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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: January 12, 2023

Romans 3:19-31

Imagine that you’re a teenager and your father leaves you in charge of your younger siblings for the night. You decide you don’t particularly want to fulfill your duties so you start to act out, and by the time your father returns, you’ve torn his house to the ground, set his car on fire, and worse of all, killed your siblings in an act of ragefull violence. As your father stares at the horror, you look at him and you say, “I’ll make it up to you.”

That is, of course, the most foolish thing you could ever say. But once, that’s where we were. Once we stood before God, having despised and torn apart His gifts, His love, His mercy. Once in service of our pride and arrogance, we burned down the glorious home of His favor. Once, through our sins, we put His very Son to death. And in that moment, we told our God, “I’ll make it up to you. I’ll keep your law that I can’t keep. I’ll piece back together the commandments I break every time I touch them. I’ll use my soiled hands to make myself clean.”

There we were, unrighteous and condemned by God’s righteous law. But now, as St. Paul tells us, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law. Now the righteous Son we killed has brought us salvation through His death. Now, Jesus Christ, the only one to fulfill the Law, has given us His perfect obedience to the law. He has unburnt His Father’s gifts. He has given us peace with the One we despised beyond measure and has given us His Father’s love that is beyond comprehension. And through faith, this perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ has become yours. “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”

Once we stood before God with divine blood on our hands foolishly saying, “I’ll make it up to you.” But now, because of Christ, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see sinners who killed His Son. He sees more sons. He sees saints forgiven by the blood of His Son. He sees the children He adopted through faith in His name. He sees His beloved children who are covered not in the blood of guilt, but the blood of salvation, the blood He gave them to make them His own forever.

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