“My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (First John chapter 2, verses 1 and 2)
You are not alone. You are not doomed. You are not beyond God’s grace. Someone speaks on your behalf with the Father.
The sacrifice Jesus Christ made, in history, on the cross is effective for all time. All who came before, all at that time, all who have come since, have had their sins paid for by him, in that sacrifice. This includes you.
The workings of your mind are nothing to the workings of God. When it seems that terror or heartache are on every side, you are not lost. You have overcome such things in Jesus Christ.
If you do wrong, Jesus speaks for you. This one, speaking to the Father, his Father, is the one on whom justice for wrongdoing was carried out. You are free. You are free from blame, guilt and shame. In Jesus, blame, guilt and shame are not things to take up, but things from which you have been freed.
I encourage you to get as much of God’s words as you can because only they will fortify you. Though men at their best are all together vanity, God is the advocate of such men.
You are in the exact place you are to give glory to God. And it is not about what you do, but rather it is about what he is doing in you and through you that you glorify him. You are a strand in the rescue rope that he has thrown to the world. Speaking his gospel provides the muscle and the strength to be pulled out of the deep hole the people of the world have fallen into.
Your Father is patient, he loves you, he loves his natural Son Jesus Christ and he loved the world. And his love for all these is in perfect balance. He has given you life in a fallen world to be a conduit of his grace in it. Some will fear and rejoice in what you say, others will ignore or deny it. Regardless, the opportunity God makes in you remains his opportunity.
You will have sorrow and little joy, but this is because your joy is to come. Evildoers have their joy first and then sorrow. God’s chosen have their sorrow and then joy.
It is enough to hear. Believing provides sight. Belief that comes from sight is not belief. Sight that comes out of belief is true sight. When you believe the truth you truly see.
Your Father is waiting for you and all his children in the world, even any children to come. As his promised Son would not snuff out a smoldering wick neither will he abandon a faith that is newly catching flame. Don’t let your wrongdoings be greater than his absolution. Your reality is God-determined. He has claimed you in Holy Baptism. He sees no sins on you, that which he washed away.
What you do now is praise him. You glorify him. In your silence and in your speaking, you are and have been a recipient of his grace.
That is why you are here.
From eternity God saw you: his precious creature. You were in his mind and your being was in his thought. In time you were made by him exactly as you are. Whatever corruption might have marred your surface the essence of who and what you are is dear to your gracious maker.
God hasn’t let you go and he has promised to be yours. He has sworn upon himself and bought you from disaster. He has made you his own by trading his dear possession for you. He traded his Son. That which marred you his Son took up. He became cursed for your sake and for his sake you have been blessed. Jesus Christ is the solution for every problem you face because he has faced those problems for you and in your place. And he has taken you up and carried you into his everlasting house.
Your baptism means God’s name is on you. And if on you, you will last into to the next world. No fire will burn you and though fire might purge you, you will not be burned. You are God’s gold and he is refining that which is precious to him. You are God’s desire.
The decisions of others may leave you in a position that is not helpful to your work and responsibilities. Sometimes you have to make the best of things.
Wrongs committed against God make it so he faces things for the wrong doers. He did forebear the punishment due wrong doers until he himself came in human flesh to die in the place of wrong doers, exacting justice upon himself and relieving mankind from rightfully earned punishment. God decided to save and placed the ungodly in the position of his holiness. He made the best of things: he took away sins from the world.
It is hard to live in triumph. It is difficult to remember that we are conquerors through him who loved us (The Book of Romans chapter eight, verse 37). But in triumph we nonetheless live.
We have no control over the decisions of others. But God has control over our destiny: he has set us with his Son Jesus Christ to overcome death and destruction. We live forever in blessedness because of his Son’s triumph over sin.
“My cup overflows.” This expression of God’s graciousness might seem bitter when it appears one does not receive all that he needs. Yet it is in that very moment of apparent lack that one finds God gives him far more than he needs. Such an affirmation of an overflowing cup seems a denial of obvious surroundings. What one owes others seems piled up, a heap of things one has failed to give. But one must remember that with the burden of God in the flesh a restoration of all things was rendered: the justice for that which lacked, and, the power for the actualization of its full transfer, from he that owed to those who were owed. “My cup overflows” is the affirmation of a present reality: that in God’s giving-ness all that is needed and all that can be desired is presently given with greater abundance than can be contained. All is also given with a fullness for the future, the sustaining of that which is given by God to the one who affirms his tremendous graciousness. “My cup overflows” may be said by anyone who esteems the sacrifice God made in giving his Son for evil-doers. Jesus Christ the Lord is their life and also their rising from the dead. Faith is not where one has been, but where one is going.
Again and again you are mistreated. You are lied to, cheated and stolen from. The things that you have by right, the things given to you by God, are withheld. And your freedoms, they are turned into shackles and bonds.
Your Lord Jesus Christ knows all about it. He knows you are short changed. He knows you have been denied good and evil has been returned for your deeds done in him. He counts you worthy to suffer for his name. He said of his servants that no servant is greater than his master and that it is enough for a servant to be as his master. He counts you his servant.
And you might think that you suffer not in accordance with bearing his name. Well, is good withheld from you in an undue manner? Is someone trying to take away your freedom in Christ and replace it with a worldly way or false assertion? What ought you do? How ought you combat such a thing?
Take up the sword that is the Word of God. When you are faced with lies, deceptions, half-truths, the appearance of dignity but the lack thereof, take up what God truly says. That sin is punished, but it is punished all in Christ.
This is how it will be tolerable. All the denials, all the thieving, all the withholding of what belongs to you, what God has given you. You can recall that in Christ, the sin is punished. And those who turn to him will live. Those who sin against you are forgiven freely. They can not hurt you. Their sins only hurt themselves. It is time to exalt him when you are being debased.
The Word of God will work, as it always does, it is a fiery sword, just as it is cooling waters. May those who wrong you be granted repentance, for they are in need. And you will regardless receive back all that God intends you to have. Rejoice when you are lied to, cheated and stolen from. God counts you worthy to bear it. He counts you as his. He likens you to his Son. You are his servant.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, a day of Christian Mission.
Saint Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland. He was freed and later returned to Ireland preaching the gospel.
In his freedom he proclaimed freedom. In the freedom of his body he declared the freedom of the soul. Many years later Martin Luther would also proclaim freedom. He proclaimed that the will of man is freed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He to whom the knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ has come has been freed from spiritual darkness, death and destruction. Christ has changed the course of humanity, from hell to everlasting life. To believe his sacrifice is a person’s righteousness before God is the work of God the Holy Spirit. It is what the living do: they believe on Jesus, “The Lord Our Righteousness.”
So today, on this great day, may the road rise to meet you as you walk and live in Jesus Christ your Lord.