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A word from the Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz on Good Friday

“Religious Liberty, Bearing the Cross . . . Always to Share the Cross for others!”

For Christians around the world, it’s “Good” Friday today. I know that it sounds strange to say that the day when Jesus died on the cross is “good,” but it is. The real, lasting solution to the problems in every human heart, even the very problems of the whole world, needed the sinless Son of God, Jesus, to exchange His perfect life and His innocent death as a substitute for our sinful life. In His death and resurrection, eternal justice is served, enduring mercy is offered, and real, eternal life is possible again for us, for all. The God who created us is the only one who can also redeem us

 

On that all-encompassing, first Good Friday, isn’t it ironic then to hear one of the power brokers of that day, Pontus Pilate, snarl at Jesus, “Don’t you know that your life is in my hands?” It always amazes me, the bravado of political leaders who claim such “god-like” authority and power, failing to realize their massive limitations to the contrary. Good Friday reminds us that all human efforts, even the best government programs then or now, can’t change hearts, forgive sins, or grant lasting, abundant life. “Politics,” even at its best, won’t save us. Technology won’t save us. Economics won’t save us. Science won’t save us. The God man Jesus, on the cross, did.

So, today, in the shadow of the cross where the Son of God gives up His life so that we might live, let this be a day where you and I seek to get right with God above all things. Let this day of repentance and reflection break and direct our hearts back towards God, yearning and pleading for His mercy. We do that for ourselves and for our nation too. In fact, while today is a day of personal repentance, remember, too, that it is a day of proclamation to the culture in which we live. Let us know ourselves and be known as the people of the cross. And let us be known for Christ’s cross and resurrection no matter the consequence.

Unfortunately, the bravado of politicians continues. Remember the grilling of Amy Coney Barrett in her confirmation hearings for her seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit?[1] One senator, among others, implied that a serious Christian could not be a good public servant because the message of Jesus as the world’s savior is too controversial. You can almost hear Pilate anew, right? Fear not, whether our First Amendment freedoms to share the message of the cross without fear are sure, or whether those freedoms will be undermined or even lost, God, through His people will find a way to get His saving message out for all to hear. In spite of political arrogance then or now, in spite of humanity’s unfaithfulness, God accomplished His saving work for all on the cross. Remember the Good News: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

So, today, as we reflect on the events of Good Friday, let’s be thankful for the gift of faith in Jesus our Savior that trusts in Him alone for all things. And, as we engage our culture, as we serve our nation, let us always be mindful of the reason that we do all that we do. If we fight for our religious liberty, it is so that we can serve others in Christ’s name and share His message of grace. If those First Amendment battles are lost in the days to come, we pray for even greater courage to boldly share God’s Good News so that people might know of Jesus. Good Friday will always be Good Friday because it’s God’s work for all. Religious liberty or bear the cross: it’s always to share the message of the cross for all. A blessed Good Friday to you always.

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.   

Be Informed

If you haven’t taken a moment day to pray for our nation, please join us. A prayer for our nation can be found here.

 Be Equipped

Looking for ways to emphasize the sanctity of human life in your daily devotions, Bible studies at church, and elsewhere?” LCMS Life Ministries has a resource just for you. Click here to learn more about it!

 Be Encouraged

“God gives life its value both in creating it and in redeeming it by Christ’s blood.” – Rev. Sean Daenzer, director of Worship, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

 [1]See the Washington Post OpEd, 2017 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/senate-democrats-show-off-their-anti-religious-bigotry/2017/09/14/30f11e5e-9970-11e7-82e4-f1076f6d6152_story.html?utm_term=.ea082d116997

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