For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:17
According to his son, Samuel Snow was "an upright man who was punished for no good reason."
Let me explain: sixty-four years ago, in 1944, Samuel Snow was court-martialed for having been part of a riot which led to the lynching of an Italian prisoner of war. Snow was convicted, sent to jail for more than a year, and then given a dishonorable discharge.
Last year, the Army's Board for Correction of Military Records ruled Snow's conviction should be set aside. Furthermore, the dishonorable discharge was revoked, and the soldiers were given the pay they would have received had they not been in military jail.
Samuel Snow received that news in July. Only hours after hearing the news he had been declared righteous of that crime, Samuel Snow died.
Reflecting on his father's vindication, Samuel's son said, "He held onto the belief that this could be done." St. Paul, speaking of matters spiritual, said it a little bit differently. By the Spirit's inspiration, he wrote, "The righteous shall live by faith."
The only difference between Samuel Snow and ourselves is one thing: we are guilty.
Having committed sins of thought, word, and deed, we deserve to be condemned. It is only because Jesus Christ has taken our place under the Law and received the punishment we deserved, that we have been declared innocent of wrongdoing.
Now, because of Jesus, we, the righteous, are able to live by faith.
We are free to share with others the good news of salvation. We can tell them the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Savior.
It is the good news we need to share with them before they die. They need to know that with faith in Jesus, God's divine court has declared us to be innocent.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You, the guiltless, were declared "guilty," so I might be saved. For Your sacrifice may I always be grateful. For this gift of grace may I, the righteous, who now lives by faith, let others know of the pardon You have won for them. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries