Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Bait and Switch

Salvation isn't a lagniappe.

Amos 2:4–5

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Judah, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they have despised the law of the LORD,
And have not kept His commandments.
Their lies lead them astray,
Lies which their fathers followed.
But I will send a fire upon Judah,
And it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”

Notice how Judah is kept to a higher standard than the first five nations. This gets back to covenants. By not keeping His commandments Judah is breaking their covenant with God. That is, as we’ve explained, a great offense, even if the specifics are not horrifying.

God’s people are held to a high standard because they signed up for a high standard.

This applies to us—even more so because we signed up for the covenant individually.

“Okay, fine. But what’s my end of the bargain?”

It’s a lot and this is where much of modern American Christianity often drops the ball. Confessing Christ means confessing Him as Lord. That means seeking His will as well as obeying it.

If you’re reading this, you already take that seriously. Good. Having a daily devotional is a big step toward discipleship. Unfortunately, many Americans confess Christ, assume they’ve bought a ticket to heaven, and go back to doing what they were doing before.

Even worse, many Americans never confessed Jesus as Lord in the first place; they confessed Him as “my personal savior.” That’s not even a covenantal commitment. They just lay claim to the benefits of the covenant without committing to anything.

Curiously, many committed Christians started out this way—with a floppy confession of faith. They know Jesus as the Lord, and endeavor to serve Him every day, yet their confession was all about trusting Him, and Him alone, for their salvation. They never confessed Him as my Lord.

If this is you, it’s time to plug that hole. You don’t have to stand up in front of a congregation to do this; you just have to reorient your understanding of your relationship with Jesus. For many committed Christians this isn’t a big shift. You might even think of it as one of labeling.

But when sharing the gospel, it is a big shift. When Christianity is sold as the ultimate lagniappe, you get believers who believe, not because they think Christianity is true, but because they hope it’s true.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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