Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost


Last week we heard Jesus ask, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). As we consider Jesus’ question, it might be easy to assume that any decrease in faith we observe in the world corresponds with an increase in secularism and disdain for God’s Word. That type of unbelief certainly can be observed in our world. However, today we see there is another type of unbelief, a type that looks upright and moral. The absence of the faith Jesus seeks isn’t always complete and total rejection of God or the Bible or even Jesus. It is possible for someone to have respect for Scripture and Christ, yet ultimately trust in his own goodness when it comes to his relationship with God. It is natural for us to want to believe that our relationship with God revolves around our obedience to his commands. We desperately desire to believe that, if we just apply the right spiritual advice and effort, we can earn God’s approval and eternal inheritance. This, too, is unbelief, just as much as paganism or secularism. This week Jesus uses God’s law for its chief purpose: to expose sin and crush our natural pride. In Christ’s hands God’s law is a powerful tool used to shape in us the faith he seeks—one totally dependent on God to do what only he can do.


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