‘ Shouldn’t I be Getting Better? ‘

I’ve been a Christian now for about 50 years or so.

 So you would think that by now I would really be exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit, doing all kinds of great things, large and small, and sinning less and less all the time.

But that is not the case. Actually, I don’t think I’m doing very many great things at all, compared to the likes of the Mother Teresas of this world. I haven’t given up my material possesions as Jesus tells His would-be disciples to do. I do not love God and my neighbors as myself. In fact, I quite often can’t stand my God and my neighbors.

As I get closer to the appointed meeting with my Lord, I really (for the most part) see myself as for what and who I really am; the biggest sinner that ever walked the face of the earth.

Sometimes I lay in bed at night and think of people that were long ago forgotten in my life, people that I did hurtful things to. People who’s lives may have been irrreparibly damaged…by me. I think also of the many good things that I had chances to do, but never did do.

I sometimes think of what Pastor Mark tells us, that “it’s not my worst that I should worry about when it comes to God, but rather my best. For the best thing that I have ever done on the best day day of my life…isn’t good enough either.”

This seems like a hopeless situation. I don’t seem to be able to, or desire to do the things that my Lord has commanded me to do. I guess that means I could be in for a really rough go of it on judgement day.

And that would certainly be true, if it were not for one thing that we haven’t talked about until now. I have a Savior. Someone loved me enough to die for me. Someone loved me enough to forgive everything I’ve ever done wrong and everything I’ll ever do wrong. Someone has put my old sinful self to death, on that cross 2,000 years ago, and in a more personal, tangible way, 50 years ago in my baptism.(Romans 6)

So now, as St. Paul says (also in Romans 6), I am to consider myself dead to sin. It’s as if it never happened. I was washed clean, for all eternity, in the waters of my baptism along with the Word of God’s Promise to be my God. He says to me, “you are mine”. He has adopted me into His family.

So whenever I dredge up those memories of wreckage that I’ve caused , I am to realize that these accusations of unworthiness are a lie.  I am worthy. Not because of anything that I have done, or will yet do, but because of what Jesus has done , is doing, and will yet do…for me.

I am declared righteous…for Jesus’ sake.

Getting better for the sake of my employer, my neighbor, my family, is always a good thing. Getting better for the sake of my Lord is not possible beyond what He has already done for me.

If you disagree with what I’ve said, that’s ok, but I would like to know why you feel I’m wrong on this one.

           Thanks.

                     – Steve Martin

We just don’t want to die…I know I don’t.

Jesus said, “If you would gain your life in this world you must lose it.”

 What?! I must lose my life? That’s right. You must lose your life.

But I just told you that I don’t want to die!

Then you’ll need some help. No….that’s wrong. You don’t even want to participate,  so someone will have to kill you off, by themself.

That someone is the living God.

He kills you in baptism (Romans 6), and He kills you with his perfect Law.

This is done so that…He may raise you to new life. You didn’t really think that God would create a masterpiece on a canvas that was already scribbled all over, did you? Of course not! He wants a blank canvas.

So, out with the old Adam, the sinful self obsessed idolator…and in with the new person, totally justified, clothed in the perfect white robe of Christ.

It’s gotta happen,  this death. God demands a death from us. It is the price owed for a sinful life. The wages of sin is death. It will either be paid in full, here, in your baptism and on the cross, or it will be paid for all eternity when you are judged on the last Day.

Well, I think I’ll take my death here if you please, Dear Lord. Kill me and raise me with your perfect Word.

     – Steve Martin