The Christian Life is Simple, But Not Easy
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:36-39
Lutherans may use big words when talking about the Christian life (vocation and sanctification), but what those words mean is really pretty simple. While every other religious system in the world besides Christianity is based on karma (you get what you deserve), Christianity’s core teaching is that we are saved by God’s grace on account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Christian life, therefore, is not a means to God’s love, but a response to God’s love. Loving God and loving one’s neighbor are those responses in our daily lives. Individual Christians demonstrate that love for God and others in their unique callings. A mother shows love by God and others as she cares for the needs of her child. A firefighter serves God and others by putting out the fire. Church leaders use their particular gifts to serve at their congregations “in many and various ways.” It’s not complicated, but it’s also not easy.
Christians can grow weary in doing good to others. There are times when we turn in on ourselves and are not eager to serve others. That’s why we daily need to be reminded of the joy of the Gospel of sins forgiven. Since God has so loved us by giving Christ unto the altar of the cross, we are set free from the demands of the Law to serve God and those around us as our lives become our sacrifices of praise to God for what He has done for us.
Lutherans do talk about good works, sanctification, vocation and what we do for others. All of that flows from what God has done for us in Christ. Our prayer is that the people of God are blessed by clear preaching of God’s grace and they have been well catechized how the Gospel frees us for lives of loving service to God and others. May you always remember God’s love for you in Christ so that this love may overflow to others as you love and serve where the Lord leads you.
Prayer - Let us pray. O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan