Does it seem as though during the past couple of months there are more things that we can’t do than things we’re allowed to do? For weeks parks which normally are always open were closed. Have you thought how nice it would be to dine out only to drive by the restaurant and see a “closed” sign? Even businesses which are open may restrict a person from entering without a face covering. Especially heartbreaking are the restrictions which have prevented us from gathering in-person at church around Word and Sacrament. It’s hard to stay six feet away when all you want to do is give someone a hug. All these rules have been well-intentioned and necessary for health and safety, but don’t you dream of a time when there are no restrictions to our freedom? No doubt it will be some time before all the pandemic restrictions are lifted. Even then, there will always be laws and rules regulating our behavior and life on earth as citizens of our nation.
That is what makes the gospel good news of Christ so different, thrilling, and liberating! Jesus’ kingdom has no restrictions imposed upon its citizens. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus came to be the sacrificial Lamb of God who would pay for the sins of all people.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or what your past has been. Jesus is your Savior too. He was born to live the life you couldn’t. He died on the cross to give you eternal life by faith. There are no restrictions on salvation based on how well you have kept the commandments or how much good you have done. You are not disqualified from eternal life for exceeding a maximum level of guilt. We can be completely sure of salvation because it does not depend on anything we do, but entirely on what Jesus has done. His resurrection is the proof that the entire world of sinners is reconciled to God. His ascension to the Father’s right hand comforts us with the assurance that He is directing each of our lives and the well-being of the entire Holy Christian Church.
In Christ we are completely free, free from the control of Satan, free from punishment, free from uncertainty over our standing with God, free to serve the Lord, not because we are required to, but because we want to in love. There are no restrictions, no condemnation in Christ. That is news which makes us want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s news to share with everyone we meet. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
Yours in Christ,
Our service tomorrow will be live-streamed at 8 a.m. on YouTube and later uploaded to Ustream. Click here for directions to finding the service online.
Good news on in-person services: The county-wide restrictions on public gatherings are set to expire on May 21. The Bd. of Elders is working on guidelines for safe in-person worship next Sunday, May 24. More information will be emailed next week.