Today’s Reading: Romans 13:8-14
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 9:8-10:11; 1 Peter 5:1-14
Love does no evil to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God set the bar: Love God with your whole heart. Love your neighbor more than you love yourself. The bar never changes. It never gets easier. It never becomes doable by you.
What changes then? The God who can’t change, changes to save you. Jesus comes in your flesh and takes on your flesh. What you are unable to do, incapable of doing, God does in His Son. He keeps the Law for you: He loves God with His whole heart and He loves every neighbor on this little chunk of rock more than He loves Himself. Jesus does the most unthinkable Gospel: He counts His loving God and others as your loving God and others. This is called the “active obedience of Christ.” He lives your life for you.
But that’s only half the salvation job! The other half is punishment due you for when you haven’t loved God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself. God doesn’t lighten the Law on it, either! Instead, He takes His Son and sends Him to suffer the hell you deserve on the Cross. This is called the “passive obedience of Christ.” Jesus dies your death on the Tree.
You are saved only in the holy life (active) and bitter sufferings and death (passive) of Jesus. Apart from Jesus, you can’t please God and you can’t love those around you the way God requires. Outside of Jesus, God punishes you for what you do and don’t do.
Here’s the Gospel: You aren’t apart from Christ! In Christ, in the forgiveness of sins, in Jesus’ righteousness, you now live free! You owe nothing to anyone—neither to God nor to those around you—but to love them as God in Christ has loved you. God gave up His Son for you, so you love them, too, with the same love and self-sacrificing treatment as God in Christ has given you.
His love for you is today’s Advent gift to you! His love for you in Jesus fulfills the Law for you. Love does not do harm to those around you. Love doesn’t harm you, either. You love because He has loved you first, with His love that went through hell and death to save you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. George Borghardt
Not by human flesh and blood, By the Spirit of our God, Was the Word of God made flesh—Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh. (Savior of the Nations, Come, LSB 332:2)