I thank God and Jesus Christ that someone has regarded us as human beings.” I’ve never heard anything so profound, and this from the lips of a young boy in Kenya. LCMS World Relief and Human Care had built an orphanage where he and his fellow AID S orphans were now to be cared for. Amidst the tears, his word regarded caught my attention.
Regarded is at the heart of the Lutheran confession of the faith, as confessed in the Augsburg Confession, Article IV on justification. It is the door to eternity. And it is also the most powerful, freeing, compelling force for a joyous life in God’s mercy, driving us to act mercifully to our neighbor in need. In Christ, God “regards us as human beings.”
Note that little word impute. In the Gospel, God imputes, reckons, regards, credits, accounts faith in Jesus as righteousness. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your doing; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Thus I am reckoned, justified, sinless, not guilty on account of Jesus. Faith merely grabs hold of Jesus. The good boasting in the Bible is about Jesus! (Gal. 6:14). In Jesus, God recognizes me as somebody. In fact, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). There is not a living soul in this world who is not worth the very blood of Jesus. God accounts each individual as just that precious.
Is this justification stuff all ethereal mumbo-jumbo, having nothing to do with real life? Not so. Oswald Bayer points out that justification is fundamental to all human existence.
November 2010" />" />
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Jesus—the example to followIn Scripture, we read what Jesus said to His disciples when they had argued among themselves about their importance. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:27–28).