by The Rev. Brent Kuhlman
July 2009 / San Antonio / HT "Sola"
Well, leave it to an apostle. I mean, who dares to preach such a message? Paul does. Pull No Punches Paul. Straight to the heart of the matter with us and how we stand before God.
"Dead in your transgressions." "Gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature." "Following its desires and thoughts." "By nature objects of [God's] wrath."
Who's he talking to? The apostle's talking to you! That's right you. Or I should say the Lord through His apostle. You and me. Dead, damned sinners before God. Can't wiggle out it. Can't cut a deal. Go ahead and deny it. But it doesn't change the fact. "Dead in your transgressions." "By nature objects of [God's] wrath."
So sinful we are that this truth must be revealed to us by the Lord through His Word. Good thing. Because we believe we're so hot. So good. Always making excuses. Always justifying our position before ourselves, others, the world and before God. But Paul declares that before the Lord in our sinful condition we stand under His wrath. It's what we all deserve. What we've earned by our rebellious, idolatrous, sinful condition.
You're nothing. I'm nothing. So that Jesus is everything! And He is! You're not the Savior. I'm not either. But Jesus is! And Jesus alone! Sola Christo!
Listen! The apostle declares that God is lavish with mercy! Some might call His mercy reckless. After all, He loves dead in their transgressions sinners. Loves dead in their transgression sinners for Christ's sake. His cup of tea is raising dead in their transgressions sinners with Christ Jesus! "Raised you up with Christ. Seated you with Christ in the heavenly realms."
Who are you? A loved, mercied, and forgiven sinner. In Christ! And only in Christ! You don't get what you deserve as a sinner because Jesus died for you. He took your death and damnation. Now that's grace! Call it reckless if you want but here stand the words: "By grace you have been saved." You did nothing. When it comes to salvation it's all gift from the Lord. Sola gratia!
Where are you? "Seated in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus." You're in heaven! Heaven is yours. All for Christ's sake. If only your eyes could see. But faith trusts. Only faith. Solafides!
On the last day you'll see what you now have by faith. Then, not only you and me, but the entire world will see the "incomparable richness of God's grace," to sinners only for Christ's sake. That Jesus dares to reign - AMONG SINNERS! WITH HIS WOUNDS!
Until then, there's faith toward Jesus who died for you. Saved you. Mercied you. Graced you. Loved you. Raised you. Seated you with Himself in heaven. Given to you in Baptism. A foretaste revealed to you in the Supper.
So that you can be of good use in this world. The Lord's instruments ("God's workmanship") to help those in need. That's where good works come into play. Not to get you to heaven. That job's been done. Good works, the fruit of faith in Jesus alone, are for this life. For the neighbor. God doesn't need your good works. People in your life do. This is the life God's always had planned for you. Created you for this very reason. "For you are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He prepared all along."
Leave it to an apostle to preach such a message. "Saved by grace through faith." That's the Scriptures! Sola Scriptura! Salvation before God only by faith in Jesus. So that you can be of help to people in this life with your mouth, hands, feet and heart.
In the Name of Jesus.
Pr. Kuhlman is Vice-President of Higher Things.
Created: August 7th, 2009