Monday, August 31, 2015

Obey or not [Trinity 13; St. Luke 10:23-37]

Jesus speaks to us today, saying,
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Last week we heard of those who disobeyed Jesus and His explicit command to keep silent. Today we hear again, Jesus demanding the transgression of the Law in order that mercy be shown and not sacrifice.

Jesus demands our silence that we would hear Him speaking, because just as the Pharisee prayed loudly in the Temple, so also do our priest and Levite have loads to say, but this time with just their actions.

Again, they are simply keeping God’s Law. They are keeping themselves ritually clean in order that they would be able to offer sacrifices for the rest of Israel, their neighbors, for the forgiveness of their sins. That’s pretty noble, isn’t it?

Yes, you say, yes. Keeping God’s law and giving your life to Him should be top priority. Even Jesus says so: “You shall have no other gods”. Moses also said this to Israel when they had made a golden calf to worship, but I don’t see that here, so the priest and the Levite must be doing the right thing.

And here is Satan’s trick. He knows what God has said and he knows what Jesus is saying. If there is a chance to set those two things against each other and create unbelief, he will use it. And here it is for this lawyer: do I obey God or do I obey you, Jesus?

The correct answer is yes. Do both, for in this parable, Jesus sets two ways of salvation before you: one is the law of Moses and the other is the Gospel of Christ.

Jesus has spoken in your hearing before and said that Moses and all the prophets are summed up in one Command: love. Love God; love your neighbor as yourself. Not puppy love, friendly love, or erotic love, but all of your love. Not just Tuesday love or thank God its Friday love, but every day love.

You are commanded to love as Jesus loved; showing mercy and compassion to all, especially your enemies. You are to love by laying down your life for your friends. But what comes after that? Movies and stories love to leave a happy ending where the ultimate sacrifice was worth it, but if you lose your life for your friends or just your livelihood, have you really been a Good Samaritan, as Jesus demands?

Repent. The Law leaves room for many interpretations and allows many to walk along that path of doing good, but not completing good. The priest and the Levite show us exactly how well the Law worked for their neighbor and the many ways it can be interpreted. From your youth, you have travelled this path in your sin. When you needed to get out of trouble, it didn’t bother you one bit to lie or twist the truth, even at the expense of your neighbor.

You were once alive apart from the Law, but once God gave the Command, sin became alive and you died (Rom.7:9). No one has ever been saved through the Law, why are you trying? This wide way, even heard in God’s holy commands, is a law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2); it is a Law that kills and sin must be killed.

As holy and godly of a path as the Law of Moses presents to us, “now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law” (Rom.3:21). By commands of the Law, no one will be justified, but apart from the Law, the priests, and the Levites cometh Jesus: the righteousness of God through faith alone (Rom.3:22).

This Gospel of Christ is a gift. Justification is a gift. Righteousness is a gift, not that we nullify the Law, but that it is established, by the Lord, through Faith. Thus, Faith comes by hearing, not by works. Belief becomes the primary factor in salvation and belief comes in witnessing the words and actions of Jesus.

You may attempt to sell all you have and give it to the poor, but what about the next poor person that comes your way? What do you give to him? Jesus descends into the virgin’s womb solely in order to give everything that He has to you. And He can do that over and over again, because He is God and God has no lack.

Jesus is the Good Samaritan. Jesus purposefully walks along your wide road of sin and death in order to take you off it and give you His eternal life, because that’s the real question, right? “How do I inherit eternal life?

Jesus is the rich God who has no lack and yet sells all this, on the cross, to purchase you. An inheritor does nothing to deserve the inheritance. He is simply born to the right person. Likewise, you must be born towards God and that is accomplished through baptism.

Jesus finds you, not just half-dead, but all dead in your sin. No good works coming out of that kind of condition. Instead, Jesus gives you His good works. He allows you to be God’s neighbor, giving you the healing mercies of heaven and opening a heavenly tab for your sin that lasts for all eternity.

It is not that we want to get around God’s Law or continue to sin. It is that Jesus won’t let us pass without first going through Him. Its not that we don’t want to hallow the Law and hold it sacred, Jesus has become the man to surpass and fulfill the Law, bringing its curse of guilt and death to an end.

Truly loving God is only expressed in the divine Service where the Holy Ghost opens our eyes and our ears to understand what it really means that Christ “came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28).

If your works could have brought you sanctification, Jesus would not have been needed; Moses being good enough. If your acts of charity and kindness contributed to one iota of your godliness, Christ would not have had to suffer.

The Way that leads to Life is narrow, because it is only about one beam long and one cross-beam, across. The Way that leads to you inheriting eternal life is you being made a part of the Body of Jesus.

Truly loving your neighbor is bringing him to receive the same gifts of salvation, life, and forgiveness that you receive from the hand of Jesus. For, Jesus “gave those who believe in His Name the power to become children of God” (Heb.1:12).

That Name is placarded over a dying man on a cross. That Name is dwelling, as a man, at the Right Hand of God. That Name is sparkling and shinning in the darkness and resting upon your forehead. In the baptism of your salvation, you were set upon the Way of the Gospel of Jesus, having been washed in rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

In the Gospel of Life, your feet have been made to stand in Faith and in the Bread of life, which you eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins. In Faith, you not only know what mercy is, but also give it perfectly to others.

And, “having heard this, fall down and pray for grace and place your hope in Christ [alone] in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection. For this reason we are so instructed; for this reason the law makes us aware of sin so that, having recognized our sin, we may seek and receive grace. Thus God ‘gives grace to the humble’ (1 Pet. 5:5), and ‘whoever humbles himself will be exalted’ (Matt. 23:12). The law humbles, grace exalts.
The law effects fear and wrath, [Jesus] effects hope and mercy.” (Luther. AE 31:50)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tongue tied [Trinity 12; St. Mark 7:31-37]

God is speaking to you today, saying:
36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.

Why do we not witness all the time? Because we ourselves, in sin, do not believe completely and so our own speech has become corrupted.

Here is another conundrum Jesus presents us with: if what He has done is good and right, then why the secrecy? Why does Jesus tell these men to be quiet about things? Not just here, but in many other places in the Gospel, Jesus attempts to hush His greatest supporters.

That is very backward. In your world, you talk up anything you are interested or invested in. This has a two-fold effect: 1) you become the expert in advising your neighbor and 2) whatever product it is, has more business drummed up for it.

In the first effect you talk a good game about how its been helpful, useful, and perfect for your situation. Your neighbor is most likely on the fence about such things, but you have the answer and you make sure he knows it. Your first-hand experience puts you in the know and that is all the authority you need.

In the second effect, the product now has free advertising by word of mouth. This drums up more sales and makes the item that much more popular and usable, because if you don’t have an item that actually works, then your business won’t get far.

This Scriptural event does not just speak to good economics, but also how you live your life. What are the sorts of things you talk people’s ears off about? Where is your area of expertise? Usually, whatever you are studying at the moment, becomes that something. If you are studying Political Science, you are a politician expert. If you are working with machines or cars, then you talk about it.

If we are talking about Church and religion, now that is a different story, because anyone can be an expert there, can’t they? God speaks to all people, so you can all read God’s Word and understand what it means for yourselves. It doesn’t matter if you were educated in this area, all can understand.

So you are all experts at religion and every time it comes up in conversation, it turns into an argument, for that reason. In this field, everyone is right and no one is wrong. You are all little popes and claim authority over everyone else, knowing that you are right.

If you were to take this same approach and apply it to everyday life, you would have no need of lawyers, judges, or doctors because you could all be our own saviors.

Repent! You no more talk up the Scriptures than you talk about your private, reputation destroying sins, to anyone. You have so little desire to speak of the Gospel, because you don’t understand it as completely as you thought. More to the point, you don’t believe as perfectly as you imagined.

Why is it so hard to talk religion? Because in sin, you don’t believe. Your tongue gets all twisted and tied because all you have on your religion card is “Play nice”. Your ears are closed to those who think differently because forgiveness is the last thing to come from your arguments.

Why does Jesus command silence? Because in sin, these men don’t believe. Even though Scripture says right there that they did believe, they needed the cross. Yes, they did believe and so did the Apostles, but where were they in the Garden of Gethsemane? Where were they at the trial of Jesus? Where were they at the crucifixion?

Dear Christians, Jesus commands your silence, because He is about to speak. Jesus commands your inaction, because He is about to act. Jesus causes the Apostles, the disciples, and His own Creation to desert Him, because He is the only one who can make satisfaction for our sins, upon the cross.

The Gospel is God’s Word of salvation, not yours. In your sin, you are the deaf, stammering man and Jesus is the speech therapist. Though, where therapists only give what was already given to them, Jesus speaks and He creates speaking for you.

Jesus speaks and He gives new words never heard before, in His Gospel. These new words tell of a cross. These new words create Faith and give everlasting life. These new words declare a crucified and risen Son of God.

This is why the men in the Gospel can not help but disobey Jesus when He commands silence. The Gospel is so great that it simply overflows and a person can not help but talk about it. The Gospel is such, that it does its own preaching. It does not need opinions, study, or metaphors. It simply needs a tongue and a Savior.

In this deaf and stammering man’s case, it simply needs water and the Word.

Baptism is divine spittle. Baptism is the means of Grace by which the Word enters this man and you. Baptism doesn’t just fill your ears, but your mouth, your eyes, your nose, your entire body, draining it of sin in a death like Jesus’ and when that water falls off, so does the deafness, the stammering, the blindness, and the death, in a resurrection like Jesus’.

Yet, the water of baptism never really falls off of you. The old water drains out, leaving a spring of everlasting life in you, flowing from the Christ that became a slave to sin to set you free. Filled with Jesus Himself, you now understand things previously hidden from you. With the Word of God, Jesus speaks of earthly washing and earthly opening of the ears and tongue, and we, by the cross, understand the heavenly meaning in that.

That is: salvation. It would seem to be better business if Jesus were to allow everyone to be an expert and spread the Gospel however they liked. Things would move a lot quicker, at least. Or would they? However, it is best if just one is the expert and spreads the Gospel in the only, true way: by Blood.

So, Christ is the expert. We find our words of witness or evangelism only in Him, just as we find comfort and rest only in His promises. There is no other way. If salvation is being worked out within us, it is by the grace of God. If the Holy Spirit dwells within us, it is by the Word of God.

If we are becoming more Christ-like, it is by the water, Word, Body and Blood of Jesus, the Crucified. That is Good news, indeed.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Preaching Office [Trinity 11; St. Luke 18:9-14]

Today, we once again hear Christ speak to us, saying,
“The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’”

Our only sure hope and comfort is Scripture alone. It is God’s holy and complete Word to us; not how we want to hear it, but how Jesus wants to tell it. The Lord gave the Word; spoke this Word so that those who hear would also read, mark, learn and inwardly digest for their eternal comfort and return to that same Word, knowing that they will find the same Lord.

Thus, when a teacher of the Church, the Pharisee, preaches this prayer in our hearing, and everyone else's at the Temple, we need to take note, for Jesus tells us that,
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” (Mt.23)

In the Pharisee’s prayer we hear good things. Actually we hear great things; godly things; things that God has commanded of His believing people. You can not throw away this prayer just yet.

First the Pharisee thanks God and our second Commandment from God tells us to give Him thanks at all times. Secondly, the Pharisee teaches us the promises of God; that because of God’s mercy and kindness, you are not like other men, for God has set you apart.

If you are a decent citizen you are not an extortioner, not unjust, and not an adulterer. Decent folk just don’t act this way. You have never cheated anyone out of their welfare. You have never wronged anyone that didn’t wrong you and you have not gotten divorced or caused another to divorce.

You are not like other men, by the grace of God. You fast twice a week and you give your tithe. You put in your good work at the church and by rights and that is good enough. Maybe you miss a Sunday or 2 or 3, but you volunteer and give your dues. That should be good enough for this place.

In fact, God is just waiting to bestow eternal life on the one who works the most justice, champions the most worthy lost causes, and follows God’s commands perfectly. And when you compare yourself to some of these other slobs around you, you are at least in the top 10 and have a good shot at being a good enough Christian.

By this public prayer, this Pharisee is teaching you how to live before God. Do this; don’t do that. And this is familiar and seems reasonable, after all this is how our parents raised us; do right, don’t do wrong, do your best and God will do the rest.

Hopefully, many of you have begun your fasting, because Jesus says our Father rewards those who fast in secret (Mt. 6).
Hopefully, many have begun and continue to tithe. Lord knows this Church could use the extra income and there is blessing that comes with tithing. The Lord says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Mal.3:10)

Repent! Where is your tithe in the budget? Where is your fasting? More importantly, where is the blessing God promised me, that one time I did tithe and fast? In disregarding the teaching of the Pharisee, you have become twice a son of satan as he is, because you have despised God’s Word.

This is the danger and the importance of preaching in the Church. Not only are we to hear of the true disparity between how God wants us to be and how we really are, but without hearing the Word of God, out loud, faith is not produced.

The Preaching Office is the Office that produces faith and faith comes by hearing. Gabriel spoke, St. Mary believed and Jesus was conceived. Jesus spoke to St. Paul and he was converted from violent oppressor to pastor and Apostle.

Whenever the Lord preaches, things happen. Jesus preached creation into existence. Jesus preached righteousness into Abraham. Jesus preached the Law to Moses. Jesus has always spoken and He continues to speak. Should He ever stop speaking, you would cease to exist.

What it means to be sustained by God is that you are constantly and wonderfully preached about so that your body and soul remain and live.

Dear Christians, the preaching of Jesus does not end with the Pharisee. It does not even end with the tax collector being justified before the Lord. His preaching tells of the one Who has received God’s blessing and kept all the Commandments perfectly. Christ’s Preaching points to the cross, ends at the cross, and points back to the cross.

Jesus, in preaching all of creation into being, gave us a picture of how powerful the Gospel, the Word, is to save. In the sermon justifying Abraham, Jesus taught that it is by faith that we are saved, not by works. In sermonizing St. Mary, Jesus taught that the Lamb of God will preach and take away the sin of the world as both God and man, on the cross.

Preaching is nothing but cross-talk; talking about Christ on the cross. Any one who calls himself a preacher better have Christ Crucified as the object and actor in his sermons or he is teaching and preaching falsely. To preach means to give the Gospel to hard-hearted Pharisees and completely depraved tax collectors, that they might find rest from their labors and struggles.

Unfortunately for the Pharisee, he is sure that he does not need the cross. He thanks God, not for mercy from above, but for His kingly generosity on earth. He offers not Christ on the cross, but his own works to prove that heaven and all blessings are his by rights. He fasts and tithes, but does not hold the Word of God as sacred and neglects to gladly hear and learn of his Messiah. (Rom. 2:15)

Which is exactly what the tax collector asks for. The tax collector hears his teacher’s prayer and understands how far short his life truly falls, from what his God demands of him. He also hears and understands that no amount of “living right” will get him up to the standards of his teacher, much less God.

It is there, then, that the preaching of Christ awakens a need inside of you for atonement. You hear and understand that you need your deeds buried so far in the earth that they never see the light of day again. You hear and understand that the miserable condition of your heart is so dire, that eternal death seems to be the only way out and you can barely lift your eyes towards the heavenly altar.

This is where the sinner is justified: where his works and life ends and Christ work and life begin. The Gospel of God is the power of salvation to all who believe. The Gospel is that Christ has covered all your works, in His blood. The Gospel is that Christ has atoned for your inability and your sin. The Gospel is that you are a baptized child of paradise.

You know this because it has just been preached to you and you did not know it before hand or you had forgotten. The Law is easy to apply to ourselves: how can I make my faith better, how can I get right with God, how can I make God give me blessings instead of all this hardship?

Whereas, the Gospel is foreign and therefore less pleasing to the hard worker. It does not sit well with the wage-earner, the moralist, or the golden boys. For in it, all has been accomplished. There is nothing for you to do or earn.

Your faith is as full and complete as it ever will be. The greatest power in all the universe is the Word of God; spoken at creation, made flesh on Christmas, suffering and dying on Good Friday, rising again on Easter, and today, in this Green season of the Church, offering Himself, the True Word of God, Body and Blood, to your lips and to your tongue for the forgiveness of sins.

For the Word is Christ and Christ crucified is what is preached to you, for you.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Anger and peace [Trinity 10; St. Luke 19:41-48]

Jesus speaks in your hearing today, saying,
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold;”

Because of this, your catechism teaches you Confession; that “…when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, in particular when they exclude openly unrepentant sinners from the Christian congregation and absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with us Himself.”

When we deal with God in His majesty, we come up against very hard things. One of those is the anger of God. What further grinds our gears is that the Bible is apparently contradictive on this subject, saying both that God is angry and that anger is not found in Him.

In attempting to ponder God on His throne, you have no recourse but to think about it in a way you understand: that is, human anger. In doing so, you hear God being cruel, unjust, oppressive, and angry. At that point in your reasoning, God either must be appeased with a sacrifice or He is not a true god at all.

So, seeing Him as a volcano god set to blow at any moment, you amend your thoughts and your ways to line up with His thoughts and ways. You attempt to give God all the glory and obey Him in true submission. Thinking that you are giving your whole life to appease this angry God, you feel secure in your choice.

Yet, God’s commands continue for your life and come like a whip. If you go this way, and its wrong CRACK. If say this and its wrong CRACK. If you make a wrong choice, hoo watch out boy, here come that scourge of cords to keep you on the straight and narrow.

All you can rely on is your own feelings as to which is God’s will and which is the opposite. You have no divine intervention; you have no direct revelation and God has stopped speaking to you in your prayers. Conscience must now dictate what the volcano-god says and it must not be bound to the letter, lest you quench the spirit.

Repent. Your conscience no more knows God’s will than a mosquito knows he’s about to meet your windshield at 70 mph. You pondering God in human terms does not bring you closer to the truth, but closer to unbelief, because God is angry with sin. He will not relent, and He does demand sacrifice.

God says to His own people, “And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.” (Jer.21:5)
Now it would be different if it were directed at those other folks, but at His own people??

Dear Christians our enemies are sin, death, and the devil. When Jesus fights; when Jesus goes to war, it is against these things that He directs His wrath. When God becomes angry, it is because there is something else that is trying to usurp His place as the true Shepherd.

It pleased the Lord to crush His Servant. When Jesus scoured the Temple, He wasn’t just throwing His weight around. Jesus was showing us what was going to happen to Him. That He was going to become unclean, for our sakes, and that He was going to endure the wrath of God against His enemies, on our behalf.

As Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice on the cross, the true Temple is purified. The earthly Temple needed Jesus to come back more than once and chase these blasphemers out, but Jesus only needed once upon the cross.

The Temple is an earthly sign that points to Jesus. The Lamb of God is the True Temple and His Body is its resting place. Upon the cross, Jesus dies to sin. He literally carries sin, death, and the devil with Him into the grave and leaves them there.

He then rises three days later without sin, or spot, or wrinkle. Jesus, in His resurrected glory, ascends to the Right Hand of the Father, lives and reigns to all eternity.

In this work of Jesus, salvation is offered to the entire world. You are purchased by this innocent suffering and death, because those sins were not Christ’s. It was your anger that Jesus paid for.

What this has to do with you is this: Just as Jesus went into His own Temple to cleanse it, instead of all the pagan ones in the area, so today does Jesus come to His own Church to purify her.

There is no sacrifice for sin outside of the Church and for this reason, Jesus sends pastors. These are the men of whom Jesus says, “Whoever hears you, hears me.” Because of the Word of God, the pastor has this authority, and only because he would speak the words of Jesus.

In the Church, Jesus offers communion with Himself. Thus, the Church is not to believe the words of the pastor, but the Word of Jesus. In the Word we hear of absolution freely given. IN the Word, we hear of the Blood that purchases us and In the Word we believe and so we receive.

By Faith alone does the sinner grasp that it is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. So that when faith hears God’s anger, repentance is produced and the sinner falls to his knees as a beggar.

He falls in faith and is rewarded, for his Savior does not leave him in the death of his sins, but cleanses and purifies. Jesus does not destroy the Temple He sanctifies it. It is destroyed, but the True Temple stands forever, for it is the Body of Christ.

Thus, in baptism, you have been incorporated into the scourged and purified Body of Jesus. The scourge of God’s wrath has flown through and removed all sin, all pain, and all sorrow. The holy place you stand in now, by the Word of God, has been cleansed and is offered to you.

For today, as we look at the cross and commune in the Lord’s sacraments, we find that the anger of God is not directed at us, but at His Son. Jesus bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies, and the mockery and yet replies, “All this I gladly suffer.”

Jesus, Who built the earth’s foundation, is laid into the grave, for by His passion we share in the fruit of His salvation. When you hear, with your physical ear, the words of Christ’s absolution, spoken by a man, it is Jesus speaking.

When faith hears, “given and shed for the forgiveness of sins”, you believe and receive exactly what those words say.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Soli deo Gloria [Trinity 9; St. Luke 16:1-9]

We hear Jesus today, speaking to us, saying,
“The Lord commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.”

Giving God the glory. What does that mean? There are many people who just love to “give God the glory” and how I understand it is: first, they do something nice or unselfish, then, if asked about it, they will simply say that God get’s the glory for it.

On the surface, this seems legit. God has all the glory anyway so of course you would agree that all good things come from above and you would also want to give God credit instead of boasting in our works. That’s just called being humble. This gives the appearance of our having a passive role and God, the active.

But what are you really giving to God? If He already has all the glory, can you give Him more? Also, why are you only giving God the glory when good things happen?

Is God not worthy of glory when He sends us trials? But, that would defeat the purpose of believing that God is love; that He is only around and responsible for happy-happy, joy-joy things.

If you are truthful with yourself, you will see that giving God the glory in this way is selfish, egotistical, and un-biblical. It is not God’s glory you are lifting up in your works, it is your own. You want to feel good and you want to look Christian doing it.

Allah akbar is a phrase we may all be familiar with. It means Allah is greatest. Subhan-allah would be Arabic for “give glory to Allah”. And the list including all those who offer glory to some god, in the same way, goes on and on and on. With everyone offering glory to their own god, does ours even get any?

Repent. God does not want part of the glory and neither does He want a sin-filled glory that sinners offer. Consider the dishonest manager of the Gospel. What is praised by his Lord? It is not good works nor is it glory given. It is a job well done.

However, the dishonest manager’s prudence is no prudence. In fact, he fails completely and neglects to collect his Lord’s debts fully. But, it is exactly in this shrewdness that he is praised. Why? Because, by it, God will reveal mercy, not sacrifice.

Jesus says that He glorified the Father on earth having accomplished the work that the Father gave Him to do. And in the same prayer, He demands that God glorify Him. This is a might backwards from our giving glory to God, no?

Here is Jesus, demanding God glorify Him. Why? Because the Father has promised to Glorify the Son and the Son has fulfilled the glory of the Father. You see, God’s glory was never ours to begin with. The glory of the Trinity fills only that which it encompasses and that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is glorified upon the cross. You could almost say that, in order to truly “give God the glory”, you would have to have a hand in crucifying the God-man, Jesus.

If you were serious about giving God the glory, you would need to want to take the place of those roman soldiers and nail Jesus upon that tree yourself; you would want to replace the Pharisees’ false witness with your own false witness, in order to put Jesus, the Christ, to death.

This is because the glory of God resides with the Son, sent to atone for the sins of the whole world, on the cross. In the dishonest manager’s foolish shrewdness, the true nature of his Lord is revealed: that He is self-sacrificial and forgiving and he is praised for it.

In your sin, your Savior is truly revealed. Not that you continue in willful sin, but that your sinful nature continues, and in your own dishonest managing of God’s glory, your Redeemer is shown to be the most merciful in granting full pardon and remission of all your debts to Him.

The Glory of God hangs on the cross. The Glory of God suffers and dies in order to purchase you. The Glory of God rises again, from the dead. The Glory of God sits at the right hand of the Father, in Glory, so that you may share in God’s glory.

The glory of God is a gift. Being baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, you are now bathed in this glory, that only the Son has. Having heard the life-giving word of the Cross, you are clothed with the Glory of God.

The Sacraments are where God’s glory is given, not just to us, but also to God. We receive God’s glory, through His Son, but also, in our receiving these things from the Holy Spirit, we show that God’s promises are true; that He keeps His Word, and that they are for us, simply by taking and eating. In doing so, God gets the glory.

How can this be? Because it is not just water; it is not just words; and it is not just bread and wine. These are the promises of God. This is where heaven meets earth and earth must repent of its sinfulness and be forgiven. For, Jesus has not come for the righteous, but for sinners.

So give glory to God for all things. Give glory to God in your sinfulness, for it is not about you, but about Jesus Who absolves you. It is about you believing in the words and promises of God. And these words and promises, found in baptism, the Gospel, and the Lord’s Supper, are how God works in this world.

Jesus will only reveal His Glory to His Church, for she is His beloved bride. So, it is only with her and in her Divine Service that He truly wants His glory to be known. In the Sacraments, our Lord shows His glory in sacrificing Himself completely and giving it freely.

For whoever believes these words: “given and shed for the forgiveness of sins” along with bodily eating and drinking, has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sins.” In this light we say, glory be to God, for in offering His Son and baptizing us into His Son, He has done all things well.

To Christ alone be the Glory.