Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Simil Justus Et Peccator"- Ephesians 4:1-16

The great reformer of the church, Dr. Martin Luther, had a pithy way with words. In the Latin language he once stated that Christians are at one time both sinner and saint “simul justus et peccator.” From today’s reading, I believe St. Paul would have agreed.

What they both were saying wasn’t that Christ’s followers are perfect, sinless human beings but that they are being perfected in the person and work of Jesus Christ. That is, they are still sinners who need a Savior. They are saints who have a Savior. “Simul justus et peccator.”

First of all, we sinners stand convicted of sin in thought, word, and deed – because we are not only guilty of sin from birth, we daily do things contrary to God’s Law. We worship the false gods of this life and world and make things and do things forbidden by God. God’s Law condemns all such sinners to everlasting death in hell. We are not and can never free ourselves of this curse or become good enough to merit God’s acceptance into heaven.

Secondly– we are saints who are made holy by the washing of water and the Word of God in Holy Baptism and who believe in God’s sure promise that whoever believe in Jesus Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life.

So, while we struggle with sin, we find comfort in Christ Jesus! “Simul justus et peccator.” This is “the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”

"How Often?"- Psalm 145:10-21

I wonder how often we have used the underlined verses of this Psalm at church dinners to begin a meal. I really don’t know, but I suspect that it is often. I also wonder how often we have really considered the importance of these words -- how they reflect our total dependence upon God for all good things. I wonder how often we just give lip service to the prayer and to God. Sometime our answer might be different. Often, we tend to take God and His care and providence pretty much for granted – at least until we need or want something.

This is, sadly, one reminder of our sinfulness. We not only do things contrary to God’s will, we often act as though it makes no real difference. We take God and His care for granted. We just expect that there will be food on the table, a roof over our heads at night, police protection, clement weather, and so on. So, verses 14 and 15 could become an empty mockery of God and His on-going care and providence.

But they are not empty. They are no mockery. They are fact! Look at the world, and you can see God’s bounty and grace in every corner. There is food enough (if people will share). There is water to drink if people will care for the precious resource that it is. There is peace and plenty – but there is still sin, and therein lies the rub.

Sin still rots the world and ruins lives. We often see it in others and sometimes see it in ourselves. This world is still in need of God’s gracious care in Christ Jesus. It remains for God’s people to acknowledge God’s continuing care by sharing the Good News of Jesus wherever possible; and to share the material blessings of this life with others, by caring for these blessings, and by giving credit where credit is due! So, with thankfulness and joy in our hearts we can join our pastors and say:

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”