25 October 2009
“How’s it going?” More than just a greeting. It’s a Law question. Asks you to measure your life. Asks you to make an evaluation. A calculation. Add things up. Subtract. Divide. Multiply. Tabulate. And then render a judgment. A reckoning.
Others look at you and watch. They measure you up too. To see how you’re doing. More calculating. More adding. Subtracting. They evaluate you. And they too render a judgment.
This is how life is lived. You audit yourself. Others audit you. You make judgments about yourself. You evaluate yourself. Others judge you. Others evaluate you. This is how life is lived. 24-7-365. Always looking at yourself. Boasting in yourself. By what you do or don’t do.
And for sinners this is a huge burden. Like Atlas you carry the world of your own righteousness on your shoulders. Your entire existence depends on how you’re doing. A captivity. Slavery. Unending. Unrelenting. Always trying to live up to your expectations or someone else’s. Creating yourself. Recreating yourself. Always living to JUSTIFY yourself before yourself, others, and even before God by what you do or don’t do. The balance sheet is never righteous. Never justified. No matter how hard you try. You never measure up. And then you start over and over and over. Slavery.
And then God preaches a sermon that we’d never expect. What we would never imagine.
He speaks a huge “nevertheless.” A “but.” A very big “but!” to the 24-7-365 existence of audits, appraisals, and assessments by yourself and of others.
He comes into our lives and dares to say: “this balance sheet curved in on yourself life of yours does not have the first and the last say about your existence. I have another Word. And what I say counts. What I say determines who you are before Me both now and forever. Here is My promise and it is the truth: I have come to set you free from your never ending slavery to your self audits and self assessments.”
And what is this Word God speaks? This Word that determines your life before Him now and forever? In Revelation 14 it is called: “the eternal Gospel.” Paul calls it: “a righteousness from God [that] comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” Or “we maintain that a man is justified by faith not by what he does or doesn’t do.”
God rips up the balance sheets. Refuses to look at them. The constant justification of the self comes to an end in the death of Jesus God’s only begotten Son.
“How’s it going?” The only answer that holds before God is Jesus. Look away from yourself and look in faith to Jesus. He is the “sacrifice” that atones for all your life. All of it. Jesus redeems you. Jesus forgives you. Jesus recreates you. He shed His blood on the Cross for you.
And the Crucified and Risen Jesus renders the only judgment that is final. He says: “Be of good cheer your sin is forgiven.” “He who believes in me will never die.” “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” “This cup is the new testament in My blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” “Your faith in Me has saved you.”
These are the eternal words of the Gospel we have been given. Christ’s! Holy Spirit filled Christ words and promises. It is the truth. The truth that sets you free. Free from the burden and bondage of always trying to render a verdict about yourself. Frees you from what others say about you. They don’t have the final say. God does. And He alone renders the final verdict.
You hear it from Jesus every Sunday in the Absolution: “I forgive you all your sins,” and in the Supper: “given and shed for you.”
“How’s it going?” You know how it’s going — with you and God. You don’t have to balance your books once and for all. Why? Because He’s given you Jesus as your mighty fortress. He’s given you His Son’s righteousness. His Name. His Blood. All that’s good: now and always. To all this enormous giving faith says: “Thank you. Amen.”
In the Name of Jesus.