Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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FEBRUARY 29th, 2012 – THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE

“There were some present at that very time who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’” Luke 13:1-5

Devotional Thought For The Day

How blessed we are that God has addressed some of the darker and deeper aspects of our sinful hearts. In these words of instruction, Jesus identifies one of the chief concerns that human beings have, and one of our worst assumptions. The issue is how to avoid travesties and tragedies – like governmental persecution, or death by poor engineering, or death by some maniacal criminal, or deadly diseases, or even the devastation of natural disasters. Our immediate response, our dark assumption which seems perfectly true to us, is that we must do a better job avoiding sin and being “righteous” in our behavior. The arrogance behind such an assumption is colossal – that we are alive and safe because we are “better,” more righteous, less sinful than others. The presumptive judgment is that those who suffer are “worse sinners” than we are, that somehow they “deserved” what happened to them. Of course, this is devastating when something befalls us, and so in such circumstances we are pressed to conclude that God is behaving wickedly when He allows such evils to befall us.

 

Variations of these same wicked assumptions and judgments permeate our thoughts, when our minds are corrupted by notions of idolatrous self-determination and self-reliance. The flip side of this kind of thinking is the arrogant conclusion that our wealth, our successes in life, our health and well-being are all the result of our “living rightly.” The presumptive judgment toward anyone not doing as well as us is that they are less capable, less ambitious, less intelligent, less skilled, less disciplined, lazy, foolish – less righteous and more sinful than we are. Take a look at the morality of many of the “rich and famous” and hopefully you’ll see the absurdity of this. But how hard it is to let go of the thought that somehow we get to determine all aspects of our life and being, and that we are “better” while others are “worse sinners” than we are. Or, when things are not going well for us, to conclude that we are “worse sinners” and are being punished by God, or that He is being terribly unfair toward us.

 

Jesus sweeps all of this idolatrous and nonsensical thinking aside with one simple statement: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” With this one assertion He puts all human beings on the same level – and He asserts the need for utter repentance for all human beings. Thank God that such godly, humble, heartfelt, and honest repentance is met with “good news” from God – the assurance that He is merciful and gentle, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, that He forgives us our sins for Christ’s sake, that in His blood we have all received redemption.  In this way He invites us to faith, and creates faith in His goodness and love within us, and by such faith we are saved and have eternal life. Such grasp of His gracious love, and the willingness to adjust our thinking so that we rely and depend not on our own “righteousness” and “goodness,” but rather on His mercy and love, sweeps away the deep darkness of arrogant self-reliance and independence from God.

 

As we live in this wondrous and gracious love and kindness of God, we are forced to other considerations when contemplating the horrific things that befall human beings. We are willing to allow “mystery” to remain in many of these things – even when they happen to us, trusting always in God’s goodness and love; and we embrace others in compassion and kindness even as we continue to trust in God’s justice, that somehow He is working all things together for good. We look at such disasters as opportunities for us to show genuine love and kindness toward those who are suffering – and to take our place beside them as fellow children of God, for we know and believe the love that God has for us, and for all people. By Jesus’ Word this transformation of faith and love is effected within us. God grant such blessedness to us all.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for my arrogance in processing the disparities of fortune that people experience, for proudly exalting myself and hypocritically judging others in their woes. Grant that I be among those who truly and genuinely repent, who grasp the nature of Your gracious goodness and love, that I may be an instrument of Your compassion and love. Amen.