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What shall we say to these things?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:31-34

 

What confidence is here in these words of St. Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us”!  How much comfort and consolation is right here for the sinner trapped in his sin, the doubter who worries about God’s help, the sufferer bearing the weight of his heavy cross!

These words are the very Word of God, reminding us of WHO it is that is for us, WHO it is that delivered His own Son, WHO it is who will give us all things, WHO it is who justifies (declares us to be not guilty before God because of our sin).

Because God does not condemn you, you are not condemned.  Because God justifies you on account of His Son, you are justified.  Because God delivered Jesus to death on the cross for you, He will indeed give you all things.  You thus have no need to worry about any lack.  Only continue to trust in the Lord, for His Word will indeed come to pass.

Because God is for you (see Romans 5:1ff), no one and no thing can be against you (Romans 8:35ff).  Not even Satan is able to accuse you before your Heavenly Father.

So then, why is it that we doubt these tremendous blessings of God, lay blame upon others, grumble, complain, point the finger, and say, “woe are we”?  Are God’s Word and His promises not ‘good enough’?  Do they not apply to our situation?  Of course they do!

The Psalmist confidently writes, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling (Psalm 46:1-3).

Such words may sound inapplicable.  What of local, national, and international catastrophes and turmoil?  Do you, as a baptized child of God, have any reason to fear any of these things or anything else, whether it be with regard to yourself, others, or God’s church?  Not at all, for in Christ, you have peace with God.  In Christ, you have everlasting life and salvation.  In Christ, you have nothing but certainty and confidence of God’s will toward you.

So “Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” (Psalm 30:4).

Listen to the mercies of the Lord and trust in Him.  Cast away all doubt and fear and turn to the Lord Christ.  Believe in Him, for He alone is your hope and you stay, tomorrow and today.

Luther

“When the devil accuses us and says: “You are a sinner; therefore you are damned,” then we can answer him and say: “Because you say that I am a sinner, therefore I shall be righteous and be saved.” “No,” says the devil, “you will be damned.” “No,” I say, “for I take refuge in Christ, who has given Himself for my sins. Therefore, Satan, you will not prevail against me as you try to frighten me by showing me the magnitude of my sins and to plunge me into anguish, loss of faith, despair, hatred, contempt of God, and blasphemy. In fact, when you say that I am a sinner, you provide me with armor and weapons against yourself, so that I may slit your throat with your own sword and trample you underfoot. You yourself are preaching the glory of God to me; for you are reminding me, a miserable and condemned sinner, of the fatherly love of God, who ‘so loved the world that He gave His only Son, etc.’ (John 3:16). You are reminding me of the blessing of Christ my Redeemer. On His shoulders, not on mine, lie all my sins. For ‘the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,’ and ‘for the transgressions of His people He was stricken’ (Is. 53:6, 8). Therefore when you say that I am a sinner, you do not frighten me; but you bring me immense consolation.”  (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p36-37).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me from doubting Your mighty Word. Help me to trust, not what I see, but what you say.  Give me confidence, not in my doings, but in Yours alone, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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“Your Redemption is Drawing Near”

In the Nicene Creed, Christians everywhere confess that the Jesus Christ “will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead.” This confession we confess because it is true according to the Holy Scriptures, as heard in today’s Gospel reading. The Lord Jesus will one day return, not in humility as before, being born of the virgin. When He comes again, He will come in glory. Every eye will see Him, the Bible says (Revelation 1:7).

This is good news indeed for all who long to be without sin, for all who desire God’s mercy in Jesus. But for all others, the day of Christ’s return will not be a welcome day. It will be a day of fear and dread. It will be a day of fear and dread because for those who in Christ do not believe, who ignore His calling now to repent and believe the Gospel, they will be called to account. For them, Christ’s return is not for their salvation. It is for their judgment. But for the Christian, for the one who calls upon the Name of the Lord, who seeks God’s favor through the obedience of His Son, Christ comes to bring them to Himself, to take home all who belong to Him…

Lk21.5-36, Pentecost 25, 2010C

Hear the Scripture

Moses and the Prophets are a reference to the Old Testament. These testify of Jesus, the very same Jesus made known in the New Testament. Him you are to hear. And Him you are to believe. This the rich man did not do. And this is what the rich man was afraid his brothers would not do. That’s why he wanted Lazarus to go warn his brothers. He wanted to warn them of what was to come if they continued in their unbelief.

But to the rich man did Abraham say, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them and If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.

Jesus says the same to the Pharisees and Scribes of this day. Jesus did rise from the dead. And if you don’t believe the Scriptures, God’s very Word, so will you remain in that unbelief, for Jesus is risen, Alleluia! And yet you still don’t believe.

But thanks be to God, it is through those same Scriptures that God makes your salvation known—Jesus the Christ. That’s all we have. That’s all we’ve got. But that’s all that we need. Amen.

[sermon]

Lk 16.19-31, Pentecost 18, 2010C.pdf

Lutheranism 101

This book is worth checking out: Lutheranism 101

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