19 November 2010

It Makes Me Sad

It makes me sad that we poor sinners seem to find such sweet satisfaction in castigating others and criticizing their interests. For works righteousness is never more perverse than when we esteem and elevate ourselves at the expense of our neighbors. Yet, I recognize this wickedness in myself, even though I know the hurt of it.

Then there is our dear Lord Jesus Christ, who has found His sweetest satisfaction in taking our depravity upon Himself and suffering its shame and castigation; who esteems and elevates us at His own expense; who rescues us from our own and every wickedness by bearing the hurt of our sins and the hurt of the sins of others against us.

It makes me sad to think of what He has suffered on my account, and yet it is His greatest glory to have done so for all of us poor sinners. It is His prerogative alone to save us from our sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. Therefore, by His grace, my sadness also enters with my sin into repentance and His Resurrection from the dead. Therein is my freedom.

Therein, also, is my neighbor's freedom.

Not a freedom to sin, surely; for we are not set free from sin and death to become again the slaves of sin and death. But free to live unto righteousness, by grace through faith in Christ. Free to live in His forgiveness, in love for one another. Free to receive and use the good gifts of God, sanctified by His Word and prayer and gladly embraced with thanksgiving. Indeed, He is so generous in His good gifts, pouring out upon us far more than we could ever ask or imagine, that we are free to investigate different interests, to pursue different passions, and even to enjoy different entertainments than our neighbors. And at the end of each day, we are free to lay us down to sleep in His grace, mercy and peace.

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