Yesterday's gospel about the wheat and the weeds and letting both grow up together until the end lent itself to several interesting applications of the Lutheran understanding of faith. First there is the similarity in appearance of wheat and tares or weeds. They are nearly indistinguishable. The good and the bad, those following Christ and those who aren't, saints and sinners can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Luther spoke of Christians as being simultaneously saints and sinners. Ahhh how very Lutheran this illustration is. We often like to pigeonhole people as Christian or not, in or out of God's kingdom. There are various varieties of the true litmus test.
Only God knows the depth of one's heart. Today's sinner may be tomorrow's saint.
This parable demonstrates that it is God who will be the judge of one's faith and commitment or lack thereof. Each of us falls and gets back up in our Christian walk. There are times when I am grateful that judgment is reserved for the end with said judge being God. We tend to be harsher judges than God because we make decisions based on limited information whereas God sees the total picture. His mercy and compassion exceeds our own. Luther echoes this in his response to the third article of the Apostles' Creed. Isn't it wonderful that God is so patient that he is willing to wait a lifetime for our response to him?