Sunday, March 26, 2017
While We Were Still Sinners
This week in our catechism lesson, Sam and I discussed organ transplant as it relates to Romans 5.
Bear with me as I share a story.
Ten years ago, my dear sweet sister-in-law Jan woke up in the night with a terrible headache and collapsed. Doctors told my brother David that she had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Jan was there physically, but in every other respect, she was gone. They kept her alive with machines until my brother could make the heart-rending decision to end life support and donate his precious wife's organs for transplant.
Jan's death was a devastating blow to her family and friends. We take comfort in the fact that a part of Jan lives on in someone somewhere who may have found benefit in her corneas, her lungs, her kidneys, her liver, or perhaps her sweet heart.
Here's the thing you may not realize about organ transplants. Doctors will not give them to an unworthy patient. So, for example, if a smoker needs new lungs, they will not get a transplant if they are still addicted to smoking. And if an alcoholic needs a new liver, doctors will not give them a healthy one if they plan on drinking and ruining that liver, too.
It makes perfect sense.
But here's what doesn't make sense.
We, too, have a sickness that we cannot cure on our own. We have this disease of sin, passed down to us at birth. We are in desperate need of a cure. There is only one cure, and it comes from Jesus' holy and precious blood, which he shed for us.
We really want to be worthy of that transplant. And so we tell ourselves that we will "Be good, Do good" as the bumper stickers and t-shirts will shout.
And God tells us "No." You are not good. And because you are not good, you cannot possibly do good. And therefore, you cannot earn it.
"But God, we will die without it!" we cry out.
"Yes, you will," His Word tells us.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
We want to work it off. We want to earn it. But you see, God doesn't want indentured servants who are working it off. God, like the father of the Prodigal, wants sons and daughters. The Father's love, freely poured out through Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of our sins. Our cure. Not through our good works or our decisions or our attempts at being a good person, but only through the good work done at the cross.
It doesn't make sense. Praise God for that!
Grace and peace to you, cafe friends!