Reflections: June 21, 2021
Monday of the Third Week after Trinity
By Jeffrey Horn
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God is a just Judge and a forgiving Savior. God created a perfect world, but that world rebelled and turned to sin. He watches over all people and all things. He works to keep order and peace in the world through His Law. He judges those who are wicked, because He is a holy God and will not abide evil. As we walk through this broken world and endure the sins others commit against us, we understand how vital it is that God is just. It would be awful to have a God who didn't care.
But God's justice is applied to all people equally. The just Judge applies the Law to all of us and we are found guilty. We have sinned against God and against our neighbor. For that we truly deserve both temporal death and eternal damnation.
But God doesn't want to punish people. He rejoices to give grace and forgiveness. You can hear that in our reading from Micah 7. Israel had sinned badly. They lied about God's Word. They stole from the poor. They truly deserved the punishment God gave them. But that would not be the end of the story.
God also gives forgiveness. "He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). God rejoices to give forgiveness! "He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love" (Micah 7:18b).
But how can God be both a just Judge who holds people accountable for sin, and a gracious Savior who forgives sins?
The answer is the Cross of Christ. Jesus willingly took the punishment for our sins. God's justice was fulfilled as Jesus died. But since Jesus had committed no sin, death could not hold Him once the punishment was finished. He rose again!
All who believe in Jesus are forgiven by grace. God has punished Christ for your sins so that He can graciously forgive your sins through faith in Christ. Who else is a God like this? In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Since Christ has full atonement made and brought to us salvation, Each Christian therefore may be glad and build on this foundation. Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead, Your death is now my life indeed, For You have paid my ransom. ("Salvation unto Us Has Come" LSB 555, st.6)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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