For that to have happened, the Redeemer had to obey the law perfectly, die on the cross, rise up, and ascend at the Father’s right side. That great event at Calvary is not only to be believed and trusted, but also to be lived out insofar that God’s people reflect the sacrificial love of Christ. The apostle John in his first epistle states, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
Therefore, in connection with the brokenhearted, with those who have grieved because of sin or great suffering, God’s people must aim toward reconciliation, toward love, peace and hope, and must carry one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ, as Paul told the Galatians.
The church must never be reduced to a formal organization with a plethora of programs. It is to be a living organism, a place of hope and refuge. It is the gathering of God’s household, where brothers and sisters fellowship, and are replenished by the preaching of the Word and the partaking of the sacraments. It is also where the brokenhearted come together and are comforted.
The face of church is often misidentified. People don’t go to church; people are the church. They go to worship and to fellowship because that is where the crushed in spirit are lifted up. If any fellowship fails in its ministry of reconciliation, in coming together in Christ and serving one another in love, then what Jesus spoke to the Pharisees applies to that group, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
Remember the words of Christ, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).