I recently read a devotion book which presented the Bible as an instruction manual for life, a set of rules, which if followed, lead to a righteous life. These rules (Law) were almost never linked to Jesus’ death on the cross (Gospel).  Such devotion books are becoming very popular.  Some Christians will interpret these devotions in a Biblically correct way, but others can be led into a work righteous attitude, and that is very damaging to one’s Christian faith.

   The central message of the Bible is Jesus our Savior.  Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of everyone.  The righteousness of Jesus is offered as a free gift to everyone.  That is the Gospel message through which God brings us to faith.  We grow in faith by hearing, reading, and contemplating that Gospel message.  As we grow in faith, we are better able to put down our sinful human nature. (Galatians 5:16-25; Romans 8:10)

   Christ’s love compels us to do what is pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Devotion books which present rules as a way for us to live righteous lives, without talking about Jesus’ death on the cross, are prescribing the wrong medicine for our spiritual disease of sin (our rebellion against God).  The only medicine that works is the Gospel message of what Jesus has done for us.