Saturday, January 17, 2009

Daily Dying and Rising.

In a conversation the other day I was asked by a brother in Jesus if I remembered my baptism that morning. I assured him I had and pointed out it was the promise associated with baptism rather than the mere receiving of baptism which is remembered. I did not get the chance to ask what brought about that question but he has been given different Lutheran resources which to listen and we have several mutual friends with which we speak on these things.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. ESV

Each and every morning rising from sleep we find ourselves in various states of relationship to God. Some mornings we have an attitude of thankfulness for the gift of a new day. Other times the realization we have to once again go to a place of employment which is becoming more and more of a challenge to meet the competing quotas and expectations. Still other times it is various degrees of those attitudes.

In addition during sleep we have been sinning. In our dreams and subconscious thoughts we have been falling short of the glory of God. This is the sad fact of still having our flesh active in our life in Jesus. Some would say; “How can God expect us to control our subconscious thoughts and feelings?” Needless to say we are by nature his enemies and are in just dessert of his punishment now and in eternity. To debate that point is fruitless and will not change the decree that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

In the Romans 6 passage is a reminder that we received the forgiveness of sin in baptism. Also in there is a promise of death to the sinful nature which is an enemy of God. In addition is the promise of walking in Jesus’ resurrection. We no longer need wallow in our daily sins. The peace of having all our sins where Jesus was. Nailed to the cross and left in the grave. We are dead to them and they no longer hold sway and by no means need we continue to live in them.

Let us believe this good news and live in the peace that it offers.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen †

Friday, January 9, 2009

Saved! By Outstreached Arms.

In way too many circles of Christianity is a concerted effort to either hide the cross of Jesus or to change its purpose. In the more liberal side which includes the so called emergent church we have it as an example of how we are to sacrifice for others. In the so called conservative side we are presented with ever increasing how to be holy advice which is made possible by the death of the Christ. While it is true we are to serve our neighbour in various ways. And as God’s children we do resist sin both these viewpoints miss entirely what our Lord was doing nailed to the cross.

I fear it is more intentional than by accident. The radical nature of the Gospel if preached to its full sweetness will get one labeled as anti law. On the contrary we , because of the Holy Spirit, love God’s law. However, due to the sin nature, we want also to take some credit or comfort from those acts of service and resisting of sin. This in itself keeps us from being able to love the Lord our God completely and our neighbour as ourselves is equally impossible.

Exodus 6:6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. ESV

As in the Exodus when God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt he is releasing those who trust in him from the burden of the law. “In the day you sin you die.” This dying is separation from our creator. It is the loss of communion and sweet relationship with Our Father in heaven. With his arms outstretched on the cross Jesus endured separation from God for us. This is something that had never happened before and we cannot fathom what that separation was like.
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ESV

Jesus suffered great acts of judgment by taking the sin of the world upon himself to the cross and by this has delivered us from slavery to sin and the burden of the law. These gifts of deliverance are delivered to us through preaching of the Gospel after execution of the law upon us. In addition this is delivered to us in a tangible way through the waters of baptism and the bread and wine of the Holy Supper of our Lord. However, like Israel of old we still tend to look for ways back into some type of slavery. Let us die evermore to this desire to credit ourselves with any part of our great communion with our Creator and let what Jesus finished be enough for you and me.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen †