AMPLIFY: God’s Righteousness
Lesson 27: Righteousness From The Cross
Lesson 27, Devotion 1
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” - Luke 18:13
One of the constant themes in Jesus’ ministry is His dislike (and that’s putting it mildly) for people who thought they were so spiritual that God thought they were better and more righteous than anyone else. In fact, Jesus was far gentler towards prostitutes, thieves, and partiers than He was towards religious leaders who thought they were God’s favorite.
With that in mind, grab your Bible and your journal. Spend a few minutes reading Luke 18:9-14 twice. Then, answer these questions in your journal or note-taking app:
Who are the people Jesus is telling this story to?
If you had to retell this story to a friend using characters familiar to our culture, how would you tell it?
The Pharisee probably did a much better job following the rules than the tax collector. So why did the tax collector go home justified (declared righteous) before God?
List at least three ways you are like the Pharisee in the story. Then, list at least three ways you are like the tax collector. Which one do you feel like you most resemble? Why?
Now, finish by simply repeating the prayer of the tax collector from the story: God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lesson 27, Devotion 2
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - John 10:10
In Bible study this week, you heard that the “thief” Jesus was referring to was anyone who claimed that to be accepted by God, you had to follow certain rules. Jesus, on the other hand, offers abundant life, because He has already earned our righteousness and acceptance for us.
In your journal, turn to a new page, and draw a vertical line down the middle, making two columns. At the top of the left column, write “THIEF” and at the top of the right column, write “JESUS.” Write in the “THIEF” column all of the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with not knowing whether God really accepts you or not. In the “JESUS” column, write all of the ways that knowing God already accepts you leads to a fuller life.
Be as creative as you like, and if you prefer, feel free to draw pictures or write song lyrics instead of just making a list.
Lesson 27, Devotion 3
Despite the fact that Jesus—and the rest of the Bible—is clear that Jesus earned our right standing before God so that we don't have to (which is a pretty good deal, since it's impossible for us to earn that), there are many people who believe that if they don't "clean up" their lives, they can't go to church, let alone have a relationship with God! These people only know half the story. Like all people, they have rebelled against God and deserve to be declared "guilty" for breaking His law. But they don't know the rest of the story: that Jesus died so that He could clothe us with His own righteousness. So, they just assume that they'll never be accepted by God because they know they can never measure up on their own.
Think of one person you know who fits the description you just read.
Now, write a prayer in your journal asking God for an opportunity to let them know through Jesus and His work on the cross, that they can be accepted and declared righteous, no matter what they’ve done in their lives. For the next few days, repeat that prayer, and look for the opening that God will provide for you to be able to have a conversation with them about Jesus.