Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
We are often reminded that salvation is by grace through faith. How are Christians judged by God? In light of Christ’s righteousness. However, our Epistle for this week, 1 Peter 1:17-25, speaks of God judging each person according to his own deeds. It is impartial judgment. Yet it is according to the Christians’ actions. How do we reconcile this with thei dea of salvation by grace through faith?
Very simply, if the Christian is ransomed from sin and death by the death of Christ, when God makes judgment it is based on the character of Christ the redeemer. We are judged by our deeds when God considers whether we are living consistently as those who have been rescued by Christ. Yes, we are obligated by his mercy to do the kind of good deeds he would do. That isn’t in question. But we have been redeemed from sin and death. We are free to engage in the works of life.
Do Christians still sin and fail to live the live God has appointed for them? We certainly do. But we realize that our ransom has been paid. Our life is ideally to be taken up in doing the works of Jesus. When we fail we are moved to repentance and forgiveness. When we do well, truth be told, we become proud of ourselves and are moved to repentance and forgiveness. In all this, God, the impartial judge, looks at his children as children who need to be led into the right paths. He nurtures us through Word and Sacrament so we gradually grow into the Christian faith.
As Peter observes toward the end of the passage, our flesh is withering like grass. It will perish. Its deeds will not last either. But God’s word of mercy and grace endures forever. This is our great hope.
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