Based on the Epistle reading for Advent 1 (historic) Romans 13:8-14. This is my anti-antinomian sermon. (Typically, I only write an outline for midweek sermons. This is in outlined-manuscript form. So sentences are not always complete, and some thoughts are expressed in “I know what I will say” form. Hopefully, it all makes sense.)
Lutherans: See scripture as Law Gospel. Preach Law to secure, Gospel to repentant.
If only look at first part of reading, could assume Paul preaching to secure sinners – here is law, take to heart sinners and repent.
But second half of Epistle reading spoils that illusion. Law – your salvation nearer. Paul preaching law to converted – those who have already repented of their sins.
What’s up w/ that? Aren’t saved by grace through faith? Don’t have to do anything?
Life of Christian lived between two – not done with law. Law has place in life of Christian. (Third use of law – guide)
Good works have place in life of Christian.
(Quote from articles on “New Obedience” and “Faith and Good Works”)
Works are commanded. More than that, Good works should and must be done. How do we reconcile that with teaching that we are saved by grace, through faith?
Receive forgiveness when believe his holy word. Works follow. Done through faith. Without Christ, impossible to do truly good works. Jesus John 15 “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
Paul here encouraging us to live holy lives according to the Word which we receive. Love is fulfilling of law – love neighbor as self, love Lord God w/ all heart. That is the whole law. Impossible to do as sinners. But through Christ, in faith, we live and perform works of service to our neighbor. Not that those works save us, but that God gives us opportunity to show love to others – especially the unlovable – so that we can live out that faith.
Paul – put on Lord Jesus Christ, make no provision for desires of flesh.
Lives are lives lived in Jesus.
Advent prepare for Jesus to come. Heard Sunday how we need Jesus lest we fall away from faith. How we need him to save us from our sins – even now. So also, need Jesus to help us do good works. So that our lives would be lives lived in Jesus. And he would live in and through us.
Challenge. During advent, look at Jesus return. Will judge quick and dead. Our conduct – not measure up to perfection God demands. While this drives us to promise of forgiveness in Jesus, that promise also drives us to do the work of the Christian – living out the faith in love outward fellow man. Not just obvious things, like Christmas baskets for poor – although that’s important too. Also showing love to family members that annoy. Coworkers that drive us crazy. Boss that’s so unreasonable. Neighbors that are less than ideal. The people God puts in our path to challenge us to show love to the unlovable. We all know people like that. And have opportunity to love them, as Christ loves them, as he loves us.
He gave life for us, so that we would be restored to him. Can not repay, should not try. Must receive salvation as gift.
Life now is life in him, through him and for him.