Re:Verse reading–Philemon 1-25 (day six)
Although slavery in the Roman Empire was not based on race, it was equally dehumanizing and reinforced extreme prejudice against slaves, even freed slaves. In that day, Philemon had complete authority over Onesimus’ life; he was nothing more than property to do with as he pleased.
The Gospel changed that kind of thinking. The Gospel did not upend (immediately) an evil system, but it did upend Philemon’s mind. The Gospel would not allow him to think of Onesimus as property, but led him to think of him as a neighbor, and then his brother.
The Gospel will always, always change the way you think about others. Jesus quoted the Old Testament saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Everyone is your neighbor. Does your thinking need to change too?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 4:1-22 (day six)
Can we change? I mean really change; not just cosmetic, superficial changes, but deep-down-to-the-core change. That’s the kind of change that happened in Peter. What a difference between that night in the courtyard where he denied Jesus three times, and his confrontation with the Jewish council, the same ones who had condemned Jesus! Peter was a new man, not in his personality, he was still the same bold Peter; he was a new man because now he was losing his life for the sake of Jesus’ name, that he might find it.
That’s the kind of change that the Gospel promises. Repentance and belief in Jesus, his work, and his promises, not only frees us from sin, but frees us to live a new life in the power of the Spirit of God. Like Jesus (and later Peter) we begin to live out the Kingdom of God by laying down our life for others. The truth is, although hard, it’s the best possible life we can live, and it holds the greatest reward.
Can you change?