Friday, July 17, 2015

God's Own Child I Gladly Say It.

"In the name of the Father the † Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen"

Very little gives me as much profound joy as to hear this statement at the start of a worship service. Also it is a privilege to invoke the name of God before and after prayer and Scripture reading. During times of testing, sadness and when the adversary bothers it is a very useful tool. What
makes this such a wonderful practice? Paul
points this out here:

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

(Romans 8:15-17 ESV)

In Baptism God placed his name on us. Just as adopting parents
give a family name to there adopted child. We are truly children
of the Most High. The Creator of all things seen and unseen. Jesus
is our brother and we join him as being heirs. What a wonderful
position to consider when facing trials and troubles that everyone
faces in this life. We need not fear what will happen to us.

Death, you cannot end my gladness:
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness
To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes
Faith's assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine
To make life immortal mine. 

This is a quote from the hymn titled "God's Own Child I Gladly Say It." This is sung many times in worship when a Baptism takes place. All the promises belong to the person(s) being Baptized. And they belong to us who were Baptized many years previously. It is the gift which keeps on giving.

How is it that water can do such power things? It is due to it not being mere water. Nor is it being the location of the water. It is not the faith of the minister who is applying the water and invoking the name of God. It is water connected with the institution and promise of Our Lord Jesus:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

Rather than thinking you are being punished when you are facing the most difficult situations such as loss of friends, family, employment, health, etc. Having been Baptized into Christ you have full certainty that he has you in his Crucified and Resurrected arms to carry you through these times. He understands your suffering like no one else is able to understand. And he is there at the end of life to welcome you into his eternal home. He has got you! "In the name of the Father, the † Son and the Holy Spirit." Amen.

That Sinner Over There.

 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

(Luke 18:10-13 ESV)

"God hates the sin but loves the sinner."

The above statement is constantly contradicted by some Believers in Jesus. Although it is treated as a cliche' and to excuse sinners of guilt one must be careful in contradicting it. It is a common misconception that a Believer in Jesus has somehow became a better person than his or her unbelieving neighbor. How does one explain easily besetting sin if this is the case.

This is a return to the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Infused Grace. 

Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.*

This teaching understands Grace as a spiritual steroid which will enlighten the mind and strengthen the will to do good and avoid evil. This is treating the Christian life as if the Reformation never happened. One can almost come away with the idea that one needs Jesus less and less as time goes on.

Grace in its proper understanding is the attitude God has where he is willing, and through the Sacrifice of Jesus, look upon a sinner as his holy child and co heir with Jesus. As a loving child of Our Heavenly Father we certainly will seek to battle sin in our lives and seek to please him. However, we will fail miserably because we are not any better than the run of the mill unbeliever who is trying to live life as a good citizen, spouse, parent, etc.

Infused Grace is not Good News. The previous mentioned idea that over time one does not need Jesus as much as time goes on may lead to impenitence and ultimate casting aside of the faith. Also it may lead one living in doubt to the place where one may also fall into impenitence and reject the faith.

Rather than to fall victim to this fiction we must boldly confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. The good news is that Our Father is overjoyed at forgiving us our sin and cleansing us from all unrighteousness for the sake of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

*Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.