Wednesday, June 13, 2012
That is SO not Lutheran!
My 8 year-old daughter recently stomped into the kitchen to let me know that she read something in one of her fiction books that offended her Lutheran sensibilities. She had been reading one of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and informed me that the mother in the book said to another character, "Why should you love Ramona all the time?" My daughter's response was, "That is SO not Lutheran! What religion is that?" I answered, "The religion of self." My daughter's point is that God's law is God's law. In confessional Lutheranism, we do not dumb it down, or say that it's okay that we don't measure up because God loves us anyway. God does expect us to obey the Law perfectly. Before you write me off as a legalistic fanatic, let me assure you that is not the case. I will never measure up, and neither will you, or anyone else that ever has lived or ever will, except Jesus Christ. Thankfully, His righteousness is my righteousness, since He purchased my salvation on the cross and imparted it to me in my Baptism. That is the Good News, the Gospel. God's Law destroys any hope of self-sufficiency and kills us (2 Corinthians 3:4-6). Then we know our desperate need for the Gospel, which God is more than willing to impart to us by His Word and Sacraments. So, yes, you do have to love that annoying (or perhaps awful) person in your life (whatever that might look like in your situation), and by all means, as a Christian, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive to do so. But never stop repenting daily, and believing that His obedience is credited to you. That is how, in a person's life, "it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God" (John 3:21).