Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32; Romans 2:17-29
And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? (Romans 2:19–21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you want to live by the Law, you’ll die by it. If you want to die by the Gospel, you’ll live in it. The latter has caused no small amount of hard feelings and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
The truth is that we’d much rather live by the Law. Watch kids play tag: There’s no grace involved. New rules pop up every 30 seconds. With each new law comes an increase in trespass. It doesn’t seem to make them happier, but they can’t seem to quit.
I wish this was as simple as reminding you not to be a hypocrite. If the Law could bring about peace, we’d have found a way. If you want to live by the Law, you’ll die by it. Sing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” all you want, but first actually look at the Law. Finding someone worse than you are to condemn doesn’t actually make the sins you hide any less wrong. It just leaves us condemning each other along our way to the grave we’ll share with those we spent our whole lives calling sinners.
God does not desire this to be the last word. He calls even the wicked to turn from the religion of the Law and live. Turn from your sins and hear the Gospel. Jesus fulfilled the Law for you, and for all. Jesus died for you, and for all. Your neighbors’ public sins are atoned for, and so are your secret ones. More rules can’t do this. But a merciful God already has. Our religion is to die with Christ, that we would live in Him. Our hope is not that we can save others by our works, but that Christ can save us from our works. Christ has given you life in Him. Turn from your works and live. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Harrison Goodman
Thy works, not mine, O Christ, Speak gladness to this heart; They tell me all is done, They bid my fear depart. Refrain Refrain To whom save Thee, Who canst alone For sin atone, Lord, shall I flee? (Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ, LSB 565:1)