Devotional Thought of the Day:
But there is one thing, my dear friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. 10 The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up. 11 Since everything is coming to an end like this, what holy and saintly lives you should be living 12 while you wait for the Day of God to come, and try to hasten its coming: on that Day the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. 13 What we are waiting for, relying on his promises, is the new heavens and new earth, where uprightness will be at home. 2 Peter 3:8-13 (NJB)
You have asked me for a word of hope: what I have to offer you has a name: Jesus Christ.
64 For a terrified conscience cannot pit our works or our love against the wrath of God, but it finds peace only when it takes hold of Christ, the mediator, and believes the promises given for his sake. Those who dream that the heart can find peace without faith in Christ do not understand what the forgiveness of sins is nor how it comes to us.
65 Peter (1 Pet. 2:6) quotes the words from Isaiah (28:16), “He who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Hypocrites therefore must be put to shame, for they trust in their own works and not in Christ to receive the forgiveness of sins. Peter also says in Acts 10:43, “To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (1)
I’ve seen a lot of people looking for hope recently, for something to believe, something to trust in that will make a difference. Some are looking for it from this candidate, others from that candidate. One man is pushing a translation of the Bible as his hope, that nothing else matters but knowing it is the true Bible. Another is pushing for the return to a morality that he was taught in his youth. Some look for hope to a bottle, or a pill, or some kind of love or pleasure. One church leader is even spouting off that the hope for the church is that church people need to have more children!
Such looking is what the quote in blue is talking about when it uses the term “terrified conscience”, or to use something more common to us today, being paralyzed by anxiety. Whether we admit to knowing about the wrath our actions earn, we know they aren’t right. They don’t satisfy; they cause us to live in emptiness, even if we can quiet the guilt and shame we feel. And the places we look for hope, or at least an escape from anxiety, require more and more of our focus, more and more of our dedication. Theses things, which a theologian would call an idol, a false god, enslave us.
We need to cast them off, to realize how much of a dead end they are. To toss them aside, realizing they are hindrances. The Lutheran Confessions are right when they call for the humbling of those trusting in their idols, depending on what they run to to relieve anxiety. Being relieved of the falsehood of our idolatry is never easy, sacred cows don’t want to be ground up into hamburger. (Note: I am serious here because I do believe there is a demonic influence that would make such attachments and addictions painful to remove)
But that is what repentance is, the literal change of our mind/heart/soul. It is God freeing us from such idolatry, it is God entering into our life and doing what we cannot do, as Christ our mediator brings us to repentance; He brings us into a relationship where His righteousness and holiness is our identity, as our sins are removed from us. That doesn’t make life easier now, for being righteous and holy are contrary to the world as we perceive it.
But there will be a day where our righteousness will be at home when we can see God face to face, as forgiven, holy people who belong in His presence.
This all because of Jesus, and His coming to us, living in us, dying for us, rising from the grave, ascending into heaven, where He intercedes for us now…..as the Father is patient with us.
This is why the Pope points to Jesus as our hope.
This is why Lutherans talks about trusting, about having faith in Jesus…
Lord, have mercy on us sinners and help us to know the hope we have in you.
(1) Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 191). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.