A few weeks back, as we were beginning the Lenten season, Pastor Leithart reminded us that Lent is normal Christian life. At different times of the year we focus on different things, but we focus on different things which should all be normal Christian living. The themes of Advent, Epiphany, and Trinity season are always true all the time, but we plan to consider those themes annually.
One of the ways of thinking about Lent is as a countdown to Easter. During Advent many of us do Advent calendars and wreathes, recounting the story of salvation leading up to the birth of Jesus as Christmas. At Lent, we are specifically focusing on the faithfulness and obedience of Jesus even to the point of death on the cross for us and for our salvation. But Jesus laid His life down specifically with the full intention of taking back up again on the third day. We are counting down to Easter, counting down to Resurrection.
But this is true all the time. Everyone of us will soon meet our Maker. We hope and pray for long lives of faithfulness, but we do not know the day or the hour when our Master will summon us to appear before Him. And all men must appear before Him sooner or later. There are no other options. Jesus is not optional. And on the great last Easter, all men will be raised from their graves, God’s beloved children will be raised to glory, and those who do not know Him will be raised to eternal judgment. And there will be no lies on that Last Day. All will be laid bare before Him. Nothing will be hidden.
You will have no excuses. No explanations. No spin. No arguments. No complaints. No boasting. No pride. Because when you stand before Jesus, you will stand before pure and undefiled goodness. But if that will be the case then, it’s actually the case right now. Jesus sees through your false smiles. He sees through your lies, your excuses. He sees your hypocrisy in how you talk to your wife at home, how you speak to your children, how you bad mouth your boss, how you criticize your husband, what you’re thinking about. He sees how you try to hide from Him.
But when you stop hiding, and you come out into the light and cry out for mercy. There is abundant mercy. There is no shortage of grace. In fact, Jesus pleads for you. And when Jesus pleads for you, He takes away the shame, He takes away the guilt, He takes away the judgment and wrath. He is the only excuse, the only explanation, the only argument. He is our only boast. There is only Jesus: nothing but the blood of Jesus.