NOTE: While Pastor Charlie is on a trip out of the country through June 5, he has chosen some of his favorite blog posts from his weblog from 2020 to 2021 to share.
From: May 13, 2020
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”[a]
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
A pastor was frustrated with his congregation. No matter what he shared, it seemed as if the congregation didn’t give it much attention – as if his words didn’t carry much weight or bear much truth.
So he decided he would talk with his church council president. The two sat down for a cup of coffee, and the pastor shared his frustration. When he was done, the council president said, “Pastor, I hear what you are saying. I have a word of advice for you – maybe, it might help if you stop ending your sermons with the saying, ‘but then again, what do I know?”
Let me share with you what I do know.
God, who is perfect, offers complete and perfect forgiveness. We are washed clean of our sins, and we are made right in God’s eyes – justified. And when God forgives us, we are completely forgiven.
If it makes you feel better to pay the price for your sins, that is fine. If you want to carry around the burden, that is up to you – but realize you are doing it for yourself only!
God does not benefit by your misery. We are forgiven not because of who we are, but because of who God is, and what Jesus has done for us.
Yes, you can carry the burden, but the truth is YOU DON’T HAVE TO!
The price has already been paid. God loves us completely.
God forgives us completely.
The truth is that we are sinners -- God's fallen, flailing, and confused children -- from birth to death.
Sinners - that no amount of indulgences or good works can ever redeem. But we are also those sinners for whom Christ died.
We are those sinners, that is, who, dead to the law, are now free to love and serve our neighbor extravagantly, daring to care for the poor, to give witness to the gospel, to help our neighbor, and to share all that we have and all that we are no matter what.
Our call as the church, and as individuals is to claim and live out these truths.
What this means for you and for me is to ponder the words we pray every Sunday in the Lord’s prayer – forgive us, as we forgive others.
Let’s be honest.
Let’s tell the truth.
As much as we need to be forgiven, there are those in our lives we need to forgive.
That is the truth.
But then again, what do I know?
Let us pray:
O Lord, You offer us the truth that WILL set us free. Help us to trust in your Word, and follow where you lead. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior. Amen.