Today’s Reading: Romans 9:30-10:4
But that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. (Romans 9:31-32a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There is nothing wrong with trying to do your best. It is what is expected of you at school, at home, and at work. Your neighbors (teachers, family, and your boss) are blessed by such efforts. But don’t bring that idea into your relationship with God. It didn’t work for Israel and it won’t work for you. The huge rock of the Law will crush you under the weight of its demands; the perfection that God’s Law requires of you will always be out of reach.
The apostle Paul works this truth to a fine point in our reading for today. Israel couldn’t reach a right relationship with God because they had the devilish idea that it was up to them to make it happen. They ran smack into the promise of God to save the world by His mercy. They stumbled over it, and kept on going with the idea that they had to do more good things to gain God’s approval.
You get sucked into thinking that way as well. Repent. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). No more struggling and striving to keep the Law for salvation! The Law works as a pointer, an arrow aimed straight at the target of Christ. Christ Jesus is where we find that the demands of God’s Law have been met. God’s righteousness is met in Him as well. Jesus’ perfect keeping of God’s Law is what makes you right with God. His perfect life is given into death in your stead—instead of you! You get all the benefits of what Jesus did with no strings attached. Faith trusts this promise, and faith is what you have been given as pure gift from the Triune God! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The Law reveals the guilt of sin and makes us conscience-stricken; but then the Gospel enters in the sinful soul to quicken. Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live; the Law no peace can ever give, no comfort or no blessing. (“Salvation Unto Us Has Come” LSB 555, st.8)
-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.