They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness (Romans 2:15a NIV).
Our souls are “constituted and formed”, as Luther says, to know God, in this case God in his law. I say God because there is no law outside and separate from God. This is a confession that human beings are fitted for their environment and so we can trust our sense that there is an oughtness to existence, a sense of an intentional order, a way we are meant to act.
Intention, of course, implies an intender, a personal will behind the things we sense we ought to do. Everyone knows this, Luther says, and this knowledge “is aroused by the preaching of the Word, so that the heart cannot help confessing that we must, as the Commandments read, honor, love, and serve God, for He alone is good and does good not only to the pious, but also to the wicked” (St.L. III:1053).
The great good news we have to proclaim, the thing people could not know except in this proclamation, is that the God behind the moral law written in the heart appeared in time and space, and he came not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). Good news, indeed!
Those who receive this good news find themselves suddenly liberated, able to face with honesty what they know to be true about themselves and the world. They no longer need to run and hide like Adam and Eve in the garden. The Christian is the truly free person!
What a wonderful message! What’s more, the free Christian is ushered into a relationship of intimacy with the Father, whereby he or she cries, Abba (a child’s name for their human father). There is an intimacy that assures of an eternal embrace. “O love that will not let me go, I rest my soul in thee!” This is a living experience for the believer!
How does this happen? “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1.23 NIV) “And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1.25 NIV). And what was the word Peter preached? If you look at the context it’s the gospel, the good news that God does not condemn you! The gospel makes you alive and free! Glory to God!
This is the gift we have been given to celebrate before the world, the blessing we have to offer in the age of the coronavirus. God loves you! He offers you the blessing of his eternal embrace which is impervious to all enemies!
May God so fill us with the experiential knowledge of this gift that we can’t help but share it with others!
Blessings to you all!