We don't want to stray from the chief article of faith, the Gospel, upon which the Church stands or falls: we are saved by faith alone. God freely gives His righteousness to us through Jesus Christ. Let us look carefully at verse 16 and not be ashamed of it. We should be ashamed, rather, of our sins that pile up before God's holy eyes. Because of these we would be forever condemned, were it not for the Gospel.The Christian faith is, after all, exclusivist. Since the only hope and true good news is in our God, why not share it widely?
The law condemns, but the Gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ) sets free and gives life. Only the Gospel is God's power for salvation for those who believe.
Sometimes we are ashamed of the Gospel, for we sinfully place it among many other good news. We should ponder what damnation (opposite of salvation) means: eternal separation from God.
Today, in the Supper, though, we will be offered a foretaste of God's great gift! Be comforted - you are justified by God-given faith alone. God's righteousness, Luther realized, is His mercy because it comes from Christ. "From faith" - God's infinite faithfulness - "for faith" - to produce and mature faith in our hearts.
Do we consider how wonderful God has been to us? We have the Gospel - that is enough.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today's readings were Isaiah 49:8-16a, Psalm 62, Romans 1:8-17 (sermon text), and Matthew 6:24-34.