Trinity 3 – 2021 LSB #’s 915, 609, 737
Text – Micah 7:18
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity & passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance?
Beginning with last year’s killing of George Floyd, there has been a lot of intense focus on the issue of justice here in the United States. People on many levels, across racial & economic lines, have really begun to notice that justice is being perverted on an ever larger scale.
There are many disagreements about the causes & solutions, but most people seem to realize that as a nation, we are losing our grip on the ability to administer justice. People across the racial & economic spectrum are responding to that realization. That’s the normal course of human history. Things change & people react to the changes.
If you study history, it’s clear that the longing for justice is a common theme in every society & civilization that has ever existed. The prophet Isaiah described it in rather poetic terms with these words, “We all growl like bears; we moan & moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none...” (59:11 ESV)
Job even lashes out at God, “Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.” (19:7 ESV) More recently, these words were spoken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963:
“When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution & the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her
citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom & security of justice.”
Even among father & son there is often disagreement regarding justice, as illustrated by King David & his son Absalom. The prophet Samuel wrote: “So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice & equity to all his people.” (2 Samuel 8:15 ESV)
“Then Absalom would say, ‘Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, & I would give him justice.’” (2 Samuel 15:4 ESV) Whether you study secular history or Biblical history, it’s clear that the longing for justice is a common thread running through every society & civilization that has existed.
One of the louder reactions to the lack of justice in our nation today is being referred to as the “Cancel Culture.” While social media has empowered people to speak their minds, it has also empowered the masses to attempt to “cancel” those whose opinions they disagree with.
Cancel Culture has been described by its supporters as accountability, but that is not a fair assessment of this phenomenon. If Cancel Culture implied accountability, then it would provide an avenue for redemption. However, when the mob controls the information & the justice, there is no means by which you can regain their respect.
Their attempts to administer or restore justice occur without an impartial judge or jury. The accused have no secure avenue to question or even answer their accusers. Evidence is not needed to convict someone. As the cancel culture has evolved in this age of instant communication it has turned into simply another version of mob rule – might makes right.
Even the national news media & politicians have been sucked into the fray. This in spite of the fact that they are institutions put in place to support & protect the freedoms of all people. In a Cancel Culture, truth becomes irrelevant & everyone loses the ability to understand differing perspectives. When that happens, all of us become poorer & lose opportunities for life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. The point of Cancel Culture rests in the name – eliminating thought criminals from polite society. If the mob cannot control what you say, they will attempt to control your ability to function in society. What happens when people refuse to be controlled? When people push back, the mob must resort to more drastic measures.
In the same way fascism emerged as a socialist’s last resort to impose their worldview, Cancel Culture emerged as a means to achieve a politically correct society. If you do not bend your knee to the mob, then the mob will unperson you.
Which is effectively what our Supreme Court did when they ruled that unborn children can be aborted because we don’t know if they are human beings or not. In a 7-2 ruling, the court decided to unperson any child in the womb. The Cancel Culture today is a loud voice in our nation, but it’s nothing new.
Ever since The Fall into sin, human beings have struggled to maintain justice in this world. When Adam & Eve sinned, they severed the life-giving relationship they had with their Creator. Effectively, they had turned themselves into nothing, but God’s love would not allow that to the be the last word. He addressed the problem & solution through the apostle Peter:
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10 ESV) In its negative aspects, the Cancel Culture does not seek to restore people, but to destroy them. It seeks to erase their identity & their voice, with no mercy whatsoever. Forgiveness is a very unwelcome concept.
The heavenly Father also seeks to cancel what is evil, but He chose a much different path
than the Cancel Culture does. He loves His creation, human beings included, & so desires to salvage & save them, that He sends His only Son not just to take on our punishment, but also to do the good, to maintain the justice, that no sinful being is capable of.
Yes, sinful beings do oppress other people, & every other aspect of God’s creation. The reason is this – all of God’s creation has been oppressed by sin ever since Adam & Eve followed Satan’s suggestion to cancel the Word of God. Yet, our Lord does not respond in revenge, but in sacrifice. He gives His own life to pay for our injustice.
Then He raises that human flesh from the dead in order to begin the new creation, where sin will never again oppress anyone; where justice will be perfect at all times because no one will ever violate it. Unlike the Cancel Culture, Yahweh does provide an avenue for the redemption of those who have run afoul of justice. He saves sinners.
Here’s what the Cancel Culture of Jesus’ day thought of that: “The Pharisees & the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners & eats with them.’” (Luke 15:2 ESV) But they did not stop with grumbling. Eventually, they sought to completely cancel the Son of God.
“Then the leading priests & Pharisees called the high council together. ‘What are we going to do?’ they asked each other. ‘This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow Him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in Him. Then the Roman army will come & destroy both our Temple & our nation.” Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’” (John 11:47-50 NLT)
That’s how the Cancel Culture still thinks today, & Satan is still leading the charge. Ultimately, the world seeks to cancel God’s children because in truth it hates their Father in heaven. As Isaiah 59:8 says, “The way of peace they do not know, & there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.”
The Cancel Culture talks about accountability, but that advice is only for others. As all hypocrites do, they reject their own preaching. Jesus did not. He preached forgiveness & He lived it. He preached salvation & He made it possible for everyone. Considering all of sinful humanity, Micah therefore says to Yahweh: “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity & passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance?” The Holy Trinity alone cancels, not just individual transgressions, but actually takes away the sin of the whole world.
That is the uniqueness of Yahweh in comparison to all the religions & ideologies of the ancient & the modern world. He shows completely undeserved favor towards sinners & He does so repeatedly & continually. Every single morning arrives with His blessings of life & salvation, along with all the things we need for this life.
As he closed his speech at the Lincoln memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. described well how God deals with sin, as opposed to the Cancel Culture of the world:
“I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted & every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains & the crooked places will be made straight & the glory of the Lord shall be revealed & all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York…
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement & every hamlet, from every state & every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men & white men, Jews & Gentiles, Protestants & Catholics, will be able to join hands & sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last.”
Jesus sinners doth receive; oh, may all this saying ponder who in sin’s delusions live & from God & heaven wander! Here is hope for all who grieve: Jesus sinners doth receive. We deserve but grief & shame, yet His words, rich grace revealing, pardon, peace & life proclaim; here our ills have perfect healing. Firmly in these words believe: Jesus sinners doth receive. Amen. LSB 609:1-2.
 Wikipedia: The state of Texas had argued that total bans on abortion were justifiable because "life" begins at the moment of conception, and therefore its governmental interest in protecting prenatal life should apply to all pregnancies regardless of their stage.  But the Court found that there was no indication that the Constitution's uses of the word "person" were meant to include fetuses, so it rejected Texas's argument that a fetus should be considered a "person" with a legal & constitutional right to life.  It noted that there was still great disagreement over when an unborn fetus becomes a living being. 
Pastor Dean R. Poellet