Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  - Matthew 7:21-23

There is a truth that is most ironic.  The more one points to one's works, the more one talks about what one has done, even things that are good (like casting out demons, and even things more mighty than that), the more one is merely a worker of lawlessness.

How can this be?  Isn't the Law simply a matter of do this, don't do that?  No - the Law is not merely used in this fallen world to show us what is good or to curb with threats those who would engage in gross wickedness.  The Law has a theological use -- to show you your sin.

If you look at the Law and do not see your sin, you are a worker of lawlessness, for you have denied the purpose of the Law.

If you look at the Law and do not see a need to repent, you are a worker of lawlessness, for in vain you think you do the Law instead of seeing how short of it you come.

Often Lutherans will be chided for being so focused on this theological use of the law, the showing of our sin.  Why can't we move beyond that and focus on the "important" things the Law teaches, like how to be good, how to show forth social justice, how to be a good little Christian (I even heard one man start a sermon "yes, yes, we all know that Jesus died for our sins, now let's move on to living).

If you see the Law, if you hear the Law in such as way as though it does not accuse you of sin, you are ignoring the Law and are a worker of Lawlessness.  You have forgotten that the will of the Father is to trust not in yourself or your own righteousness but to trust in Christ Jesus, His only Son.  The Law shows you your sin so that you do not trust in yourself -- and if you think to use the Law so that it does not, you have become a worker of Lawlessness, a false prophet. 

Why would you declare to God all you have done for Him, when God's people have in all ages declared rather what He has done for them?  False prophets and workers of lawlessness point to themselves positively - those who are true point to God and the salvation He brings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Issues Etc. Blog of the Week - July 27, 2012