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Sunday, October 28, 2018
Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 3:19–26
Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. (NRSV)
On our recent choir trip to South Africa a group from Fourth Church visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. In that museum there was one wall recounting the laws by which the apartheid movement gradually took hold of people’s lives. Hundreds of laws were listed on this wall and the date in which they took effect. The forced segregation of people of different skin color did not happen in one instant but over the course of many years, one law, one day at a time, until in the end came the horrific result of the complete separation of people, even within the same family.
Laws are certainly useful and necessary, but after visiting South Africa and learning about the effects of apartheid that are still so prevalent in that country, it is more difficult to read the verse from Romans 3:19: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” Laws created by man can be used for good or evil; they can bring justice or create injustice. Thankfully, the scripture passage continues and reminds us that God’s love for each and every one of us goes beyond just following the law. Through our faith and trust in God we are loved beyond the understanding of any law. God’s eternal love is for everyone, even when we fall short, even when we break a law. Here is the good news proclaimed throughout the Bible: the greatest law of all is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Eternal God, I thank you for surrounding me with your tender love that goes with me through all the days of my life and continues to hold me even beyond this life. Amen.
Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music
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