Dear church,

I have been misplacing things lately – water bottles, coffee cups, car keys, a hat, a cell phone, shoes, tools. I will set something down and, in my haste and inattention, I forget where I set it. And then I go on a hunt through the house – a lost man looking for lost items. Some of you know what I’m talking about!

The “experts” – which I define basically as anyone in the generation older than me – tell me this is just a sign of growing older. Forgetfulness comes with the territory. At one point our minds were sharp. We could recall things well. We were attentive most of the time. We noticed small things. We could process more information coming into our brains in a shorter period of time.

And when we get older, things slow down. Our bodies break down.

This is part of life in a sin-stricken world. This is a world of deterioration. Things here don’t live forever. As Christians, we know this is the case because of sin – because God’s created ones – the ones made in his image – have opted to live apart from his way, have opted to live in a way they weren’t designed to live.

And things break down as a result. And there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just a simple fact of life.

But Paul told the folks at Antioch in Pisidia that God had made a way out: “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

The word “freed” could also be translated as “justified.” To be justified means to be declared innocent and righteous in the face of allegations to the contrary. In a courtroom, we may be accused of acts of wrongdoing. But we are justified when those accusations are proven to be false. We are justified.

Of course, as humans in God’s courtroom, we are guilty every time – but for the work of Christ on the cross and resurrection. Paul said Jesus “did not see corruption.” There’s kind of a double meaning here – both that he did not sin and that his dead body didn’t waste away in a grave. He arose.

And through his death on the cross and resurrection, we have forgiveness of sins and justification before God.


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