Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for laying down Your life to save our souls. Thank You for loving us even when we were Your enemies and didn’t know You and didn’t care about You. Thank You for causing us to be born again as true children of light through faith in Your saving work. And thank You for uplifting our hearts through the humility of the cross. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE ONLY SAVIOR THERE IS!
TEXT: Romans 3: 21-25, 27,28
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
All human life is sacred. That is because God alone authors a human life and provides us with an immortal soul. It is for that reason that God’s Church has stood against abortion on demand in our country. Abortion devalues human life and says it belongs only to humans and not to God. It also deprives souls of the opportunity to hear and know of their Creator, Savior, and God.
In your own family and among your children you teach them the value of every human life. But, if you had to choose between saving your own child from a burning building or saving a child you did not know, my guess is you’d save your own while mourning the loss of the other. That’s because your own children are special to you. Their life is no more sacred than the lost child, but they still are special. And once they’ve realized the gift of life that your deliverance provided them, hopefully you’d still be special to them, too.
Well, when it comes to the salvation of our souls, the same principle applies to our loving God. God created all souls. God loves all souls. And we’re told in the Bible: “God desires all people (souls) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of His truth.” And to achieve that, God in the person of Jesus Christ, ran into the burning building of this sin-filled world and created a pathway to safety and life. It’s called the Gospel. It’s called forgiveness for sins. It’s called God laying down His life to save His sheep. Some of those sheep didn’t listen to His urgent voice and thought they knew a better way out. That is, they thought they could save themselves by their own actions. We call that “living under the law.” Other sheep didn’t believe the fire was that serious and they did nothing. Both groups were lost. But, a few sheep, we call them Christians, heard the voice of their Shepherd and obeyed Him. They were saved. They trusted not in themselves or their perceptions of reality, but instead they trusted in Christ’s voice. And because of that, those believers are special to God. Today they, you and me, stand surrounded by His love and compassion. Yes, the Shepherd grieves over those who didn’t make it out of the building. On His way to the cross does not Christ plaintively say: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing?” However, grieving over human pride and human “I know what’s better for me than you do” is a dead end street.
With that little scenario in mind, I want to remind all of you here today that:
FAITH IN CHRIST MAKES YOU SPECIAL TO GOD!
All humans are born with pride. We all have an innate hard-headedness which tells us we can find the way out of this burning building called: life, all on our own. Even when the flames are licking around us we like to fantasize that if we blow hard enough of them we can extinguish them and then pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. My friends, that is exactly what we do when we attempt to live under the Law. When we attempt to be good enough and holy enough in order to hold our lives up to God as if He owes us, we’re living under the Law. But, it is a fool’s errand. For human perfection is an oxymoron. Human salvation is impossible. Who can ever be good enough, or perfect enough in their every thought, word, or action, to make God accept them? So, does that mean all of us are lost? No! And how do I know that? Because our lesson tells us.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets (the entire Bible) testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”
That is one of the most uplifting and glorious passages in all the Bible. It is also the one and only pathway out of the burning building. Instead of God demanding that we save ourselves (which is impossible) He sent Jesus to save us. He sent Jesus to suffer and die in our place on a cross. He sent Jesus to lay down His life for His sheep. He sent Jesus to make an atoning sacrifice, to placate and wipe away His anger over our pride and arrogance. And Jesus sent the Holy Spirit through the message of this gospel to personally lead us out of the burning building through His gift of faith. Yes, you and I are special to God because He saved our souls and He deserves all the credit, and by humbly following His voice we give Him all the credit.
If you were to save your child from that burning building, afterward would they boast about how smart they were to listen to you? Would they pat themselves on the back for having great hearing or a wonderful sense of direction? I don’t think so. Instead, your special child would feel special and grateful and thankful all the days of their lives. So it must be, it has to be with us who are children of Christ.
“Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith—(humble trust). For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”
You and I are special to God simply because His gift of faith in Christ makes us special to Him. We don’t have to go through life worrying about how to save ourselves, or justify ourselves and our actions to Him. We don’t have to worry whether we’ve been good enough. We don’t have to let past failures pull us down into despair. For Christ, not us, saves! Christ, not us, makes us holy and righteous before God. Christ, not us, makes us special to Him.
It is for that reason that we give Christ all the glory. It is for that reason that we give Him our undivided loyalty born of a humble heart which has been given the seemingly impossible gift of eternal life. So, rejoice over your specialness! And never, ever, take it for granted. Yes, always remember what it cost God Almighty—His life to save yours. Amen