Philippians 2:2,5 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. . . . Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
It can be very difficult to be of one mind, when one of the cardinal virtues of our society is being an individual and doing your own thing. Societyís answer is that everyone should do what is right for themselves, and we shouldnít judge what other choose. At least that is what they profess they believe, while at the same time, they pass lots of laws to regulate the things they donít like, so that law becomes arbitrary, and life chaotic. This is one of the reasons why Christians try to transform society, rather than just accept it as it is Ė because God has a much better plan, one that actually makes sense. And the good thing about Godís plan is that everyone will be accountable, everyone will answer for what they have done and failed to do. But it is not like our culture, for God has given various people responsibility to provide direction and guidance for life Ė and their charge is not to do what they want Ė but to bring Godís Will to those who do not know, and to those who may need a reminder.
Now the thing that makes this good news, is not that God wrote the law, and told us that if we do not do it we will end up in Hell. Donít get me wrong, avoiding Hell is in itself a good reason to gladly do what God commands. But what makes this good news, is that God loved us enough, that he didnít just thunder law from the mountain, but that he came to us, showed us about how much he loved us, for he gave his only son to die to pay for our sins, and to forgive our guilt. Just as God loved us enough to give us Jesus, so also he wants to tell us about his plan for our lives. So in marriage, God placed man as the head, that is the one responsible for seeing that Godís will is done, and the love of God in Christ is made known. Their charge is to love their wife and their children as Christ loved the church, and to provide everything that is necessary, just as Christ does. They did not choose this, and often they would rather someone else did it Ė but this is Godís plan Ė it comes to us from Godís Word. The charge given to everyone else, is to obey the authorities that God has instituted. So wives obey husbands, children obey parents, and we all obey the government, for that also is something that God has instituted for our good. If there is to be one accord and one mind and full agreement Ė it will only happen when that one will is Godís Will.
If the thing that matters, is doing Godís will, and not outward appearances. Then the parable in our Gospel lesson illustrates what it is to really do Godís will. A father has 2 sons, he says to them both, go into the vineyard and work. The first says, "No, I wonít!" however afterward he repents and goes to work. The second says, "Yes, Iíll go right away." But he goes and does what he pleases Ė which one does the will of his father?
The key question is - which one does the will of his father? It is not which one is without sin Ė and there is one key word that points to the difference Ė "repent". Why is this important? Because while Jesus died once, for the sins of all, and while God would forgive all our sins Ė the problem is with us Ė we cannot receive Godís forgiveness until we repent Ė until we let go of our sin Ė until we let go of having to do what we want Ė until we want to obey God and receive the peace of God which passes all understanding. Its not that our repentance is a work that contributes to our salvation or earns us forgiveness Ė rather it is that if our hands are full of sin, we just donít have room to receive the grace of God in Jesus Christ, nor the forgiveness that comes in the blood of Christ.