Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Fulfilled for us
This year in Lent we at Grace Lutheran Church have continued the meditations on the Ten Commandments we began last year, comparing each commandment to the account in the Gospels of the Passion of our Lord Jesus. In the Passion of Christ, we observe not only that each of the commandments of God is violated by those around Him, similar to how we so often violate them, but also that He Himself specifically observes and fulfils each and every one of His own commandments in His Passion.
Whereas His disciples forget their love for Christ over their desire for sleep, He seeks only the will of God. Whereas Judas betrays Him with a kiss, as we so often misuse the name of the Lord by pretending that it is out of love for Him that we do what we do, He Himself speaks the only the truth of God. Whereas we so often neglect or even defile the worship of God, the Son worships the Father earnestly in His sacrifice. Whereas Pontius Pilate and Herod both prove to be poor rulers, and the Jews on their part fail to honour the government given by God and thus reject His lordship, the Son of God submits to the Father's will. Whereas we sinners kill, or make life miserable for each other, the Son of God dies for sinners to give His own heavenly life to us. And so forth, and so on.
The contrast is striking. As we compare our own goodness and our love for God with the love our Lord Jesus has lived in life and death, we cannot help but come to see how we fall short. This is what love is. This is what we should be. And clearly, we are not that.
In the Passion of Christ the severity of our sin is made clear to us, as it could hardly be made clearer in any other way. Our claims to love God must be revealed for what they are. And it must become clear to us that there is no way we can make ourselves right with God by our pathetic attempts at goodness and godliness.
But in the Passion of Christ His love is revealed also. What He did, He did for us, for our salvation. More than that, in the Passion of Christ we see the Law of God fulfilled. And we see that it is fulfilled for us. For the Son of God came to us to "fulfil all righteousness", as He Himself said it, when He was baptised with the Baptism of sinners.
In His life and in His death He has fulfilled the Law of God. He has lived the life we all owe it to God to live, in full and complete love and obedience and submission to His will. And this life He lived for us, in our stead and on our behalf, as Head of Mankind.
And He has suffered the death to we have earned with our failure. He has borne the judgement and damnation of God for the sin of the world. And this, also, He has done for us, in our stead and on our behalf, having had Himself baptised into Mankind and made one with us in our sin and guilt.
In His life and death the Law of God has been fulfilled. All that we owe to God, God has received. And all sins and shortcomings have been accounted for and dealt with and done away with.
In His Passion the Son of God has shown us what love is, and what our life should be. He has left us an example of love, and of trust in God, and submission to His will.
More importantly, though, He has fulfilled Himself all that He demands of us; and not only as a demonstration of how it should be done, that which sinners cannot do, but He has really fulfilled it for us, in our stead and on our behalf. The perfect obedience He has achieved and accomplished counts as ours before His judgement.
And this is what sets us free to live with God, and serve Him. He has done it for us, and we do not have to be afraid to. We do not have to be afraid for our sins and shortcomings. The goodness we cannot measure up to has been achieved for us, and given to us. The Law of God now presents itself to us without the threat of judgement and damnation, if we should fail - as we will fail, sinners as we are. The Law of God no longer threatens, but shows what we should do, and how we should live. But first and foremost it presents itself to us as a testimony to the love of God, that His Son has fulfilled it all for us, and borne all judgement and damnation for us, for our salvation.
And it is from this His living Word of love that we come to love Him. With the Word of His love His love shines into our hearts, so that His love comes alive in us, and we begin to love Him, and begin to live in His love. And we can be servants of God, sinners as we are.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem