11 Feb Renewed in Christ
I remember, when I was a chemistry student, one of the principles we were taught was in a closed system (like the world we live in), if left alone, things will always go from order to disorder unless outside energy is put into it. We see this in action, don’t we, when we look at an aging church building, the school grounds, the car we drive, or our bed- rooms and kitchens; they will not fix or clean themselves up unless someone spends some energy and resources to bring them back to a “like new” or “improved” condition. It doesn’t happen “automatically” and often more energy is required than one or two people can offer, regardless of their kind intentions.
You know this is how it is with us when it comes to faith and the gospel. When we were born, we were already broken down as we inherited Adam’s sinful nature. We were born faithless people going from bad to worse. That’s the hard truth. We see it in the world around us, but we don’t like to admit it about ourselves, do we? But God, in His mercy knowing we could not fix ourselves, sent His Son Jesus to renew us, literally to make us new, through His life, death, and resurrection. This is the heart of Christianity – God recreates us through the outside power of the Gospel to make us new creatures in Christ. This is the Christian hope as well, that we wait with confidence and certainty that God will complete this new work he has begun in us when our Lord Jesus returns to bring us home with new bodies into the new heaven and earth.
In the meantime, God renews us and keeps us going, if you will, through the renewing and strengthening of our faith through his outside gifts of grace. This is why God established His church; this is why He calls us to gather together on the Lord’s Day, this is why we get up out of bed and come to church on Sunday. Our faith, like a building, car, or yard, needs to be cared for, and built up; otherwise, like everything else, it will go from strength to weakness from order to disorder, from growth to dying out.
Faith is given, fed, strengthened and sustained through the power of God’s word that comes from outside of us and is delivered to us in Christian Worship – through the Word of forgiveness declared to you, through the biblical words of the liturgy, through the faithful songs we sing, through the Christ-centered preaching of the Word, through bread and wine, and the water of baptism – all these gifts for you – to feed, strengthen, and keep you until the Day of Christ.
This puts a different perspective on coming to church, doesn’t it? We don’t come to do maintenance on ourselves, but we come needing someone outside of us to do the work of renewal and restoration. God meets us in Divine Worship, and he does just that. His Word of Gospel breaks into our lives once again to renew and restore us in Christ. May God continue to make Prince of Peace such a place for you.
-Pastor Darrin Sheek