“In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 33:15–16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. High school might seem like the perfect preparation for the end of the world. After all, each semester is eschatological in nature. At the end of every academic term, you are judged and must prove your worth to move on. You take exams to prove your righteousness, and your worthiness, to advance to the next class or even the next school year. This is especially true in your senior year where you have to prove you’re righteous enough to leave high school while at the same proving that you are righteous enough to be let into whatever is next in your life. Your grades, your extra-curricular activities, and your accomplishments are all judged by those with your future in their hands.
Some think that the end of the world seems to be very similar in nature. On the last day you will be judged, and your eternal fate will depend on your righteousness. All of the stuff that you have done will be used to determine what kind of afterlife you move on to. That is a fully frightening thought. Imagine being in the presence of God with nothing but your works, your thoughts, and your sins in your admission packet. This would be like taking the final for a class you never attended, never did the reading, and didn’t even know you were in.
Thankfully what is true for high school is not true for the Kingdom of God. The righteousness you have now, the righteousness by which you have already been judged is not yours. You have been given the righteousness of Christ Himself. The Lord is your righteousness and because of that, you have nothing to fear from the end. The righteousness needed to move from this world to the next is not an earned righteousness, it is gifted righteousness. It is a righteousness that God has given to you because of Jesus. You have nothing to fear from the judgment to come because Jesus already experienced that judgment for you on the cross. There he exchanged your sins for His righteousness. The end will come but you are already saved, and you will dwell securely. For you, there will be no final exam. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
May we in faith its message learn Nor thanklessly its blessing spurn; May we in faith its truth confess And praise the Lord, our righteousness. (The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace LSB 580 st 6)
-Pastor Grant Knepper is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Oregon.
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.