Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Trinity - 1 Tim 1:12-17


Trinity 3

                                                                                      1 Tim 1:12-17



          Around 33 A.D. you could not have found a person less likely to become a Christian than Saul of Tarsus.  Saul had been born in Tarsus which is a city on the Mediterranean Sea at the eastern end of Turkey.  Yet while he had been born there, he had been raised in Jerusalem.

          Saul was a Jew.  But Saul wasn’t just any Jew.  He was a Pharisee.  He was a part of the group in Judaism that was committed to a very strict keeping of the law.  The Pharisees had developed their own interpretation of the law called “the tradition of the elders.”  It described how the law was to be kept and at times it required actions that went over and above what the law actually stated.  The Pharisees has taken aspects of the law that were meant for priests, and had applied them to all Jews who wanted to be faithful.

          The Pharisees were a lay group.  However, among the Pharisees there were also those who had received training in the interpretation of Scripture and the Pharisees’ own understanding about how the law was to be kept.  Saul had been educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a famous Jewish teacher of that time.

          Saul was a Pharisee.  He was educated in the Scriptures and in the tradition of the elders.  And he was zealous.  Saul told the Galatians, “And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.”  Saul was a rising star in the Judaism of his day.  He combined a bright mind with zeal for what he believed.

          Saul’s zeal made him a man of action.  He told the Philippians, “as to zeal, a persecutor of the church.”  Saul lived at a time when a new group had appeared in Judaism. They were followers of Jesus of Nazareth.  This man had created a stir with his miracles and teaching.  The Pharisees had opposed him at every chance because he did not keep the tradition of the elders.  They said that he was able to work these miracles because he was in league with Satan.

          Jesus had eventually been arrested by the Jewish religious leaders during the time of the Passover.  They had persuaded the Roman governor - Pontius Pilate- to have Jesus crucified.  This scoundrel had met a fitting end as he died in the humiliation of the cross.

          That should have been the end of things.  But it wasn’t.  Jesus’ disciples began to say that God had raised Jesus from the dead on the third day.  They declared that Jesus was Lord.  They began to apply passages that talked about Yahweh the God of Israel to Jesus.  They said that he was the Messiah sent by God who fulfilled the promises of the prophets.  They worshipped Jesus and said that only through faith in him was there forgiveness before God. And they did this with a fervor that they said was caused by the knowledge that Jesus had risen from the dead.

          For Saul, this was an abomination.  Jesus had rejected the tradition of the elders.  He had been killed – he had been crucified – which proved that he was a false Messiah.  More than that, his death on a tree showed that he had been cursed by God.  And now the followers of Jesus were rejecting the law by saying that forgiveness was to be found in Jesus and not in the sacrifices offered at the temple.

          So Saul showed his zeal for the tradition of the elders by persecuting the church. He was confident in his own standing – that he was blameless with respect to righteousness under the law.  He was determined to destroy this threat.  He told the Galatians, “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.”

          Saul had carried out a persecution in Jerusalem.  But his zeal led him to do even more.  Acts tells us, “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”

          Saul made his way to Damascus to persecute the Church. But on that trip a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  The risen Lord confronted Saul, and in that encounter he called Saul to be an apostle.  Saul told the Galatians, how God had set apart him before he was born and called him by his grace. God had revealed his Son to Saul so that he could preach him to the Gentiles.

          Saul, or as we more commonly know him by his Roman name Paul, could never forget that he had persecuted Christ’s Church. He told the Corinthians, “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” But at the same time we learn in our text that Paul’s past made him recognize the mercy that God had shown to him. And the apostle saw in himself an example of how God has acted towards all people.

          Paul begins our text by saying, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.”  Christ had called Paul to be an apostle.  He had done so in spite of the fact that Paul had been a blasphemer and persecutor.

          Christ had given his mercy to Paul.  Paul says, “But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  Christ’s mercy had overlooked the ignorance of his unbelief.  Instead, his grace had abounded in ways that resulted in the faith and love that are in Christ.

          And so Paul says based on his own experience: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”  Paul declares that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  And he holds himself up as the chief example of this.  He adds, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

          In our text this morning we hear the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  He came to save us. This salvation could never occur on basis of what we do.  Our actions – our keeping of the law – only reveal the sin present in our life as we fail or do things for the wrong motives.

          Paul told the Galatians, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  The Son of God entered into our world as he became true man without ceasing to be God.  He came because it is God’s desire that all people be saved.

          In the next chapter Paul says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  This is a key fact that we must always keep in mind.  When we struggle with the question of why some believe and others don’t, we can never attribute those who are lost to the will of God.  God does not elect people to be damned.

          Instead, Paul explains God’s will to save by referring to what he has done.  He says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”  Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man because he is true God and true man at the same time.  He offered himself as the ransom by his death on the cross in order to free us from sin.  He did this for the sins of all people.

          Paul knew that Jesus had been crucified.  He thought the death of Jesus was proof that Jesus was a false Messiah.  But on the road to Damascus he was confronted by the risen and exalted Lord.  He learned that God had vindicated Jesus, and the cross had in fact been God’s powerful act of salvation.  Just as it had been for the Christians whom he had persecuted, so now the resurrection of Jesus became the source of joy and fervor as he worked to spread the Gospel.

In our text Paul states: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”  The apostle sets himself forth as the chief of sinners because he persecuted the church.  Yet in his statement we find the comfort of knowing that there is no sin that God does not forgive because of Jesus Christ.

The lie that the devil wants us to believe is that our sin is too bad to receive forgiveness.  He wants us to drown in shame and guilt.  He wants us to live trapped in the past when we committed that sin. 

But God gave his Son Jesus Christ as the ransom for us to provide forgiveness for every sin.  There is only one thing that is needed.  We repent – we confess our sin and believe in Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Lord. In confession and faith we have forgiveness. And God surrounds us with the means by which he gives that forgiveness to us.  He speaks it through the pastor in Holy Absolution.  He gives us the water of baptism by which our sins have been washed away.  He speaks the Gospel to us through his word.  And he gives us Christ’s true body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. He leaves no doubt that forgiveness has been delivered.

  The risen Lord Jesus confronted Paul on the road to Damascus.  He called the one who was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent, and made him into an apostle.  Paul turned his back on his entire former life.  He abandoned all the advantages that he had earned.  Instead, he took up a life of hardship in which he was persecuted as he suffered for Jesus Christ.

When Paul spoke about this to the Philippians he declared that he had no regrets.  He said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  We live with the same confidence because we know that the Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  We know that because of him we are the forgiven children of God who will share in his resurrection on the Last Day.   










Sunday, June 9, 2024

Sermon for the Second Sunday after Trinity - Lk 14:15-24


Trinity 2

                                                                                       Lk 14:15-24



          In Isaiah chapter twenty five the Lord says through the prophet, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.”  He goes on to say how he will swallow up death forever and wipe away tears from all faces.  Then we are told, “It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’”

          In this text, the final salvation provided by God is described as a feast. It became common in Judaism to describe God’s salvation as a meal.  Jesus said, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”  Meals were an occasion of joy and fellowship, and so it is not surprising that this became an image to describe God’s salvation.

          Our text begins by saying, “When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, ‘Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’”  The man was expressing the confidence that he would enjoy God’s salvation.

          We learn that he made this statement after he “heard these things.” This statement points us back to what has been happening thus far in the chapter.  We find that it has been a setting of tension in which Jesus has been challenging his opponents. 

The chapter begins by saying, “One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully.”  The Sabbath and meals have been settings in which Jesus has come into conflict with the Pharisees. So when Jesus has a meal with the Pharisees on the Sabbath, there are going to be problems.

Sure enough, first Jesus challenged the Pharisees about whether it was permitted to heal a man in their midst on the Sabbath.  Our Lord healed the man as the Pharisees were unable to provide an answer.  Then he critiqued those present for the way that were all seeking the best seat at the table as they sought to get as much honor as they could.  Jesus said, “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Next, Jesus critiqued the host who invited the guests.  He said the man should not invite his friends and people of influence who would be able to return the favor.  Instead, our Lord told him, But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

          In response to all this talk about meals, one of the guests said, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  He expressed the confidence that he and those who were gathered with him – the ones who were opposed to Jesus – would enjoy God’s salvation.

          So Jesus told a parable.  He spoke of how a man gave a great banquet and invited many people. When the banquet was ready he sent out his servant to say to the invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.”  However, those who had been invited all began to make excuses.  One said that he had bought a field, and needed to go see it.  Another said he had bought five yoke of oxen, and needed to go examine them.  Another said that he was getting married. They all said they needed to be excused.

          Now we need to recognize that this was not the first they had heard about the banquet. In the practice of that time, all had already been invited and had accepted.  What we hear about in our text was instead the announcement that the meal was ready and that it was time to come.

          We also need to understand that the excuses are obviously bogus.  No one purchased land without already having seen it.  No one made the investment of buying that many oxen without already examining the animals.  No one scheduled a wedding for a day when a great banquet was already planned.  Instead, all those who had been invited were flat out rejecting the host.

          The master was angered and so he said to his servant, “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”  He sent the servant out into the city to bring in all those who were undesirable in society. 

          The servant reported that this had been done, and that there was still room.  So the master said to the servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”  The master sent the servant outside the city to bring to bring in others to the banquet. And he announced that those who had originally been invited would never share in the meal.

          The man in our text says, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  However, he is part of the group that is rejecting Jesus, and so our Lord says that he and those like him will have no part in the feast of salvation.  The only way this is possible is through faith in Christ.

          The Pharisees reject Jesus.  You certainly aren’t like them.  But in the parable, our Lord also teaches us about threats to faith. While the three excuses that are made are just that, we also want to note the subject matter they involve. 

          The first man says he can’t come to the banquet because he has purchased some land. The second one says he can’t because he has purchased oxen.  Both men were saying that these possessions were more important than the host and his banquet. 

These words warn us about the role that wealth and possessions play in our life. These things compete with God.  They become a false god that chokes out faith as we become more focused on the things of the world than on the gift of God in Christ.  In explaining the parable of the sower Jesus said, “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

The third man said that he could not come because was getting married.  He placed a relationship ahead of the host and his banquet.  We learn from this that Jesus Christ must come before even our own family members. 

We cannot allow their unbelief to become something that draws us away from Christ as we seek to avoid tension, or as we simply fall into the same pattern of life in which they live.  Jesus says immediately after our text, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”  Jesus says that he must be the Lord of our life, and not even close family relationships can be allowed to challenge faith in him.

In the parable, those originally invited rejected the master and his banquet. So he told the servant, “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”  The master calls the helpless and unwanted to his banquet.  He brings in those who have no right or expectation to be there.

This is the good news of the Gospel, for that is what you were. In many ways, that is what you still are.  You were sinners who were cut off from God. You were alienated and hostile to him.  And you continue to be people who struggle with the presence of the old Adam in you.  You do not love God above all things.  You do not love your neighbor as yourself.

Yet Jesus Christ is the One telling the parable because this is the case. He is the Son of God in our world – conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  And he is on his way to Jerusalem.  Earlier in the Gospel Luke tells us, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die on the cross.  He will say at the Last Supper, “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”  Jesus goes as the suffering Servant who offers himself as the sacrifice for your sin.

Jesus died in the suffering and humiliation of the cross.  But on the third day God raised him from the dead.  Because of Jesus we now have forgiveness and life.  God has given us both of these in Holy Baptism. You have received one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and so your sins have been washed away.  Through faith in what God did through baptism, you know that you continue to stand forgiven before God.

And through the water of baptism the Holy Spirit gave you new life.  Paul says that in baptism we have received “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  This work of the Spirit is the source that enables us to live the life of faith as we deal with possessions and family.

As we live in Christ, our possessions and wealth are not something that threaten faith.  Instead, they become the means by which faith acts. We use the blessings God has given us in order to support the work of the Gospel in this congregation through our offering.  We use them to support the work for Christ’s kingdom, such as in helping the two men from our congregation who are starting seminary this year.  We give of these blessings to help others through the congregation emergency fund and other human care ministries.

Through the work of the Spirit, family members are no longer a threat to faith.  Instead our family becomes the setting where we share the faith. We continue to speak the truth about Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to our family members who don’t believe.  We invite them to come to church.  We encourage those who believe to walk in faith by receiving the Means of Grace.  And we show our faith in deeds as we love and support our family members in the callings – the vocations – where God has placed us.

We had no right to share in the feast of God’s salvation.  But through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has given us forgiveness.  He has washed away our sins in Holy Baptism and made us a new creation in Christ.  Now, in the Sacrament of the Altar he invites us to the foretaste of the feast to come.  He feeds us with Christ’s true body and blood given and shed for us so that we can say in truth: “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”





Sunday, June 2, 2024

First Sunday after Trinity - Gen 15:1-6


Trinity 1

                                                                                      Gen 15:1-6



          Abraham’s life had gone in directions he did not expect.  He had moved with his father from Ur in what is today southern Iraq.  Their intended destination was the land of Canaan, but for some reason they had stopped and settled in Haran, in what is today southwest Turkey on the border with Syria.  Like his father, Abraham did not know God and worshipped false gods.

          However, Yahweh had called Abraham.  He told him to leave the land he knew and his family, and to go to a land that he would show him.  God promised Abraham, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” He told Abraham that he would be the instrument by which God would bring blessing to all people as he said: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

          Abraham believed the Lord.  He trusted in his promise.  He did so in spite of the fact that his wife Sarah was sixty five years old and had never been able to have children.  He took his wife, and his nephew Lot and went to the land of Canaan.  There God promised Abraham that he would give that land to him and his offspring. And he said: “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.”

          Time passed and events occurred that reminded Abraham of how fragile life was.  Our text refers to this by saying “after these things.”  Because of the size of their flocks, Abraham and Lot had separated to live in different areas. Lot had settled in the city of Sodom.  Sodom had been attacked by enemies, and Lot and his family had been taken captive. Abraham took over three hundred of the men in his camp and fought to rescue Lot and his family.

          We learn in our text that after these events the word of the LORD came to Abraham in a vision as he said: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”  God told Abraham not to fear because God was his shield – his protection.  He had just kept him safe, and would continue to do so.  His reward – the blessing that God would give to Abraham who believed God’s promise – would be very great.

          But Abraham countered as he said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” He added, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”  Nothing had changed. Sarah had remained childless. God had not given an heir to Abraham, and when he died a member of his household would inherit Abraham’s possessions and not his own son.

          In response to this Yahweh declared to Abraham: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”  God reasserted his promise to give Abraham a son.  And then he added more on top of this.  Yahweh brought Abraham outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.”  He pointed Abraham to the innumerable stars of the night sky. Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

          Then our text says, “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”  God stated his promise to Abraham once again.  We learn that Abraham believed the Lord. He trusted in what God had said, and believed that God would provide the fulfillment. And so God counted it to him as righteousness.  God considered Abraham to have a righteous standing before him because he believed in God’s promise.

          In our Old Testament lesson this morning we learn about how God worked to provide salvation to all people.  We also learn about how that salvation is received by each individual. And we see in Abraham an example of faith that we follow.

          God created man in his own image.  He created man as male and female, and gave his very good creation to them.  But Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s word and brought sin and death into the world.  They brought the same sin and death that continues to afflict our lives.  Because of sin we are no longer righteous.  On our own we do not have the status of having a right standing before God – of having lived according to his will.  Instead, we violate that will in thought, word, and deed and so deserve God’s eternal judgment.

          Yet in his mercy, God acted to save us.  We see the beginning of this saving work in our Old Testament lesson.  God called Abraham out of paganism. He promised that he would work through this one man’s lineage to bring a blessing to all people.  He fulfilled his promise to Abraham by giving him Isaac.  He gave Jacob to Isaac, and from Jacob he brought forth the nation of Israel.

          God worked through Israel to bring salvation to all people.  He identified David as the one through whom he would bring forth the Messiah.  In the fullness of time he sent forth his Son as Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  Joseph, the descendant of David, took Jesus to be his own and made him part of the line of David.

          The Old Testament described the Messiah as the one who would bring victory and God’s end time salvation.  Jesus came to do this. But he did so in way that did not only fulfill passages about the Messiah.  He came as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament.  The sacrifices of Israel pointed forward to the sacrifice that he would be.  The suffering Servant of Isaiah’s prophecy described how he would bear the sins of all.

          Jesus Christ was the sinless Son of God.  Yet in order to carry out the Father’s saving will he offered himself as the sacrifice for sin.  He took our sin as his own. St Paul says about God’s work in Christ, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  The holy God judges and punishes sin. He did this on Good Friday as Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus received the wrath of God that we deserve in order to free us from sin.

          Christ suffered death to carry out God’s saving will.  But death was not the end of God’s work in Christ. Jesus passed through death in order to defeat it. On the third day God raised Jesus from the dead.  Adam brought death.  But Christ brought life – resurrection life.  Paul told the Corinthians, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, we know that we will be as well.

          God has redeemed us from sin and death in Christ.  It was his action in which we had no part.  And now God gives this salvation as a gift.  He gives it by his grace.  He gives it as a gift that is received by faith.

          This faith is not something we create. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  And this faith is not a matter of doing.  In fact, Paul defines it as the opposite of doing.  He told the Romans, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

          God gives forgiveness and salvation on the basis of his promise. He gives it by his grace.  You can’t do anything to make a promise happen.  If I promise to give you a million dollars, there is nothing you can do to bring that about.  One can only believe a promise.  One can only have faith in a promise.  Paul said, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’”

          When you believe God’s promise of what he has done for you in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you are justified.  It is counted to you by God as righteousness.  God considers you to have a righteous standing before him, even though in yourself you don’t deserve this. He considers you to have this because of what Jesus Christ has done for you, and that will be the verdict of the Last Day.  Paul tells us about our text, “But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

          Paul uses Abraham in order to teach us about how faith justifies.  Abraham is also an example to us about how faith lives. God promised to give Abraham a son by Sarah.  He made the promise when Abraham was seventy five years old.  He didn’t fulfil the promise until Abraham was one hundred years old.  Abraham had to wait twenty five years, as each year the promise seemed more and more impossible.  Yet Abraham continued in faith, trusting in God.

          We are called to trust and believe in God with patience.  When we face challenges and difficulties that just seem to go on, we continue to trust in God’s love and care day by day.  We can do so because we have already seen what God has done in Jesus Christ.  God has revealed his love and salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The resurrection of Christ gives us the living hope that helps us to go on. God’s Spirit created faith and the Holy Spirit continues to sustain faith as we receive the Means of Grace.

          God promised Abraham that in him all nations would be blessed.  He promised that he would make his offspring numerous like stars of the sky.  God kept his promise as he provided Jesus Christ through Abraham.  He kept his promise, because you and all other Christians who have ever lived are his children as you walk by faith just as Abraham did.  Through faith in God’s promise of what he has done in Christ it is counted to you as righteousness.  You are justified.  We walk each day by faith in God knowing that the way of faith leads to resurrection and eternal life.