Our readings for this coming Sunday are:
Isaiah 5:1–7 God’s heart breaks over his people
God’s Vineyard (people of God, Israel) was planted on a fertile hill. He was meticulous in his care (v. 2), but the vineyard did not produce what was expected. So God calls them to account “judge between you and me” (v. 3). Because of the rebellion of the people, God removes his hedge of protection and its wall (vs. 5). Even the natural elements will be withheld as judgment upon the people. Notice the strands of Law and Gospel:
God’s love (vs. 7a)
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
…is the house of Israel,
…and the men of Judah
…are his pleasant planting;
God’s law (vs. 7b)
and he looked for justice,
…but behold, bloodshed;
…but behold, an outcry!
Philippians 3:4–14 Saving righteousness
Paul presents the central message of imputed righteousness: vs. 7–10.
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. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
In our world that is seemingly overflowing with so much, are we ready to say with Paul, “I count everything as loss”? Paul wants to know Jesus Christ, having now a righteousness not dependent on himself, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ, credited to his account. Through faith in Jesus Christ, you have that same righteousness.
It is easy to be distracted by the past. But Paul continues:
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (vs. 14)
May that be our focus as well.
Matthew 21:33–46 The Parable of the Tenants