June 14, 2020: 1st Sunday after Trinity

Dear Lord Christ, it’s hard for us to make any sense of the chaos of our modern world.  That’s why we need You!  Only Your love and forgiveness can lift us up instead of tearing us down.  Only Your forgiveness can give us serenity of spirit and calmness of soul.  Today pour out both via Your saving Gospel.  Amen


TEXT:  Romans 3: 21-25a, 27-28

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          God gave us humans a brain.  And He expects us to use it.  Hopefully this little homily will help that process.  Most people yawn and totally tune out when they hear the word: theology.  Amid a world in total chaos, theology seems worthless.  However, God’s word is the only thing that breeds understanding and gives peace.  It answers all the issues facing human beings in every age and time.

          First, how to people tick?  What are the primary drivers behind the people who comprise  every society?  Well, apart from Christianity, natural man has three basic instincts: The need for power, the need for money, and the need for sex.  Certainly these overlap with subcategories.  Power often means security for people.  Money often means added power.  And sex is often intertwined with both.  The current mobs want power.  Many use it to satiate their need for sex.  And if the looters cannot gain “stuff” without money, they simply substitute and steal what money buys.  Most crimes throughout history can be traced to: money, power, and sex.  Wars are fought over them.  People are destroyed by them. 

          So, why do people have these drivers and how do they relate to theology?  Simple.  When humans fell into sin they lost the image of God and basic goodness.  Put in the vernacular: they got down and dirty.  So, God had to give His people the 10 commandments to show us how to get clean.  However, sinners cannot wash away all their dirt.  We can clean up the outside but not the inside.  And God demands total cleanliness.  So, aside from those who don’t care about being clean at all and who revel in being dirty, many folks try to clean up their act by limiting their sexual nature, by trying not to let money define them, and by trying to avoid open displays of raw power over others.  Since we all have a conscience, with the exception of sociopaths who have destroyed their conscience, people are faintly concerned over what happens when they die and God holds them accountable.  Thus, most try to be “good people” and not let money, power and sex totally define their lives.  This is America today.  This is the world today.  This was Rome at the time of Paul.  This is the vast majority inhabiting planet earth.  This is also why human beings always seem to repeat their past mistakes and self-destruct.

          Eventually we humans reach the point where we long for something better than mere money, power, or sex.  Eventually it all rings a little hollow.  So we begin asking ourselves: If there is a God, what is He all about and does He have a better way for us to live?  So, we naturally turn to the common wisdom of the sin-tainted heart and conclude: “God must be like me and I am drawn to what is termed: “goodness,” so I’ll try to follow the 10 commandments.”  But mere trying doesn’t eradicate the need for: power, money, and  sex.  Outwardly obeying God’s commandments builds our ego, but it doesn’t cleanse our heart.  Hence, God’s Law does  not and cannot save you and give you peace of soul.

          This is where the core of theology: Jesus Christ and His salvation, come into the mix.  “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law (OT) and the Prophets testify. This righteousness (rightness with God) comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

          Grace is God’s undeserved love.  We cannot do something, anything, to earn it.  We cannot achieve it by hard work, holiness  of living, or even by willing it into our souls.  Remember, we’re all still tainted by those drivers of: power, money, and sex.  We can tamp them down on our own but we cannot tamp them out.  Even great Christians like King David struggled with all three throughout their lives.  Grace is a gift, not a reward.  Grace means humbling yourself totally before the Lord and then gladly receiving His gift with a humble heart.  Even faith isn’t something we can do on our own to grab grace.  No, it is a free gift that can only be received—but never forget, it can also be discarded, too.  And sadly, we’ve all known people who did just that….

          Grace is a revolutionary concept.  It is a revolutionary truth.  It is totally beyond natural man’s inclinations.  So, “Where then is boasting? It is excluded.  On what principal? On that of observing the law?  No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”

          Theology totally explains why humans act the way they do.  It explains the inner workings to our hearts.  It lays out true dirtiness for all to see. It reveals the inner mental and emotional gymnastics we perform in our brains in order to live with ourselves.  But most importantly, it also gives us a God-wrought answer and a solution to our sinfulness.  It gives us God’s grace in Jesus Christ, Love incarnate, Who came to “seek and save the lost.”  For never forget: it is only when you’re right with God that true, lasting, inner peace will come.  Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox    

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