“The Free Gift of God”
Pastor Robin Collins, Trinity Lutheran Church, Staples.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23 ESV
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. -1 Thessalonians 4:14
February 28 - I received word this morning that a longtime member of Trinity congregation had died during the night. His death was not unexpected. But for me it serves as a reminder of why Christians celebrate both Lent and Easter.
Lent is traditionally a dark period in the Church calendar. During this time we reflect upon the darkness of our sin; it’s impact on our own lives and the lives of those around us. But the real focus is upon our Lord Jesus Christ. it is upon His saving work - His incarnation; His tempting by the devil and His not falling to the devil’s schemes; His obedience to God’s Law and to the Father’s will that took Him to the cross; and of course His suffering and death, offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin, to bear God’s judgment that sin - yours and mine - deserved.
My church member died because he was a sinner. The same will one day be true for you and me. It’s what we deserve, what we’ve earned; death and condemnation. But because of Christ, because of His sinless life, His suffering, death and resurrection; through faith in Him it is not what we will receive. By God’s grace we are given the gift of eternal life - because of Jesus. Even though we will one day die, we have the promise that because Jesus died and rose again, we too will be raised up to live eternally with the Lord. My Church member believed this promise.
Sin and death - resurrection and life; Lent and Easter; God’s free gift in Jesus Christ.
To the glory of God. Amen.