There is a lot of heavy stuff in today’s reading; faith, sin, atonement, law, death, justification. The first thing that jumps out at me is the most important theological principle in the Lutheran tradition. Justification through faith.
Basically what that means is that it is God’s grace and forgiveness, which makes us acceptable to God, not anything that we do or don’t do. There is nothing that we can do to earn more grace, no works, and alternatively, there is nothing we can do to earn less, there is no sin so great that God cannot forgive. God’s is grace is complete fullness and does not fluctuate based on human whims. This speaks to the static, or fixed, or unchanging nature of God. But God is not just stationary, having acted once and then entering into hibernation for eternity. God is also dynamic, moving through us and everything else, creating and destroying over and over again.
Our Lenten Easter journey delivers the grim evidence that Jesus too was created and Jesus was destroyed and created again.
As far as we can know, everything that ever was, is and will be has been, or will be, created and destroyed. For all we know God may also undergo this perpetual renewal process. Opening our life to God means embracing that constant churning. Not living in fear of it.
Think of how many life changing transformations you have been through over the years. The death of your old self and the birth of your new self. Just like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. (let that hang)
For me personally, I am deeply engaged in the transformation process as we speak. This one year internship is both challenging and affirming at the same time, with so many moving parts interacting with each other. Spiritual, administrative, political, economic, social and other considerations constantly contradicting, competing and complimenting each other. Every day bringing new risks and rewards, set-backs and progress, with it a deeper understanding of faith and God’s grace. Five years ago, I would have said I was the last person in the world who would find themselves standing before you as I am. Yet here we are. In essence, my ego and I had to get out of God’s way so that I could be transformed by God’s grace, in the process coming to better understand the gift of faith that has been given. That deep intuitive wisdom that we have all experienced to one degree or another. The death of my old self allowed for the creation of my new self. And it will happen again.
In our reading today, Paul warns that if we build up again the things that we once tore down, then we demonstrate that we are transgressors. But, trusting our faith for guidance, if we allow Christ to flow through us and live that out authentically it can be said that we have done well. It can be said that we opened our life to the Lord. Remember that in your daily life, remember that when you come to church. Once, having come to know God in your heart, you cannot un-know. And if you have God in your heart you shall not want.