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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: November 6, 2023

Matthew 23:13-39

When I was a middle school student learning about slavery, one of the conclusions my fellow students and I drew was that we would have been different if we’d lived in that era. Even though slavery was widely accepted in the antebellum South, we would not have accepted it. We would not have uncritically accepted the moral presuppositions of that day like everybody else. We would have been champions of abolition, despite the fact that there are more slaves in the world today than in the 19th century and none of us has devoted our lives to changing that.

When I was in high school learning about the Holocaust, once again, all of us would have opposed it. We would not have joined the Nazi party and participated in genocide if we’d lived in 1930s and 40s Germany. We would have seen the humanity in those dehumanized by the powers-that-be, despite the fact that so many of us refused to see the humanity of the unborn who continue to be slaughtered legally throughout our nation and the world.

Moral hindsight is always 20/20. And it’s a fun game to play. But the more we play it, the more we blind ourselves to our need for Christ, something Jesus highlights when He points out to the Pharisees that they are certain they would not have participated in the murder of the prophets and yet are the ones who will do even worse than this when the put the Son of God to death.

So don’t tell yourself that would have been better than your fathers and grandfathers. Don’t tell yourself that you would have chosen love over hatred and righteousness over sin. If you would have then, you would have now. But you haven’t. You’ve clung to the vileness of your heart and despised the righteousness of God. So repent. Turn to Christ and, in Him, see the answer to the sins of the past. In His hands and feet, there you have the eternal righteousness of God that has always existed, the eternal righteousness that has won salvation for man-stealers and genociders, for abortionists and Pharisees, for you and me. If you want to be righteous, don’t look to the sinners of the past. Look to the Son of God upon the Cross and He will give you everything you need to live with Him in His kingdom forever.

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