Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Law of God requires you to love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. “Do this, and you will live.” Yet you cannot even make it to the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer without sinning, without your thoughts wandering. You are filled from your first waking moment with daydreams of power, wealth, and the pleasures of the flesh. How many times have you thought you could do a better job than your boss? How many times have you thought you could do a better job as President? How many times have you thought that you would use great wealth better than those who already have it?
Within the depths of your soul, ask yourself: Why don’t I love my neighbor as myself? Why don’t I daydream about my neighbor striking it rich? Why don’t I imagine my coworkers being promoted? Why not imagine President Trump being admired and respected and loved all over the world, receiving the adoration I imagine for myself? Your dreams center on yourself because you don’t love your neighbor like you love yourself. The Law is as simple as it is impossible, but we strive to complicate it. We look for loopholes, exceptions, and excuses. So vain are we that we think we’ve done better than most. We are not so bad as Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson or Adolf Hitler; we have only sinned out of weakness because of the great stress we are under. But in truth, the difference between sinners regarding the magnitude of our sins is insignificant to God. You might as well compare two ants running a race. That’s the difference of magnitude between your sins and those of Saddam Hussein, or between your good works and those of Mother Theresa.
Repent. You are a sinner. You have failed to meet the Law’s perfect standard. You have put yourself first. You are a sinner; you cannot earn heaven, and you do not deserve it. You should be condemned. You have been angry. You have called men “fool.” You have sinned. You have failed. And you have no complaint to make against the law for exposing your sin, because you know that the law itself is good and true. Lord, have mercy.
But there is a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. He kept the Law. He obeyed it perfectly. He carried the wood to Golgotha, just like Isaac. Jesus perfectly loved God; He perfectly loved His neighbors. He was obedient unto death. He paid the price for every last sin—for you and for every last man, woman, and child to ever live. Jesus was forsaken by His Father as the Sacrifice for sins that he did not commit. He did not complain, not even when they drove nails into his hands and feet. He loved with all His heart, with all His strength, with all His soul, with all His mind. He loved you, and He made you His neighbor, fulfilling the law for you. He took your place; He took your sins and guilt and shame into Himself, and He gave you His righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. He cleansed you with His Word, breathed his Spirit upon you, called you by His name. You are baptized into his death, and so you belong to Him and to His resurrection. You are free from sin, from damnation, from accusation, for Jesus has fulfilled the law for you. He has loved you with His whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. This is how He has fulfilled the law for you.
So believe in Jesus Christ. Be washed in His blood, named with His name, fed by His body and blood, covered with the peace only He can give. “Do this, and you will live.” For all that Jesus has done, He has done for you. You are His precious, beloved bride, made perfect by His forgiveness and mercy. In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.