Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we join to thank You for serving us in humility, kindness, and love! We thank You for putting Your life on the line to save our souls. We thank You for providing us with the gift of faith to appreciate and possess in our hearts Your tremendous blessings. Help us to always show the confidence and joy that knowing You brings! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR GLORIOUS LORD AND SAVIOR!
TEXT: Romans 8: 1-10
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
I have a relative who, when he is a bit grumpy with how his wife organizes their life together, will turn to her and say: “You ain’t the boss of me!” She politely listens to him and then goes right on with whatever needs to be done. For she knows in her heart of hearts that she is the boss of him, and so does he—even though he won’t admit it out loud. In fact, this little scenario has actually become a game for them over the many years they have been together.
All of us have bosses. That is, we have people who direct our lives, or at least a good portion of them. Some are likeable. Some are difficult. Some are authoritarian and demanding. Others are very laid back. But, one thing is clear in every case—we work for them. That’s why today’s text is so amazing. That’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is so amazing! For in the case of Christ, God’s eternal Son:
THIS BOSS WORKS FOR YOU!
Many of you can recall a few years back when Malden Mills up in Methuen burned to the ground. It put hundreds of people out of work. But the owner, the boss, Aaron Fierstein, came to the rescue. Out of his own pocket he continued to pay those idle workers for the next 2 years until the mill could be rebuilt. His generosity is a legend in Massachusetts. But, of course, his motives were not totally altruistic. He wanted to keep his work force intact because to him it also made good business sense.
All Christians would readily admit that God is their Boss. I like to tell people: I work for God. And I do, by serving you, His people. But, how do you understand God’s role as your Boss? Well, St. Paul reminds us in this lesson that This Boss Works For You!
Now I know that most people view God as an authoritarian figure Who makes a lot of demands on human beings. That is, most are well aware of God’s Law, His 10 commandments. So, they go through life laboring under the weight of trying to be a “good person” and trying to earn points with their Creator. And most feel that whatever they receive in this life is earned by them. That is, they view life as if God owed them for their hard work and good intentions. We call that “living under the law.” We’re all used to that paradigm since we all function under it at work every day. At the end of each week we expect to be paid what we worked for and earned. But, in our spiritual life, there’s a huge problem with that approach. The problem is: God demands perfection from us in our every thought, word, and action. “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” is what the Bible says. Since none of us is, all we can expect or demand is the wages of imperfection.—Yes, the “wages of sin is death.” So, frustration, anger, and even a certain amount of arrogance result. With such an approach to life genuine humility gets tossed aside. But, God also says: He will “humble the proud, and exalt the humble.” How is this all possible?
Well, that’s where Christ enters the picture. Obviously God is the Boss of everything. He controls all things in heaven and on earth. And since we’re such lousy workers on our own, in pure love He chose to turn the tables and make us pure and humble. He chose to work for us! He chose to do what we could not and would not—engage in a life of humble service to fallen sinners. First, He sent Jesus, His Son, to live a perfect life of humility, love, and service for us. And all His humility, love, and service were directed at us and for us. Next, He sent Jesus to pay the wages of our living under the Law. That is, He sent Jesus to suffer and die on the cross for all our sins and guilt. And finally, He sent Jesus to rise from our graves to free us eternally from fear and uncertainty. For Jesus arose and went to heaven to prepare an everlasting home just for us. Also, God sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit to put faith into our hearts. To make Christ’s work and Christ’s blessings, our own.
St. Paul’s message in this wonderful chapter is that: This Boss Works For You! He says to you: “I’ll do all the heavy lifting and you sit back and enjoy it. Just believe and trust in Me and know that at the end of life and even during your life on earth I’ll provide you exactly what you need. You’ll never lack for anything.” This is what we call the Gospel. And since it turns modern business experience and life as whole on its head, it is sweet and glorious!
Of course, you can always go back to the old way of working, trying to please Him on our own, and boasting about your own achievements to Him. That is, you can keep your pride by rejecting the Gospel. But, if you do know this: “The mind of sinful man is death…the sinful mind is hostile to God.” So, what will it be? What kind of life do you want?
With that in mind, listen again to Paul’s wonderful words: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
The Gospel is liberating! It brings happiness and joy and freedom from worry about anything and everything! All this is true because in Christ, The Boss Works For Us! Armed with that change of heart, we can go about this business of living motivated by pure joy. And how do I know that is true and can be true for each of you? Simply because the Bible says so! “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
Only the humble sinner wants this kind of liberation and joy. So, if I’m describing you, then obviously the Spirit, Who works humility, lives in you! Yes, from beginning to end, This Boss Works For You! And that truth is both humbling and uplifting at the same time! Amen