Pastor Hans Fiene
Matins Devotion: January 9, 2023
Back in the 80s and 90s, it was a somewhat regular occurrence for a famous televangelist to get caught engaging in precisely the kind of sexual sins he always denounced so vociferously on TV. And people would get very upset when this happened. How could a man who spend so much energy condemning the perversion of our culture end up being just as perverse? We ask that same question these days when it turns out that the celebrity who billed himself as a proud patriarchy-smashing male-feminist had a habit of forcing himself on any female he could. When we see this type of thing, we’re often shocked.
But we shouldn’t be because it’s always been this way, as evidenced by St. Paul addressing this phenomenon in our reading from Romans this morning. As long as people have been sinning, people have believed they can escape the wrath of God by hot-potato-ing it onto the lap of someone who shares a love of the same transgressions. Disobedient Adam did it to Eve when he blamed the Fall on her disobedience. Wife-stealing murderer King David did it to the hypothetical sheep-stealer-and-murderer in Nathan’s parable. Televangelists and male-feminists have just kept up the tradition.
So let’s see things clearly. Hating your sin won’t do you any good if you only hate that sin when you see it in your neighbor. You have to hate that sin in yourself by repenting. Don’t judge the sin in your neighbor. Despair of the sin in yourself. Cry out for mercy. And in Christ, you will find it.
In Jesus Christ, you will receive forgiveness and salvation. In Christ, you’ll find the One who knew no sin and yet became sin for you in order to destroy your sins and fill you with His righteousness. In Jesus Christ, you’ll find the one who gives you His pure and perfect heart, the pure and perfect heart by which you will be judged on the last day, the pure and perfect heart that will declare you worthy of eternal life. Don’t believe the devil’s lie that you can escape the wrath of God by hating those who share your sins. Believe the Gospel truth that you have escaped the wrath of God through the One who bore your sin and became your Savior.