Wednesday March 6, 2013
Morning Psalm: 119:97-120 | Evening Psalms: 81, 82
Jeremiah 8:18-9:6 | Romans 5:1-11 | John 8:12-20
Coming up for Air!
In the middle of serious Lenten repentance, reading Romans 5:1-11 is like coming up for air. A focus on personal sin can have the uninvited consequence of being submerged in condemnation. I believe God to be distant from my struggles. I can become preoccupied with my shortcomings in a way that mars my appreciation for what makes repentance actually worthwhile: the freely given and redeeming gift of justification.
The darkness of sin would lie to me and tell me that God looks upon me at a distance, conferring forgiveness and mercy only when I have cleaned out enough sin in my life to make room for His mercy. The voice of condemnation would always highlight the significant gap between my efforts and Christ’s righteousness, leaving me emotionally sullen and drowning in self-pity. Listening to these voices, I can easily be led to the place where I merely put up with the sin in my life because I think nothing else can be done.
To these haunting and lying voices, Paul’s words in Romans 5 shout, “Not so!” Listening to the stirring words in Romans, I rise and shake off the chains of self-pity and breathe in the mercy of God! God is not at a distance. He has invited me into the very throne room of His presence—I have access! Christ won for me an appointed place at the table of God’s righteousness. I have received unearned and Divine favor that claims me for Christ’s own and pours His love into my darkened but redeemed heart.
In the light of that love, I can pour out to God all that is within me, including my darkest struggles, knowing that forgiveness is already mine. Because of Christ’s undeserved claim on my life, I find that I have a Champion, both at my side and reigning within, who cheers me on with His grace and peace. I am not alone!
“O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the firm foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”
The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer (DMin Student)
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida
Former Trinity professor and current member of the Board
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