Which one is God - a goal or a giver?
He cannot be both. He cannot be both the goal of our efforts, and the free giver of goodness. Either we work to reach the goal and are rewarded, or He gives it to us because He is gracious.
Which one do you think God wants to be?
God is a giver. He is not a goal. Salvation is not achieving something - it is receiving something - a gift - Faith!
And yet look at all the false teachings around you...
They are in the Church. Protestants say "Give your heart to God." What, I need to give to God?!? If I give my heart to Him, I will reach the goal? Goal - not Giver. And not Christianity.
They are in the world. Have you heard that song by Pharrell Williams - Happy? It is the hit of hits right now. It sets forth your goal. Happiness. It is what every mother wants for their children - what Joel Osteen tells you God wants for you. And so you chase it. You believe the lie that you can reach it. That if you try hard enough you can reach your goal - you can be happy. Goal - not Giver.
And these false teachings are in your flesh. They are your natural inclination. Your default. "I can do it." "I can make it right." I can reach the goal. I just need to try harder. Try again. Goal - not Giver.
But you don't need a coach - someone to pump you up to work harder. What you need is a Savior! A Giver! Someone who doesn't stand at the finish line waiting for you to get to Him - but Someone who comes down to where you are in your sin, death and slavery to free you and carry you home. You need One who can show you where to put your trust. One who is faithful. You need a Giver.
And a Giver you have. Your heavenly Father has revealed Himself in only this way - a Giver. One who loved the world so much that He GAVE His Only Son. That He gives Him to you again and again and again - week after week - in Word and Sacrament - forgiving, saving, resurrecting.
Go to church to receive. Go to church to be fed. Go to church to be freed. Because your God is One thing - a Giver.