Reflections: October 30, 2020
Friday of the 20th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 31:29)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You almost have to laugh out loud at what Moses says about the people of God, the Children of Israel. "I've told you all this stuff God has done for you; I've told you everything God wants you to do and how He wants you to live. But you're just going to go off and do whatever you want after I'm gone anyway." Then Moses goes on to sing an epic song about how Yahweh has loved and put up with these sinners and made them His own people!
There is a great hope among Christians that once we are Christians we will act better. That we will improve. That we will get better and better. We should certainly strive to love God and serve our neighbor. But what happens when we don't? A pastor might be accused of not preaching God's Word enough if he just assumes people are going to sin. Sinners don't change much, though. The Children of Israel aren't different from God's people in the New Testament. God saves us. We still sin. That's the simul life you live as saint and sinner in one body in this life.
Our hope is not in our improvement. Our hope is in Christ. Our comfort is not in how much less we sin from one day to the next. Our comfort is in the declaration by God Himself that we are His beloved people and that He does not count our sins against us. Our peace is that when we forget His Word, He forgets our sins. Our joy and hope and certainty are in the fact that Jesus died and rose to save sinners. Our faith is that by Baptism and Absolution and Supper, God has forgiven us and overlooked the very sins for which He should condemn us forever.
What do those who wander off and do their own thing need to hear? What do you need to hear? Christ came into this world to save sinners--to save you. And He has done exactly that. He will deliver you safely to the Promised Land of Paradise and eternal life. In the Name +of Jesus. Amen.
O keep me watchful, then, and humble; Permit never more to stray. Uphold me when my feet would stumble, And keep me on the narrow way. Fill all my nature with Thy light, O Radiance strong and bright! ("Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower" LSB 694, st.4)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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