I Don’t Deserve It

Bible Readings for the day: Psalm 89:9-13, Romans 9:1-21, Hosea 11:12-14:9
Meditational Reading: Romans 9:10-12
Pastor's Ponderings Illustration10  And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
11  though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—
12  she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

In the past number of years I’ve heard more than one Congressional Medal of Honor recipient say, “I don’t deserve this.  This should go to the guys who didn’t make it back.”  The Congressional Medal of Honor is America’s highest award for valor in combat.  CMHs are not given out willy-nilly.  You really have had to do something “above and beyond the call of duty” to receive one.  But more than one Medal of Honor recipient has pointed out that other people deserve the medal more than they.  Is it false humility?  Is it a recognition that other people contributed to that person’s heroic effort?  I know one thing:  In 1975, I left the U.S. Army and I received the Army Commendation Medal.  When I received it, I really thought that I earned that medal.  No one else earned it; no one else contributed to the effort; I earned it and I earned it on my own.

My attitude is all the more striking when it comes to my faith in Jesus as my God and Savior.  When standing in the presence of a holy God, knowing that I am totally accepted by him, I humbly confess, “I don’t deserve this.  Someone else deserves the credit.”  This fact is forcefully brought home in today’s meditational reading.  In the overall New Testament reading for the day, Paul goes back into the Old Testament and sees God at work, choosing whom he wills to be saved and brought into a saving relationship with himself.

This fact is humbling.  It’s especially humbling in light of the meditational verse!  God chose Jacob/Israel, the younger of twins, to receive the blessing and, through whom, the promised Messiah and Savior would come.  Throughout the history of the Christian faith, people have debated why God chose Jacob over Esau.  The argument usually comes down to some sort of precognition on God’s part.  He chose Jacob because he knew Esau would be the bad choice.  Well folks, read Genesis again!  Jacob wasn’t any bargain either!

But Paul makes the point that God chose Jacob before the twins were born!  He chose Jacob before either brother could do anything wrong or anything right to deserve the treatment they received.  Why did God choose Jacob?  I’m not going to get into a philosophical/theological debate/discussion.  Paul makes the point clear:  Before either brother deserved God’s decision, God already made that decision!  And he made that decision solely based on his grace, his unearned love poured out for us in Jesus our Savior (who was to come in Jacob’s case)!

This is truly a humbling situation (for me).  I know one thing:  I am a sinner.  I do not deserve to be called God’s child.  But solely out of his grace, God called me into a personal relationship with himself through his Son, my Savior.  And, wonder of wonders, God keeps me in that relationship in spite of my (many) sins!  “I don’t deserve this.”  That is the truth!  That is the case!  But God’s love is greater than my sin.  God’s forgiveness is greater than my sin.  God has done what I cannot do!  In the person of Jesus, he took my sins (all of my sins) upon himself and paid their price in full (on the cross).  I am the recipient of something I don’t deserve.  I am the recipient of eternal life with God!  I don’t deserve it; I didn’t earn it; I didn’t do anything to contribute to it!

The beauty of today’s meditational verse is that brings me back to reality.  I am in a right relationship with God solely because of his work on my behalf.  I am humbled because I did nothing and God did it all, did all for me in Jesus my Savior!

A prayer:  Thank you Jesus!  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at https://gslcsuffield.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/sermon-archive-2010-2011/

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  http://www.gslcsuffield.com  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

If you liked this post in any way, please think about sharing it on your social media sites.  This is an effective way to evangelize on the internet.  You can also friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.kerner

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