Galatians 2:15-21

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.

But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. Galatians 2:15-21

Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

This is a serious question. And it is probably a question that you need to re-read a few times in order to hear what is really being asked of you. WHO do you see when you look in the mirror is a very different question than WHAT do you see when you look in the mirror.

Honestly, I seldom if ever ask the “who do I see” question. I look in the mirror and I see nothing but my physical flawed self. I see gray hair that never lays down the way I want it to. The big old belly that snuck up on me a few years ago. Teeth that aren’t as white as the commercials say they should be. I seldom look any deeper than the skin that is increasingly wrinkled and blotchy and sagging.

God, when I look in the mirror, invites me to see Jesus.

Not to see myself as savior but as saved. Not to see myself as sinner alone but as sinner forgiven and set free. Not to see myself as someone who struggles to be loving but to see only the One who loves me freely and fully and completely and eternally.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

Lutherans understand the “law” as both an instructive and protective curb on our behaviors and as a mirror that reflects back to us the reality of our lives. Luther taught that the law convicts us of sin and drives us to Christ. The trouble is, feeling convicted of sin, ashamed of our thoughts and behaviors, in touch with the brokenness of our lives, is easy. It is automatic. And it can be overwhelming.

But to be driven back to Christ? To hear the Gospel afresh in our ears? To be claimed anew by love, washed clean again by forgiveness, restored to a new place of hope? That is hard. It isn’t a mind game and it isn’t magic. It isn’t something we can do on our own but it is something that needs to happen to us if it is to happen at all.

For Christ to happen to us we need the Body of Christ. We need Jesus with skin. We need our neighbors. We need to see in the mirror not just ourselves but the Body of Christ standing with us and backing us up. We need to see the faces of those through whom God loves us. We need to let them love us.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we carry measuring sticks everywhere we go. We measure ourselves and others against standards that keep moving back. We can never catch up. The mirrors of this world accuse and condemn us. Give us just a glimpse today of the depth of your love for us and the power of your forgiveness. Just a glimpse is often all we need, just as a little candle’s light cannot be overwhelmed by the darkest of nights. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Galatians 2:15-21”

  1. Julia Cloninger-Halford Says:

    I’m going to keep on trying to see Christ in me until I am NOT!
    NOT as in “Either I AM or I AM NOT!”

  2. Phyllis Cox Says:

    Kerry, once again you have expressed exactly what I needed to hear! I thank you for your ministry! I started being one of the folks who expressed interest long ago when you had the walking/running and scripture books. I just started running last year at age 62 and I need to dig those books out. Maybe we should both do that! Peace to you and yours!

  3. Malys Says:

    Thank you, an amazing message, we are sitting vigil with my husband as he Dies with Dignity. This is so helpful as we prepare Him and ourselves for this journey of faith and hope. Your messages keep me going! Shalom!

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