Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Do we get what we deserve?

I reposted this graphic over on Facebook and was then contacted by a friend who asked about Galatians 6:7, where Paul writes: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

That business about a person reaping what they sow, my friend wondered, isn't that like karma?

Good question!

This is how I responded:
I think that Paul here is talking about unrepentant humanity. If we don't repent and trust in Christ, we stand defenseless against condemnation for our sins. In Romans 6:23, Paul writes: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord."

The law, God's commands, are real and holy and they reflect the will of God for human beings. But the law can't save us because we're incapable of keeping them in our own power.

The grace God gives to those who repent and believe in Jesus (Mark 1:15; Ephesians 2:8-10) trumps the condemnation of the law.

God's grace in Christ covers our sins and spares us the eternal consequence of them.

Luther pictures God standing before two groups of sinners at the judgment. One group stands naked in their sin. The other group, although sinners, are covered in Jesus and all that the Father sees in them is Jesus.

To unrepentantly sow sin without turning to Christ will cause people to reap judgment. But when we take Christ's outstretched hand of grace, we are set free. And Jesus says, "...if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)

I hope that this helps.
[I'm the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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