You have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 3.7-9, NLT).Did you catch that? As people of God gathered here as St. Augustine’s, despite our brokenness, despite our ongoing short-sightedness, sin, and folly, we as God’s people collectively don’t lack any needed spiritual gift to help us be God’s true image-bearing creatures. Why? Because we are empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to overcome our sin and folly. To be sure this is quite a long and messy process. But as St. Paul reminds us, it’s a done deal because it’s not about us. It’s about what God has done, is doing, and will do for us in Christ. As Christians, we will be held accountable for our good deeds and bad. But we will hear the verdict of not guilty pronounced on us. Why? Because of what God has done for us on the cross. If you want to know what God’s justice looks like, a justice wrapped in God’s love, look no further than Calvary. There you will see God’s only begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, dying a criminal’s death in utter humiliation for our sake. As we’ve seen, God’s wrath must and will be poured out on Evil and evildoers. But God became human to die for us and take on his own terrible and just punishment for our sins so that we do not have to bear it. Are we worthy of such love and grace? Of course not. But again, it’s not about us. It is about God’s great love and perfect justice for us. We are astonished by this and cry out that it’s just too good to be true. Well yes it is. That’s why we call it the gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ. God’s love for us is greater than our sin and hostility toward God. We deserve none of it but it is offered to us freely anyway. God offers it to us because this is how God has decided to put to rights all that is wrong in this world. On the cross of Jesus Christ, God has condemned our sin in the flesh and defeated the power of Evil. As we have seen, evil has not been fully vanquished. That remains for when Christ returns. But God has done what needed to be done to reconcile us to himself, even while we were still God’s enemies, and God has defeated the power of death by raising Jesus from the dead. All who are Christ’s will share in that new life. Then God’s restorative justice will be fully revealed. Evil will be annihilated, death will be no more, and God’s redeemed and fully healed people will be raised from the dead to assume their rightful roles as God’s wise and loving stewards over God’s new creation, the new heavens and earth. Amen? This is why Advent is so important, my beloved. It gives us a time to reflect intentionally the midst of holiday madness on who God is and what God has promised to do for us. It is a time for us to get our house in order with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we act like we really do believe the Good News of Jesus Christ. God’s judgment reminds us that God is not indifferent to the suffering and injustice in God’s world and our lives. God hates all evil and will restore fully his good creation and image-bearers. So we watch and wait, firmly resolved to give our lives to the One who loves us and and gave himself for us so that we could have life. This is the Good News of Advent that we are to proclaim and live out as we await the return of Jesus our Lord and Savior. May we all grow in grace to really and truly believe the Good News, to take what God has done for us on the cross seriously and not just pay it lip service as we await his kingdom to come in full. To him be honor, praise, and glory forever and ever. In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.