Archive for April 3rd, 2018

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Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS:  Daniel 3:8-28  Psalm 2  Acts 13:26-33  St. Luke 24:36-49

From Today’s Appointed Gospel Reading:

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (emphasis added)

Whatever happened to repentance? The call to repentance is hardly heard in churches these days, while “fulfillment”, “your best life now” and feel good preaching fills too many pulpits, air waves and cyberspace.  While wickedness, a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah of false teaching and practice runs unabated in church and society. The crucified and risen Lord is clear: The pattern of Christ’s death and resurrection is the pattern of the apostolic message He gives to “all nations” for the apostles to proclaim:  “repentance and forgiveness of sins”.   The Law not only and merely contains our carnal instincts but the Law is spiritual as it shows us our sin and the Gospel proclaims our Savior that we can turn toward Him daily.

 The first attack by false preachers is the Law, a question as old as the devil, “Did God say?” (Genesis 3).  The devil misuses Scripture to his own purpose when he tempted the Lord in the wilderness.  Jesus’ recourse was clear: “It is written”. He knew the Bible while we live in a time of Bible-denying ‘scholars’ and ‘scholarship’.  Once the Law is denied, so is the necessity of Christ Jesus and the call to repentance go hand in His wounded hand.  The word still stands, “… repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name (Christ’s)…” to us all. Rev. Professor Johann Gerhard (+17 August 1637) wrote:

Whoever preaches forgiveness of sins without preaching repentance is not holding to Christ’s command. For He sets both together: repentance and forgiveness of sins. Wherever there is a broken and shattered heart, there Christ wants to live, Isa. 57:15, and wants to impart His blessings which He won through His death and resurrection. He, indeed, calls sinners to Himself, but (He calls them) to repent, Matt. 9:13. True repentance is the pathway by which sinners come to grace.

There is also daily living in Baptism.   Luther:  

“(Baptism) signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

We can so die and rise because He has. We must hold fast to Christ’s command.  This is for our encouragement. The “and” in “repentance and forgiveness of sins” is important as that conjunction is not an additive but connective.  Repentance without Christ’s forgiveness is tyrannical. Forgiveness without repentance is license and fantastical.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins go together in the preaching of Christ for the balm and healing our lives through faith by grace.  Repentance and forgiveness harvests in the Lord His resurrectional life.

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