First Third Conversations

"Simul justus et peccator"

roseA blog post by Jordan Gades

Image Credit: Luther Rose by Lars Hammar on Flickr

Simul iustus et peccator -- a few thoughts on an amazing Lutheran idea.

As I have been traveling along my journey through this season of Lent, I find myself thinking often of what it means for me to be a sinner in today's world. These thoughts and reflections are anything but new, and the tradition of preparation for Easter goes back to the earlier church.

And yet here I am and here we all are pondering these same things as so many others have. I am a sinner, I am surrounded by sinners, the church is made up of sinners, and we gather together and are called the body of Christ.

I cannot find a more apt name. A body broken and yet made whole and perfect through the power and grace of God. We are sinners and yet we are more than that at the same time. We know that and our youth know that implicitly as well. They can see that there is an absence of logic to how our world seemingly works.

In five minutes it’ possible to see the good fail and evil succeed. Planes disappear out of the sky and mudslides cover a town; this is the reality in which we live. There is an implicit knowledge of sin and brokenness in us all. We are trying desperately from within and without to try and make this world a different place.

And how far have we gotten? Either as an individual or as a society? But this is where our God comes in. We are renewed and made whole through the freely given grace of Jesus' death and resurrection. We are something new; we are humans made whole through Christ, human beings that are in a continual relationship with a God who is continually renewing us. It is in God's light and power that we are named Saints, in that we are holy beings called and sent into this world to love one another.

How can we live out this knowledge? It is God that is renewing the world, God that is active in the changes that we so desperately want and need. God that is changing us from sinners to saints. And then God that is acting with, through, and by those saints.

I can't help and see how deeply this strikes out at the invasive message of moralistic therapeutic deism. Me being nice is not the same as me working with God to actively love and care for this world. Me being a good person does not erase my knowledge of my own short coming and my own sins.

As Lutherans, we acknowledge and hold up that we are at the same time the sinner in need of hope, forgiveness, and love, and the saint who is hopeful, forgiven, and loving to all.

There is so much more to being a Christian then what is being portrayed and seen as the norm. We are doing a disservice to ourselves and to Christianity by not showing the depth and authenticity a Christian faith can have. Now is the time for us to start challenging ourselves and our congregations to live out and show the depth and breadth of our own beliefs.

Author Bio:
Hi, my name is Jordan Gades. I am a middler at Luther Seminary. I am married to my amazing wife Samarah. We have a Great Dane, Strider, a orange tabby, Pumpkin, and we are all very excited to be joined very soon by a little baby girl, due May 16th. I enjoy camping, canoeing, kayaking, generally being outside, and lots of other things. I am currently a chaplain intern at Fairview Southdale Hospital.

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