gets angry with me when I try to talk to her. We used to talk and talk for hours, about almost anything, but our faith was always shared in so many ways, all my life.
    Only The Lord is there for me, waiting, listening, forgiving. I am so grateful to my mother for placing God into our lives from birth. My faith has carried me through a very difficult life, that continues to be in so many ways. God is my strength and my hope.
    Thank you once again for a devotional that spoke directly to my heart.
    Blessings to you.

    Last night I was stuck in a rut remembering the past, and cried myself to
    sleep. I found great comfort in your Devotion. How can I forget the Cross?
    It Is Finished!
    God bless you.

    My besetting sin is worrying in the middle of the night.
    Same solution.
    The other morning I woke up in a panic. After a prayer I realized fear is the enemy.
    And had a wonderful day.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Dear John Stuart,
    Thank you for a fine Gospel email. God loves and forgives in the person of his dear Son.
    We thank him.
    Keep writing.

    Hi Pastor Stuart,
    I often appreciate your encouragements in these columns, but this one was especially helpful.
    Recently I have been reminded of a sin I made as a youth. Today (by your column) I was encouraged to confess that sin again to our Lord and repent, and gladly did so. I am left wondering if there is a step involving the person I sinned against – an apology needed there, too? The incident is likely forgotten and bringing it up seems unloving,
    So, for today, I am happy to leave it is His hands as you advocate.
    Thank for your many writings.


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