Today’s Reading: Introit for the Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year
Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 7:1-29; Matthew 23:1-12
“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” (Ps. 130:3-4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A guilty conscience cannot hide. Try as one might, God sees what is done in secret. He knows the secrets of man’s heart. He threatens a wrathful judgment against any who is charged with sin. Adam and Eve in Gen. 3 could not hide from God. They stood before Him ashamed as God cursed them for listening to the devil’s word. Likewise, if you try to hide your sins from God, you cannot. You will have to give an account of your sinful thoughts, words, actions, and the good that you failed to do.
But who then can stand before God’s awful throne of judgment? No one. Not you. Not the most moral person you know. Not even the psalmist who wrote Ps. 130. While Adam and Eve did technically stand before God when He cursed them, it was more like cowering instead of actual standing. To stand before God in Ps. 130 means to stand with boldness and confidence.
With God there is forgiveness. For with God is His Son Jesus whom He sent to take your place. Your iniquities and sins were not marked against you but against Him. Jesus, God and Man, lived perfectly in your place, and gave His innocent life for your sins. Whatever is deserving of condemnation in you, Jesus took as His own to give you a righteousness that was His own. His blood was shed for you. Jesus suffered God’s wrath so that you might stand before Him on the last day, and with a smile on your face. Beaming, thankful, radiant because there is forgiveness with God for you on account of His Son.
Faith trusts this promise and breathes easier. For your sins are blotted out, covered over, taken away from you. You will not have to give an account for those covered sins, because there is nothing needing to account for. In place of your sin and curse is Jesus’ free righteousness and blessing. In place of terror is now joy. In place of sorrow at what you have become is comfort because of what you will become in Christ. True, Jesus is the only one who can stand before God the Father. But through faith alone, you stand with Him and your sins are not charged to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your deep love for me in Your Son, Jesus. Grant me a strong faith that with all boldness and confidence, I may stand before You on the last day with joy. Amen.
-Pastor Robert Mayes is Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion St. John Lutheran Church in Beemer and Wisner, NE.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.