#DailyDevotion Being Great In The Kingdom Of God

#DailyDevotion Being Great In The Kingdom Of God

Matt. 1815“If your brother sins against you, go and point out his sin to him when you’re alone with him. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16But if he won’t listen, take one or two with you so that you have two or three witnesses to establish every word. 17If he won’t listen to them, tell it to the church. But if he won’t even listen to the church, treat him like a pagan and a tax collector. 18I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you set free on earth will be free in heaven. 19“Again I tell you, if two of you here on earth agree to ask for anything, My Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Where two or three have been brought together in My name, there I am among them.”

In a conversation about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus finishes answering the question with these words. Matthew eighteen here is probably one of the best known passages in Matthew but unfortunately isn’t one of the best practiced passages. What I mean by that is when we have been sinned against many times we go about telling everyone but the person who aggrieved us that we have been done wrong. This unfortunately ends up driving a wedge deeper between you and your brother. In the not so distant past we would do it on the schoolyard, beauty shop or barbershop. Today we text, tweet, Facebook, TicToc and the like.

But the person who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven is he, who when sinned against, first goes to his brother, privately, in order to call him to repentance and win back the brother. Yes, before we go off and talk to other people about what happened to us, we first go to the person who sinned against us. The purpose for this going to the person is not to feel better and more superior than the accused. The purpose is to win the brother back as a brother.

If that doesn’t work (and you don’t have to just once privately), Jesus suggest taking a witness along. This is to have others rightly establish the facts of what happened. It isn’t to gang up on the person to force them to repent. Having established the facts, if you are in the right and the other person needs to repent, they may then join you in calling the person to repent. Now of course the third part can only truly happen if the accused is a member of your congregation, your church. If the accused agrees to the facts of the “case” with the church but refused to repent of this actions, the church now may do what Jesus gave to Peter earlier, to bind his sin to him. If he does repent, the church may also loose his sin from him. He would then be treated as a pagan or a taxcollector.

We should note that context of binding and loosing here, the whatever here, is sins and forgiveness. It isn’t about making up doctrine. We have this great promise from Jesus when we gather in his name, he is there with us to retain the sins of the unrepentant and to forgive or loose the sins of the repentant. For this reason, a congregation can call a pastor, for the congregation possesses the keys from Jesus and through them Jesus calls a man to be his representative to the congregation, to bind and to loosen sins, to preach, to teach, to absolve, and to administer the sacraments.

In summary, to forgive those who sin against us is to be great in the kingdom of heaven.

Heavenly Father, grant us the wisdom of the Holy Spirit when we are sinned against, so we may be able to win our brothers over to repent of their sins and we can bestow upon them your forgiveness and gain our brother back. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Temptations Are Sure To Come. Don’t Be The Tempter

#DailyDevotion Temptations Are Sure To Come. Don’t Be The Tempter

Matt. 186“If anyone leads into sin one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him to have a big millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the sea where it’s deep. 7Woe to the world because it tempts people to sin! Temptations to sin must come, but woe to that man who tempts others to sin! 8“If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to go into life without one hand or one foot than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the everlasting fire. 9If your eye makes you sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to go into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire. 10“Be careful not to despise one of these little ones. I tell you their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven.

Still having the little kid in their midst, Jesus starts talking about temptation, tempting others and dealing with sin in ourselves. Temptations are bound to come. First, we have our own sinful flesh which is in constant rebellion to the will of God. Paul writes Rom. 7:14, “I am flesh, sold to be a slave of sin.” Again in verse 18 he says, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh.” All we need is a commandment from the LORD and we are ready to break it. Jesus also tells us in verse seven the world we live in tempts us to sin. The sins of the world are covetousness, riches and pleasures. Finally, there is the devil with all his minions trying to tempt us into sin. Yet we are promised, if we resist them, they will flee from us, at least for a moment. We are to remain vigilant.

But woe to us if we are agent of tempting those who believe in Jesus Christ, the LORD! It’s bad enough when our flesh, the world and the devil tempt us into sin. If we ourselves become the agents of tempting God’s people it will not go well for us, particularly the children who trust in Jesus. See how Jesus warns us that it would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone (that’s a big round flat stone used for grinding wheat) and be cast into the sea. Drowning isn’t pleasant. As God’s people we are to be encouraging others to do good and not to sin. Tempting others to sin is like losing our saltiness. What good are we then?

To show us the severity of sin look what Jesus tells us to do to avoid it. If our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. If our hand causes us to sin, cut it off. If our foot leads us to sin, cut it off. Jesus is most certainly using hyperbole here to make a point. What causes the eye, the hand, and foot to sin? They don’t have a mind of their own. Several chapters earlier Jesus told us 1519 “Yes, out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, stealing, lies, slanders.” Why you will need to cut your heart out, but not your physical heart but your spiritual one. You need a heart transplant. You need a new mind and a new spirit.

The good news is Jesus can give us a new heart, mind and spirit. Through baptism the Holy Spirit gives us faith, justifies us, regenerates us and renews us into the image and likeness to Jesus. He continually renews and transforms our hearts and minds with his word, namely the forgiveness of sins, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Being declared and made a child of the Father we have the assurance of the angels interceding for us to his glorious face that we may overcome sin and temptation, finally being preserved in our faith unto life everlasting.

Merciful God and Father, continually renew us with your grace and mercy so we do not fall into sin nor tempt others to the end we persevere in the faith until we see your son’s kingdom in the world to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion If You Want To Be Great, You Need To Grow Down

#DailyDevotion If You Want To Be Great, You Need To Grow Down

Matt. 18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a little child and had him stand in front of them. 3“I tell you the truth,” He said to them, “if you aren’t converted and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. 4If you become humble like this little child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And if you welcome a child like this in My name, you welcome Me.”

It’s been suggested by at one of my professors at seminary Jesus has a sense of humor. Being he is truly human, this must be so. We can that here in this discourse. The disciples ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” They’re being serious. This is a big issue for them. What does Jesus do? He puts a child in their midst.

Now, thanks to Jesus and Christians all over the world, children have a different worth now they did then. In Jesus’ day, children were chattel, a mere possession. Male children were perhaps valued a little because of their potential but not much more than female children. Even in my lifetime, people’s attitude towards children has changed. I was born in the 60’s and I distinctly remember my grandmother putting me in my place, “Children should be seen and not heard.”

Yet for all that, Jesus places a child in their midst and says, “if you aren’t converted and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. 4If you become humble like this little child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” So much of what we try to do to be great and become Christians often times says we need to grow up first and become like adults. Jesus says we need to grown down and be like children. If we want to be great, we must become humble like a child.

Now when I think of humility I don’t think about children. Everything for them is about them. So humble here must mean something different than what we are thinking. What is Jesus thinking? He says we must be converted, changed and be like little children. How do those two thing come together? Well there is this, children are extremely needy. They cannot take care of themselves. Oftentimes we have to help them with everything. To be converted and be humble like a child is recognize you can’t do anything. You must go to God for help. God must give you what you need. Your own power, strength and reason will not do.

If you go to God in Jesus’ name and say, “I can’t do what is necessary to enter here. I need you to let me in.” You have grown down and become like a child. If you become beggars to God and your only hope is Jesus, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Trusting in Jesus alone, even in his name is what makes you great in the reign and rule of God. Depending solely on Jesus and his gifts is being humble like a child. So great is Jesus’ name that Jesus says if you welcome a child in his name you welcome him. So quit trying to get people to grow up before bringing them into the womb of the Church. Help them to grow down and be like children who need everything. Christ Jesus in God will provide.

Heavenly Father, help us by your Holy Spirit, to become humble like little children, turn to you for all our help and to bear the name of your son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Loved His Neighbor, I.E. You

#DailyDevotion Jesus Loved His Neighbor, I.E. You

Romans 138Don’t owe anyone anything but to love one another. If you love the other person, you have kept the Law. 9The commandments: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” and any others are summed up in this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to another person. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Remember, Christianity is not a list of dos and don’ts. Sure, much of chapters twelve and following have a lot of dos and don’ts but they are all just illustrative of the verses above. We are to owe nothing to anyone but to love one another. When we are indebted to others then they can exert a certain amount of pressure over us to possibly do things they want us to do which may not be in line with the will of God. It can get us into more trouble than it is worth.

To love one another though is a much higher calling than being indebted to someone. For when we love one other we are called to self-sacrificial for the other person’s benefit. To show love to others is do them only good without causing harm to others. We may though, in the course of showing love, cause harm or loss to ourselves, because this love is sacrificial, even as our LORD Jesus Christ’s love toward us is sacrificial.

So in loving one another, we are fulfilling the Torah. Paul lists several of the commandments from the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) and says any other commandments as well are kept when we love our neighbor as ourselves. Love does no harm to another person. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Now much of chapters one through eleven are about keeping the commandment to trust in Jesus, the one whom God has sent. Jesus says in John 6, 29“What God wants you to do,” Jesus answered them, “is to believe in Him Whom He sent.” Jesus said in Matt. 2237“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39The next is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” John writes in 1 John 3, 23“He orders us to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and to love one another as He has ordered us to do.” James calls “loving your neighbor as yourself” is keeping the royal law. These two things go hand in hand, trusting in Christ and loving your neighbor. From trusting in Christ who loved his enemies (us), his neighbors (us) by his sacrificial death flows from us love for our neighbor, the guy next to us in everyday life.

John would remind us in his epistle, as well as James, if we do not show love for the neighbor who we can see, we cannot be loving God whom we cannot see. Love for our neighbor demonstrates our love for God. Our neighbor is the image and likeness of God. How we treat him is how we treat God. Do you want to show God how much you love and trust him? Show sacrificial love for the person in front of you. For that is what God has done for you in Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father, you have shown your great love for us by sending your Son Jesus Christ to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may show our thanks and love towards you by loving sacrificially the person in front of us today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Your Leaders Are Appointed By God

#DailyDevotion Your Leaders Are Appointed By God

Rom. 13 Everyone should obey the government that is over him, because there is no government except that which is put there by God. God has ordered our government to be over us. 2Then anyone who is against the government opposes what God has ordered, and those who oppose will be condemned. 3If you do right, you don’t have to be afraid of those who rule, but only if you do wrong. Would you like to live without being afraid of your government? Do what is right, and it will praise you. 4It is God’s servant to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid, because the government doesn’t carry a sword without a purpose. It is God’s servant, an avenger, who must punish anyone doing wrong. 5You must obey, then, not only because God punishes wrong but also because your conscience tells you to obey. 6That is why you also pay taxes. Men in the government serve God and are busy doing their work. 7Pay to all whatever you owe them. If you owe anyone tribute, pay tribute; if taxes, then taxes; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Perhaps the most asked question when this text comes up is, “Must I do everything the government says?” The answer is a resounding yes, unless God forbids what the government is commanding or is telling you to not to do something God commands. The elders in Jerusalem commanded the apostles not to preach Jesus. They had to refuse. Rome commanded Christians to offer a pinch of incense to the emperor or his image, an act of worship. Christians refused and were persecuted for it. What about a law that is unjust? You should love your neighbor.

Remember the emperor at the time Paul writes this is Nero Caesar, one of the worst of the Roman emperors. Paul says he was placed there by God. This is probably the most offensive to our American, democratic ears that our votes are actually the hand of God, choosing for him as his instrument who will lead our country. No matter what party here you belong to or don’t , your voting or abstaining to vote, is placing the person in the office of president God has chosen. That goes also for all your representatives and governors. That goes for everyone appointed. The LORD had chosen and raised up many a pagan king to accomplish what he wants through them.

What this does not mean is those persons God has placed in positions of authority have a Carte Blanche to do whatever they want. They are each responsible to God who has placed in that position. If they do good, they are doing God’s will. If they do evil, as we see in Romans chapter eight, God will still use that for the good of his people, but they will answerable to God for what they have done.

For these reasons, we should, for conscience sake, obey the government. We should pay taxes, give honor or give respect for those in authority over us. Thankfully in our system of government in the States, we can promote someone we think is good or better to take the place of someone we think is bad. We can voice or protest over injustices. We can petition our leaders to do something different or change things. Yet for the sake of Jesus’ name we give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. We promote Christ Jesus by doing that is good and being honorable citizens.

Heavenly Father, give us a spirit of humility to submit to the authorities placed over us and wisdom and courage to face inequities and justice with rights we have under our government to do so, to give glory to you and your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Do You Have A Watchman In Your Life?

#DailyDevotion Do You Have A Watchman In Your Life?

Ezekiel 337“So I have appointed you, son of man, as a watchman for Israel; listen to what I say and warn them for Me. 8When I tell the wicked man, You will certainly die, wicked man,’ and you say nothing to warn the wicked man to stop what he’s doing, that wicked man will die for his wrong, but I will hold you responsible for his death. 9But when you warn a wicked man to leave his ways and turn from them, but he doesn’t turn from his ways, then he shall die for his wrong, but you have saved your life.

Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the exile of the Jews in Babylon. You might remember the Jews had rebelled against the LORD by not obeying his commands, doing injustice, and worshiping other gods. The rebelled against the prophets the LORD had sent to them, mistreated them and even killed them.

Ezekiel was a priest in the exile who was also called to be a prophet by the LORD, the God of Israel. Now we see here in this text Ezekiel receiving another call or perhaps an amplification or explanation of that call of prophet. He is called to be a watchman for Israel. What does this call of watchmen entail? He is to warn the Jews when the LORD tells him to warn them.

He is not to speak to groups of Jews at large but also to individual ones as well. When the LORD speaks to him to warn a wicked man he will die because of his sins, Ezekiel is called to warn him. If Ezekiel doesn’t warn him, then Ezekiel will be responsible for the death the LORD brings upon the wicked man. What does that mean? It means Ezekiel will lose his part in the world to come if he doesn’t open his mouth and warn the man. Conversely, if Ezekiel does warn the man to leave his ways and the man doesn’t listen to him, then the man will still die for his wrong but Ezekiel will have saved his own life.

So what does this have to do with you and me? Has everyone been called to be a watchman? The Church over history has certainly thought that its pastors have been called to be the LORD’s watchmen. The text is often quoted in an man’s ordination and installation into a congregation. Men take up this mantle with great trepidation because they know they are accountable to the LORD for what they say and what they don’t say. What does this mean? It means when your pastor comes to you and rebukes you because of some sin you are involved with, you should not rebel against his rebuke. You should not hate him for it. You shouldn’t start planning his demise. If you do, you will find that you will be fighting against the LORD God Almighty himself. No, you should thank him for the rebuke and repent, thereby saving your soul from eternal damnation. He takes no pleasure in rebuking you and warning you. It is like facing death from you every time he opens his mouth to correct your behavior. But there is the LORD he has to face also if he does not.

Does this apply to laymen, to you? Certainly everyone is called to rebuke the sin of their fellow believers, but they do not face the same threat from the LORD if they do not. They have not been called by him to rebuke and to speak in his name.

Heavenly Father, in your great mercy you call men into the office of the ministry to teach, rebuke and forgive the sins of your people. Grant them the courage to so and grant us willing hearts that will receive their correction with love and thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Pick Up Your Cross & Follow Jesus

#DailyDevotion Pick Up Your Cross & Follow Jesus

Matt. 1624Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If you want to follow Me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and come with Me. 25If you want to save your soul, you will lose it. But if you will lose your soul for Me, you will find it. 26What good will it do you to win the whole world and lose your soul? Or what would you give to buy back your soul? 27The Son of Man is going to come with His angels in His Father’s glory, and then He will give each one according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will never taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Well, wait Jesus. You want me to do what? Deny myself? Take up my cross? That is what is means to be your disciple and follow you? Well, the isn’t what a lot of people think of when they sign up for Christianity. It certainly isn’t the message we hear often on TV and radio and isn’t on any of the top ten Christian books.

Jesus is certainly preparing his disciples for what is to come after he himself is crucified, risen and ascended into heaven. They can expect persecution for the sake of Jesus’ name.  They can expect to be jailed, beaten and hunted down like criminals. They can be expected to suffer loss of property, esteem and honor. They can be expected to be tortured and executed on account of his name. It was that way for the early Church and it has been that way for Christians and in many places and times during our wait for Christ to return.

To deny oneself, to take up your cross even in the best of times and places for Christians is to think of others as more honorable than oneself. It is to sacrifice your time and money to help those in need. It is to have mercy on those who do not deserve it. It is to forgive people to have sinned against you and hurt you. It is to show your enemies, the poor, the oppressed, and anyone else who society and you don’t deserve it the same mercy, kindness and love God has shown you in Christ Jesus.

We have a warning. A very strict warning is given to us, if we are unwilling to suffer loss for the sake of the name of Christ, we will not inherit eternal life. We must be willing and carryout in our lives this loss and cross for the sake of the name of Jesus. To be unwilling to suffer loss and bear the crosses given us to bear is to show we do not believe in the promise Christ has given us for the world to come. What is this world and all of its trappings? It is wasting away, a transitory treasure. What is your life here? It too will end in death and then where will be your honor, wealth and life?

Jesus is coming again with his holy angels to judge the world as it was revealed in Daniel seven. He will give to each one according to his deeds. Will you have borne the cross trusting in Jesus or did instead scorn the name of Jesus to live at ease? Was your faith in Jesus which is rewarded with eternal life in his kingdom or was it in someone or something else? Jesus gave up his life on the cross so you can have eternal life. Accept the crosses and losses of this life for his sake and enter into the eternal home and rewards he offers to you.

Heavenly Father, grant us such faith in your Son Jesus Christ, that as the moment requires it of us we may suffer loss, bear our crosses and even death so at his revelation we may live and reign with him in his kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion What Sort Of Messiah Are You Looking For?

#DailyDevotion What Sort Of Messiah Are You Looking For?

Matt. 1621After this, Jesus Christ kept pointing out to His disciples He had to go to Jerusalem, suffer much from the elders, ruling priests, and Bible scholars, be killed, and then on the third day rise. 22But Peter took Him aside and started to correct Him, “God be merciful to You, Lord! This must never happen to You!” 23Turning, He said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You’re tempting Me, because you’re not thinking what God thinks but what men think.”

What is before this? Peter’s great confession as to who Jesus, the Son of Man is. Remember from last week the Jews had all sorts of ideas as to who the Son of Man is; what sort of person the Messiah was going to be. The apostles themselves also had their own ideas as to what it meant to be the Messiah. So after Peter’s grand and true confession as to who Jesus, the Son of Man is, Jesus tells them what sort of Messiah the predicted Messiah from the Scriptures was going to be.

So Jesus kept pointing out to them what sort of Messiah the bible said would come. He taught them that he would have to go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed and third day rise from the dead. So we see from Genesis chapter 3 that Messiah, the promised woman’s seed would have his heal struck by the serpent. We see from Abraham offering his only begotten son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah that God’s only begotten son would be offered as a sacrifice to the LORD on that same spot, i.e. Jerusalem. From Psalm 118 we see the rulers, the priests, i.e. the builders would reject Jesus as the Messiah. From Psalm 22 we see what sort of suffering the Messiah would have to endure. From Isaiah 53 we see how the suffering of the Messiah would win eternal salvation for all people. Psalm 16 and the book of Jonah teaches us the Messiah will rise again from the dead. Psalm 110 teaches us the Messiah will sit at the right hand of God in majesty, honor, glory and might. Daniel 7 teaches us after the Messiah’s ascension he will return in glory to raise the day and give judgment to the people of the earth.

This understanding of the Messiah was too much for Peter. He seems like many other Jews that the Messiah should simply knock the heads of all of Israel’s temporal enemies and establish an earthly kingdom like that of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans. That is the thinking of Satan and the world. “God be merciful to You, Lord! This must never happen to You!” Peter cries out! Satan is trying to tempt Jesus again to receive the kingdoms of this world in a way which would leave the Devil still in power. Satan tempted Jesus like this in the wilderness after his baptism. Setting a mere worldly kingdom is not what Jesus was sent for nor is it one that he wants.

Jesus has come to overcome Satan. He has come to win the hearts and souls of men and to put down the rule of Satan over his creation. Jesus has come to overcome death and the grave and to give eternal life to men in a world still cursed by the sin of Adam. Jesus came to save you from your sin, to deliver you from the power of death and the Devil. He came to give you eternal life by taking your sin and death into his own flesh, nailing it to the cross and burying it in the grave never to be seen again. What sort of Messiah do you want? One that merely knocks men on the head and gets them in line or one who overcomes death and the grave and lets you reign over creation with him at the right hand of God? Think like God thinks.

Heavenly Father, open our hearts and minds to receive the Messiah you have chosen to give us, a crucified and risen Messiah, so we too like him may rise from the dead and reign with him. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotions Living Out The Name Of Jesus In Our Daily Lives

#DailyDevotions Living Out The Name Of Jesus In Our Daily Lives

Romans 1217Don’t pay back evil for evil. Be concerned with things that everyone considers noble. 18As much as you can, live in peace with everyone. 19Don’t take revenge, dear friends, but let God punish, because the Bible says: “I alone have the right to avenge. I will pay back,” says the Lord. 20But, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you’ll heap burning coals on his head.” 21Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good.

As we pick up from yesterday’s devotion we remember these exhortations are not without power for they don’t flow from our own innate power or ability but they flow from the “mercies of God” which all the Gospel from chapters 1-11 in Romans. As such I don’t know if I’d even call these commandments as much as they come off more as wisdom literature like the Proverbs.

Paul is not just making this stuff as he goes along. Being steeped in scriptural study as a Pharisee rabbi he is drawing particularly from these passages, which you can go look up: Prov. 20:22, Psalm 34:14; Prov. 12:20; Lev. 18:19;  Prov. 24; Deut. 32:35, 43;  Exo_23:4-5; Pro_25:21-22.

As far as moral law and wisdom goes, Christianity teaches nothing new that wasn’t already taught in the Old Testament. It does however focus on not only the outward actions (like the Pharisees and Scribes represented in the four Gospels) but the heart that produces them (like we see in Jesus sermon on the mount and on the plain). Remember that ancient Israel was to be a witness to the name of YHWH to the nations that pass through it and to the world. That name was, Ex. 34”6“the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, slow to get angry, rich in love and faithfulness, 7continuing to show mercy to thousands, forgiving wrong, rebellion, and sin, without treating it as innocent, but disciplining children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their fathers.”

This way of living flows from how our Father in heaven has treated us in Christ Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth is the name of YHWH in the flesh instead of the tabernacle and the temple present with us and for us. It is Jesus who didn’t pay us back for our evil but went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. It is Jesus who didn’t take revenge on us but received in himself the wrath of God. It is Jesus who has fed us with his body and blood to eat and to drink. It is Jesus who conquered us who were evil with his good.

As his people who have received all this goodness from him and who have been born of God through the waters of baptism, having received the name of God upon ourselves, being joined to the temple which is Jesus’ body, these things Paul tells us to do flow as witness to the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit which been place on us and lives in us, to the glory of his holy name and for the salvation of those we meet who are not in that name yet.

Heavenly Father you revealed your name to the Israelites on Sinai and you have more fully revealed your name in our LORD Jesus Christ. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may bear witness to that name in our lives so that especially our enemies may be turned into our friends even as you have made us your friends. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.