Elder's Prayer - April 29, 2018
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
I read each night to my three sons. We read a variety of books. And among other things, we’ve been reading through a book of theology. We’re currently studying the theology of sin. In the book we’re reading, the moral law of God is described as a dinner plate with each facet of the law imprinted, pressed into that plate. If then any one part of God’s law is “broken”, the whole of God’s law, the entire plate is considered broken. And there is not one of us who don’t have a broken dinner plate! I have a broken dinner plate. Each of my sons has a broken dinner plate... In fact, the Bible specifically says, "No one has an unbroken dinner plate, no, not one..."
And Romans 3 goes on...
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested separately from the perfection of God’s unbroken dinner plate - the righteousness of God through faith - faith! - faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For all have a broken dinner plate and do not measure up to the beautiful, unbroken dinner plate of the glory of God. But we are justified, we are made perfect, we are given an unbroken dinner plate by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus - he bought our broken dinner plate! - when God put Jesus forward as a bloody substitute, sacrificed and violently killed for us. And he is to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness…
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded - eliminated by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of trying to live up to God’s perfection.
Holy Father, your word reveals to us that any sin we commit breaks your whole law. And yet, union with you and being in the presence of your holiness demands that we be as perfect as you are perfect. But as sinful people, we cannot be near you unless we have our sins removed. No more capable of touching the sun are we capable of existing in your realm.
We cannot rid ourselves of our sin on our own. Even the law which shows us our sin cannot change us. It cannot take away our sin. It is imperative that we are rescued by a Savior who can and did keep the law, and who did save us from the death and judgment that are the consequences for sin. We need Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus, the perfect atonement for our sin, the perfect and satisfying Way made for our sins to be covered.
But the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, on the cross did more than merely cover our sins. His perfect atonement takes away our sins. Not just covering up the mess in our lives, his atonement restores order to the mess in our lives. The atonement His death provides is regenerating - it gives us new life!
What a loving and gracious Father you are. And as we continue to worship you today in song, in giving, in prayer, and in preaching, let us approach one another with humility, living our lives in holy gracious reverence of the One who demands perfection, and the one who bought our perfection through the unfathomable sacrifice of his own perfect Son.
Father, we thank you. And it is in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.