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The Great Exchange

 

LutherPreachingThrough faith in Christ, therefore, Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has becomes ours; rather, he himself becomes ours. Therefore the Apostle calls it “the righteousness of God” in Rom. 1[:17]: For in the gospel “the righteousness of God is revealed …; as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by his faith.’” Finally, in the same epistle, chapter 3[:28], such a faith is called ”the righteousness of God”: “We hold that a man is justified by faith.” This is an infinite righteousness, and one that swallows up all sins in a moment, for it is impossible that sin should exist in Christ. On the contrary, he who trusts in Christ exists in Christ; he is one with Christ, having the same righteousness as he. It is therefore impossible that sin should remain in him. This righteousness is primary; it is the basis, the cause, the source of all our own actual righteousness. For this is the righteousness given in place of the original righteousness lost in Adam. It accomplishes the same as that original righteousness would have accomplished; rather, it accomplishes more. (LW 31, Two Kinds of Righteousness, 1519)

Two Kinds of Righteousness

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The Baptism of Our Lord

The text before us is a text that shows us what kind of Savior we have in Christ Jesus. It is also a text by which God Himself directs us to His Son—and only to His Son. It is a most amazing text because Jesus, “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made,” this same Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized by him in the Jordan river (Nicene Creed).

This is a most strange, yet wonderful doing of our Lord. It is most strange for no other reason than that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). Indeed, John the Baptist preached by saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 3:1).

Those who came to John to be baptized by him were to be repentant, that is, they were to be sorry for their sins. John’s preaching of repentance was a call to turn from unbelief to belief in the Lord and His word and promises.

This is what is strange about Jesus coming to John the Baptist to be baptized by him—Jesus had nothing to repent of. Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He had no need for forgiveness, for remission of sins, or for pardon. He was complete, whole, and without blemish. It was not Jesus who needed forgiveness. It was John himself and all who came to him, truly, everyone else but Jesus…

Mat03.13-17, Baptism Of Our Lord, 2011A.pdf

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