September 25, 2008 - Thursday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Daily Lectionary: Malachi 1:1-14; Matthew 3:1-17

...so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:7-8)

“I don’t have what it takes.” Have you ever said or thought that? Maybe before a big tryout for the team, or before a big test in a difficult class, or when you tried something again and again and utterly failed and made a fool of yourself. You just threw up your hands and said, “Forget it. I don’t have what it takes.”

You might wonder, sometimes, if you have what it takes to be saved on the Day Jesus’ appears. You look at your own life, which is hardly a perfect picture of holiness, and you begin to doubt. Will I make it? Will I be ready for the Day of the Lord? Am I prepared to die today?

The answer from the Law is, “No. You are not ready, and you never will be.” The Law demands perfection, not a good effort, and under the Law you will be found anything but blameless. But the good news is that you are not left to your own merits or strength. God has a different way to save you. He puts you, a sinner condemned under the Law, into Jesus, His sinless Son, and declares you innocent--not simply “not guilty,” but innocent and guiltless under the Law. Covered with Christ, you are as pure, holy, and righteous as Jesus Himself. In fact, that’s what the Father sees when He looks upon you in your Baptism - He sees His Son Jesus, with whom He is well pleased.

In Christ, you lack nothing, but you have every spiritual gift, that is, every gift of the Spirit you need. You have what it takes, and what it takes is faith - trust in Christ who will sustain you to the end. Notice that. It’s Jesus who sustains you, not you who sustain yourself. And in Jesus, you are guiltless, which is how you will appear on the Day when He comes to judge the living and the dead. Guiltless not in yourself, but guiltless in Jesus.

So the next time your sin or your conscience cast doubt on how you will be judged, trace that mark of your Baptism again. Make the sign of the cross and invoke the Name into which you were baptized. Christ came to seek and save you. Christ died for you. You are baptized into Christ, fed by Him, forgiven by Him. He will sustain you until the end.