Bethany Lutheran Church, Bigfork, MT


June 2018

By Pastor Christopher Miller

Dear Friends in Christ,

Before reading this, please read Romans 3:9-20.

We're always looking for some advantage, a "leg up". Kids always try to anticipate the start of a race, so they can get off the blocks faster than their opponents. We can pay to be the first ones in line or have the better seats at the heater. Some advantages get built in, like the person who gets the high-profile job because of who their dad is. In a lot of places, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Often, the church is no exception to that.

But it's not surprising that we try to find ways to get a "leg up", because it helps us to avoid the truth. Paul is coming to the head of his argument through the first three chapters of Romans here. He has outlined the case that just because the Gentiles are poor, miserable sinners, doesn't mean that you're not a poor, miserable sinner too. Just because the Gentiles don't know God, doesn't mean you do. Jew, Gentile, Christian, everyone in between: none of us have a "leg up" for salvation, because we are all sinners. Paul drops in passage after passage confessing just that. Even our Good works are worthless in the eyes of God (Isaiah 64:6).

This leads to a sobering conclusion (v. 19): No one will be declared righteous by the works of the Law. In fact, it is that very Law that condemns you. This should lead us to great despair. Everythingseems to say, "You do this, and you will live," but there is no way for us to do this. There's no advantages. There's no one you can pay. There's no way to skew the rules in your favor. There's no one you can know.

Well, about that last one...

In Christ's Hope,                  Pastor Christopher Miller


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