#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Fulfillment Of All Sacrifices

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Fulfillment Of All Sacrifices

John 129The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him. And he said, “Look at the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. 30He is the One I meant when I said, ‘A Man is coming after me but is ahead of me, because He was before me.’ 31Even I didn’t know Who He was, but I came and baptized with water to show Him to Israel.” 32John testified: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and stay on Him. 33I didn’t know Who He was, but He Who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘When you see the Spirit come down on Someone and stay on Him, He is the One Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I saw it and testified, ‘This is the Son of God.’”

This is a great text for the season of Epiphany. Jesus is being made manifest as the son of God not by signs and wonders but by the proclaimed word of God. John is the one making the proclamation. Seeing Jesus coming towards him he makes the gospel proclamation, “Look at the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” Behold the Lamb of God!

What is John saying here? What has been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit which he is making known to us about Jesus? As far as I know, there are no explicit proclamations of a sacrifice of a lamb that atones for the sin of the world. Yet there are plenty types, allusions and prophecies concerning the messiah to come. In this proclamation by the Baptist he is making known there is to be one sacrifice to end all sacrifices. All of the sacrifices in the Law of Moses will be fulfilled in this man. In the Law there was a morning and evening sacrifice for the sins of Israel with a lamb. There was the sacrifice for individual sins with a lamb. There were the atoning sacrifices on the day of atonement with two goats and a bull.

And those sacrifices were for the people of Israel. But in Genesis 3:15 we are told about the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent and is struck in his heel. Abraham is told his seed would be a blessing to the nations of the world and see the Lord provides a substitutionary ram in place of his son Isaac. We are told in Isaiah of the servant of the Lord who saves not only Israel but the nations as well. Isaiah prophecies how through his suffering our iniquities are atoned for, our guilt taken away and our sins are forgiven. And note the Baptist says Jesus takes away the sin of the world. Sin is in the singular. Jesus is the second Adam. By Adam’s sin, sin and death enter the world. By Jesus’ faith and obedience, righteousness and life enter the world.

John proclaims and makes Jesus known by what was revealed to him. The Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a dove when he was baptized by John. The one who sent John, the Spirit, made known to him that when this happened, the anointed of the Spirit is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John baptized to make Jesus known. His baptism prepared the way for the LORD. Jesus is that LORD. John tells us, “This is the Son of God.” This Jesus of Nazareth is the promised sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. He has taken away your sin and death and gives you his righteousness and life. For there is only one sin and there is only one righteousness and life. He is the tree of life whose fruit he gives to you freely.

Almighty God and Father, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to be the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Grant us faith to believe this and receive from him eternal life and his righteousness. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion When Failing As A Christian Remember God Is Faithful

#DailyDevotion When Failing As A Christian Remember God Is Faithful

 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 4“I am always thanking God for you because of His grace which was given to you in Christ Jesus. 5For in Him you have been made rich in every way, in speech and knowledge 6of every kind, as the truth of Christ we spoke was confirmed in you.7And so you don’t lack any gift as you eagerly look for our Lord Jesus Christ to appear again. 8He will strengthen you to the end so that no one can accuse you of anything on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9You can depend on God, Who called you to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

These are some wonderful, true words Paul gives to the Corinthians before ripping into them. Indeed, they are going to need these words to get through the reading of the riot act Paul is about to give through much of this epistle. Knowing these things are true will also get you through your toughest times as a Christian when you seemed to have failed at every point in your Christian life.

Despite all the failings of the Corinthians, Paul gives thanks for them because of the grace which was given them in Christ Jesus. We too can thank God for the grace given to us and to fellow Christians when they don’t seem to be living up to the Christian standards the Lord has given us and those we are looking at.

The Corinthians and us have been made rich in every way namely in speech and knowledge of every kind as the truth of Christ is confirmed in you. This is to say that the Lord through the teaching of the apostles has given us the things to say as Jesus promised through the Holy Spirit. He has enlightened our minds as to the nature of God, the persons of the Godhead, God’s will for us and his will and good favor toward us. He has given us the knowledge of his grace and his great love for us in Christ Jesus namely the Word of God, God’s only begotten son has taken on human flesh, become like us in every way and won salvation for us, for you, freely by his great love in his life, death and resurrection. We confirm this truth when we confess with our hearts and our mouths Jesus Christ is Lord, i.e. he is the LORD of the Old Testament.

Therefore, we do not lack any gift as we await the reappearance of our Lord Jesus Christ at his second advent. Yes, Jesus is coming back on the Last Day, with the blast of the last trumpet will all his holy angels to root out all that is evil and wicked in the world. What we need to persevere is given to the Church.

Paul gives us this promise that the Lord himself will strengthen us to the end so no one can accuse us of anything on the day of the Lord. He has promise to present us to the Father, holy, blameless, without fault, righteous clothed in his glory. You can depend on God to do this. He has called you into fellowship, participation in His Son Jesus Christ through faith and baptism into Christ. When you are doubting you will keep the faith, remember his promise. He is faithful. He will do it. If he can preserve the Corinthian congregation members unto the day of salvation, he can and will preserve you.

Merciful God and Father, we give you thanks and praise for the gift of salvation given to us in Christ Jesus and for the promise of preserving us in the faith unto everlasting life. Continue to give us whatever gifts we need to be faithful unto the end. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion We Know God’s Will Towards Us In Jesus

#DailyDevotion We Know God’s Will Towards Us In Jesus

1 Cor. 1:1-3 PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST JESUS, called by God’s will, and Sosthenes, my fellow Christian, 2to God’s church in Corinth, made holy by Christ Jesus and called to be holy, with all who anywhere call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours —3may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul was an apostle of Christ Jesus. That is to say, he was had seen the Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead. He was taught by Jesus Christ in the wilderness after receiving his sight back from the Lord. He was sent by Christ Jesus to preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. He was called by God’s will to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. It wasn’t Paul’s will. When Paul was still Saul he persecuted the Church of God and with such fervor even chased it down to Antioch which chains in order to jail the disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus though had other plans. God had other plans. Have you ever thought you were doing God’s will only to end us having God change your plans and set you on a completely different course? Well now Paul has the full authority of an Apostle of Jesus to teach with power and authority, with signs and wonders.

Paul is not alone. Sosthenes his fellow Christ is with him. He was the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth when Paul first starting preaching there. The Jews who would not believe Paul beat Sosthenes in front of the tribunal in Corinth after Gallieo the governor there refused to do anything to Paul. He too had suffered for the name of Christ Jesus.

Now what Paul writes to the Corinthians he also writes to you. They were made holy by Christ Jesus and were called to be holy with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is their Lord and he is our Lord. They were made holy by the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and by baptism into that name. It is the word, the gospel, the good news that God justifies the ungodly, saves sinner, makes his enemies his friends through faith in what Jesus Christ of Nazareth did for them on the cross, by his death and resurrection and by being joined to him in his life death and resurrection in baptism that made them holy.  

To those whom Christ Jesus has made holy by his blood Paul blesses them with grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes we have God’s favor for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. His favor has come to us by the gospel, the proclamation of the Father’s acceptance of us on account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lord Jesus Christ bestows his grace and favor on us through his apostles and all he sends to preach him as the crucified Lord of Glory. We have peace with God the Father through the violence visited upon Jesus in his trial, crucifixion and death. God is no longer angry with us. He is not counting our trespasses against his will and our consciences. We have access to him through the blood of Jesus and know his great love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Heavenly Father, continually bring us your servants who proclaim grace and peace to us through Jesus Christ by his innocent suffering and death and who make us holy by his appointed means of grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Christ Is The Light Of The World

#DailyDevotion Jesus Christ Is The Light Of The World

Isaiah 495And now says the LORD, Who formed Me in the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him and to gather Israel to Him – the LORD treated Me with honor, and My God has become My Strength — 6He says: “It is not enough that You’re My Servant to raise the tribes of Jacob and bring back those in Israel who have been preserved – I have also made You a Light for the nations that My salvation might reach to the most distant parts of the world.”

The LORD reminds us again his servant was chosen by him in the womb. He was chosen to bring back Jacob and Israel. Israel and Judah had fallen away from fearing, loving and trusting the LORD. They turned to idols, to the false gods of their neighbors. They became like them in every way, perhaps even worse. The LORD would punish them by the hands of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans.

Jesus of Nazareth, the LORD’s chosen one, whose name was spoken by the angel to Mary and to Joseph, the son of David, would indeed turn the hearts of many in Israel back to the LORD their God through faith in what he accomplished for them on the cross, becoming their atoning sacrifice for sin, for all time, rising from the dead and ascending to David’s throne at the right hand of God forever.

The LORD treated Jesus with honor and God became his strength as the Father raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand. He fulfilled his promise to David that his seed would inherit his throne and rule over Israel forever. But the LORD, the Living God, says this is too small a thing to raise the tribes of Jacob and bring back the remnant of Israel. Jesus is to be the Light for the nations.

Yes, the mystery of Christ is revealed in Jesus as his Holy Spirit not only converts the Jews, the Israelites and the Samarians back to true worship of the LORD, but also he pours out his Holy Spirit upon all flesh and converts the nations from worthless idols and rebellion against their Maker to faith in the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Jesus’ salvation reaches to the most distant parts of the world. There is no people, language, tribe or tongue from whom Jesus is not converting people from the darkness of this fallen world to the light of his kingdom which is above. For Jesus did not die only for the physical children of Abraham, but he has become a blessing to all the nations of the world, for all people of the world.

Jesus’ sacrifice for the sin of the world is the Light which expels the darkness of the prince of the air, Satan and all his fallen angels who pose as light to the nations but in fact are posers. They try to convince you their way is enlightened but they put a veil over your hearts so you cannot see the Light which is from above. Trust this, you can only know God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In Jesus alone is all true knowledge of God. In Jesus alone is the Light that gives you light. In Jesus alone can you know God’s will for you, his good and perfect will which is love. Jesus is God’s love for you.

Heavenly Father of lights, you sent your true Light into the world to break the devil’s darkness which enslaves the minds of men. Send forth the truth of your Light and give the Holy Spirit to those who hear it so they may be made free and become your holy people in your heavenly kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Father’s Glory Is Shown In Showing Us Mercy

#DailyDevotion The Father’s Glory Is Shown In Showing Us Mercy

Isaiah 49:1–4 Listen to Me, you lands by the sea; pay attention, you people far away. When I was still in the womb, the LORD called Me. Before My mother gave birth to Me, He pronounced My name. 2He made My mouth like a sharp sword and hid Me in the shadow of His hand. He made Me a polished arrow and hid Me in His quiver. 3He said to Me: “You are My Servant to Israel; through You I will show My glory.” 4But I said: “I have worked in vain. I have spent My strength uselessly and for nothing. But surely the LORD is ready to do what is right for Me, and God is ready to reward Me.”

There is some inkling of the LORD’s mission not only to Israel and to the Jews here but also to the Gentiles when he calls the lands by the sea and the people far away to listen. It is our Lord Jesus Christ speaking here in these verses. These are even verses for Advent as it addresses him while he was still in the womb and before he was given birth. Jesus mission began even before he was conceived as it is written in Revelation, “he was slain before the foundation of the world.” Before he was conceived the angel spoke his name to Mary and then to Joseph, “You will name him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus indeed has a mouth like a sharp sword as we see in Revelation chapters 1 and 19. Yet here we see his incarnation as he is hidden in the shadow of the LORD’s hand. A polished arrow being hidden in the LORD’s quiver is a parallel verse making known more of the previous phrase. Yes, Jesus’ glory is hidden from men but his humiliation in taking on human flesh. We look at Jesus, the son of Mary, and we see nothing special; just an ordinary Jewish carpenter. Yet when he speaks, he speaks as one who has authority, because he does have authority.

The Father speaks to Jesus, “You are My Servant to Israel; through You I will show My glory.” This is one of several servant songs in Isaiah. We saw another last week. Things don’t always look like they are going very well for the LORD’s servant. Though Jesus though, the Father shows his glory. The LORD, the Father, shows his glory chiefly in showing mercy. The Father’s mercy is shown in Jesus in that in Jesus’ flesh he makes atonement for the sins of mankind. Yes, he places his hand upon his son Jesus Christ and makes him the atoning sacrifice for our iniquity. He makes him our guilt offering. Jesus’ blood is poured upon the mercy seat of God in heaven above.

There upon the cross, Jesus feels  as if he had worked in vain and spent his strength uselessly and for nothing. His friends have abandoned him. The crowds that cried “Hosanna” no cry “Crucify him!” Yet in hope he remembers these words, “But surely the LORD is ready to do what is right for Me, and God is ready to reward Me.” Indeed, the Father raises him from the dead and seats him at his right hand in glory and honor with a name that is above every name. Through his sacrifice he is given a people to call his own from Israel, Judea, Samaria unto the ends of the earth. The benefits of his sacrifice he offers to you freely today and invites you to be his people and enter into his eternal kingdom. His life he gives to you as a free gift.

Heavenly Father, you sent your son Jesus Christ to be your servant to redeems the world. Grant us faith now to believe this and receive your mercy and give you glory for it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is YHWH’s Son

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is YHWH’s Son

Matt. 316As soon as Jesus was baptized, He stepped out of the water, and now heaven was opened, and He saw God’s Spirit coming down on Him as a dove. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, Whom I love and delight in.”

There is no wonder why this text is chosen by the Church for the season of Epiphany. Here we see the manifestation of not only Jesus’ glory but all three persons of the Trinity! The Spirit’s manifestation as a dove coming upon him signifying the fulfillment, Isaiah 42:1 “Here is My Servant Whom I support; I have chosen Him, and I delight in Him. I put My Spirit on Him.” And again it is written, Isaiah 112”The LORD’s Spirit will rest on Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” So we see the image of our Lord in Revelation 5,”He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are God’s seven spirits that are sent all over the world.” So we will see the Spirit’s manifestation in Jesus’ ministry in wisdom and power.

The Father speaks the word, “This is My Son, Whom I love and delight in.” In Matthew chapter 2 it is written, “I called My Son from Egypt.” Now the Father gives his seal of approval and the outward recognition that Jesus is indeed his Son from all eternity at his baptism. The Father loves the Son and delights in him. Jesus is loved because he is one with the Father in all he says and does. He fulfills all that the Father has given him to do. Instead of being filled with pride as the first Adam was, Jesus as the second Adam is filled with humility. Instead of giving in to temptation as the first Adam, Jesus overcomes temptation for us in the wilderness having been tempted by Satan.

The Father again proclaims Jesus as his own at the mount of transfiguration when he speaks, Matt. 17:5 “This is My Son Whom I love and delight in. Listen to Him!” These manifestations of the Father speaking testifying to Jesus being his son are the fulfillment of Psalm 2:7 He said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” So John testifies in his gospel, 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us for a time and we saw His glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” And again Jesus tells us, 3:16 “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

So Jesus is made manifest to us as the Father’s son from all eternity made known in time to us by his incarnation. He has been sent by the Father to do the Father’s will, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He fulfills the Father’s will, his commands and precepts, the Law of God on our behalf. Jesus identifies himself with us, taking our sin upon his flesh and soul. He overcomes temptation for us. He takes our sin to the cross and upon the cross dies the penalty for our sin, namely death. Now, having overcome sin, death and devil by his life, death and resurrection, he offers this victory to us through being baptized into his name, the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Almighty God and Father, you made manifest your only begotten son Jesus Christ to us at his baptism. Make Jesus now manifest in our hearts that the work he has accomplished for our salvation may be ours and may we live out his life in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Our Scapegoat

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Our Scapegoat

Matt. 3:13-15

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14John tried to stop Him. “I need to be baptized by You,” he said, “and You come to me?” 15“Permit it now,” Jesus answered him. “That is how we should fulfill all righteousness.”

It must have been strange for John to see Jesus coming up to him to be baptized by him. John after all had been preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He was calling sinners to repent. The baptism he was baptizing with was for sinners. The messiah on the other hand, the one coming to baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit would have no need of such a baptism. He was not a sinner. Yet here Jesus was, the messiah coming to John to be baptized by him. It was such a shock John tried to prevent it from happening.  “I need to be baptized by You,” he said, “and You come to me?” Indeed John was a sinner. He could have used the baptism by Jesus yet it was not to be. The great thing about baptism is that it doesn’t require the instrument of the baptism to be perfect and holy. You just need to be the one called to do it at the time.

John was the one called to baptize at this time and this place. For all we know he had been baptized by someone else before he started his ministry. What is important here is what is happening. Who is getting baptized? What sort of baptism are they receiving? What does it mean that Jesus gets baptized with John’s baptism? Jesus tells John, “Permit it now. That is how we should fulfill all righteousness” Permit. It’s a very varied meaning word in the Greek. It is the same word for forgive, but also let, sent, go, suffer and the like. So it just depends upon the context. While we may like to make hay of its meaning to forgive here because of baptism, let or permit are the most likely meanings here in context. But Jesus says strangely here, “That is how we should fulfill all righteousness.”

We, John and Jesus, are fulfilling all righteousness in John baptizing Jesus. Remember John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus in the act of being baptized is identifying himself as a sinner who needs forgiveness. Jesus, here in being baptized, is being baptized into our sin and death. Instead of washing away Jesus’ sin, which he had none, the sin of the world is being laid upon him. He is identified as Adam, who brought sin into the world. Adam’s sin is now his own. He is identified with you. Your sin is now his own. He is identified with Israel. Israel’s sin is now his own. As the high priest who lays his hand upon the scapegoat and lays the sin of Israel upon the scapegoat to carry them away into the wilderness, John in baptizing Jesus lays the sin of the world on Jesus so the Spirit may lead him into the wilderness with our sin.

In becoming our scapegoat, Jesus fulfills all righteousness. The guiltless for the guilty is sacrificed. He truly becomes us in his baptism doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Our sins are sent away (there’s that Greek word again) with Jesus. He is baptized into our sin. We are baptized into him and his righteousness. O blessed exchange!

Heavenly Father, you had John baptize Jesus your son into our sin so he may take them away and so we may receive his righteousness. Grant us faith and your Holy Spirit in our baptism that our sins may be washed away and we receive the righteousness of Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Baptism Frees You From Sin & Gives You A New Life

#DailyDevotion Baptism Frees You From Sin & Gives You A New Life

Romans 6:6-11 6We know our old self was nailed with Him to the cross to stop our sinful body and keep us from serving sin any longer. 7When we’re dead, we’re free from sin. 8But if we died with Christ, we believe we’ll also live with Him because 9we know that Christ, risen from the dead, will not die again. Death has no hold on Him any more. 10When He died, He died to sin once, never to die again, and the life He lives He lives for God. 11So you, too, because you are in Christ Jesus, think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God.

The sinful nature which we all have has been nailed with Jesus to the cross. It has been crucified with Jesus in baptism. This is to stop our sinful body and to keep us from serving sin any longer. Paul says, “When we’re dead, we’re free from sin.” Our baptism in not just a symbolic death and crucifixion. We, our sinful nature, has been crucified, nailed to the cross and died with Christ on the cross. So St. Paul can say here and in chapter eight that we are freed from sin.

When tempted by sin, the devil and the fear death we are to remind our old adam, our sinful flesh that it has been crucified with Christ and you don’t have to listen to it any longer. If you were a slave and you died, you would no longer be owned by your master. If you were married and you died or your spouse died, you would no longer be married but free to marry. If you had a contract and you died, you would no longer be held to that contract. So too, you died in baptism with Christ. When tempted instead of breaking out the law and trying to convince yourself not to do something because of the law, instead break out this Gospel, this good news, your sinful nature has died with Christ and you don’t have to listen to it any longer. You have been freed from the slavery of sin and the fear of death. Your contract with sin and death has been fulfilled and made null and void by your death in baptism.

Since we have died with Christ in baptism we believe we also live with him. For just as Christ Jesus has risen from the dead never to die again we have a new life in Christ with Jesus. Our souls/spirits risen from death and darkness to newness of life and light we can now walk in that life and light of Jesus. This life and light is love: love of God and love of our neighbor. We no longer look at love as command but as Christ life living in and through us. When Christ died he died to sin never to die again. The life he lives he lives for God. Jesus’ death to sin is our own in baptism. We died to sin with our baptism into Christ. Our new man in Christ Jesus also never sins. The old adam, our old nature can never stop sinning but we don’t have to listen to it any longer. We have entered or rather Christ has entered into a new contract with us. He will be our God and we will be his people. He will forgive us our sins and remember them no longer. He puts his instruction, he writes it upon our hearts and gives us his Holy Spirit that we believe it and live according to it.

Paul tells us here that because we are in Christ Jesus to think of ourselves and dead to sin and living for God. Paul doesn’t say to mean ‘as if you’re dead’ but to think of ourselves this way because it is our reality in baptism. We are dead to sin in baptism so think of this when tempted to sin. We have Christ’s life in us and so we should remember to live for God in our everyday living. St. Paul says it another way in another epistle, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Think about this and let Christ be your victory over sin and temptation.

Merciful God and Father, you crucified us with Christ in baptism and given us his life. Grant your Holy Spirit to us that we may now live in his life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Baptism Is Your Second Death & First Resurrection

#DailyDevotion Baptism Is Your Second Death & First Resurrection

Romans 6:1-5 What shall we say? Shall we go on sinning so that God may be more gracious to us? 2Certainly not! We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Now when we were baptized into His death, we were buried with Him so that as the Father’s glory raised Christ from the dead we, too, will live a new life. 5If we were united with Him in this likeness of His death, then we will be united with Him also in the likeness of His resurrection.

Paul had been talking up to this point how we are all condemned by the Law of God both Jew and Greek. He also has been since chapter three talking about the wonderful gift of God’s grace we have in Christ Jesus. All people have been justified by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our Father in heaven has saved us through the blood of Jesus Christ freely, as a gift, a free gift by his grace. The work of Jesus has covered all men just like the sin of Adam had covered all men so that all are made alive in Christ. The gospel message sounded so good that wicked men were asking, “Shall we go on sinning so that God may be more gracious to us? Shall we go on sinning so that God may be more gracious to us?” If no one ever asks you that question, you probably are preaching the pure gospel. But what is Paul’s answer?

“Certainly not! We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer?” Oh? When did I die to sin?  Paul’s answer, when you were baptized into Christ and his death. You see, you literally died when you were baptized into Christ Jesus, really and truly. The law and all its accusations and all its penalties were applied to in baptism. Jesus death on the cross has in truth and in fact become your death. For the Christian, this is the second death. His old man, his old Adam, the sinful nature has been put to death. It has received the due penalty for your sins, for its sins in baptism. The death you deserve was credited to you there. You died there. Because you died in baptism with Jesus the world, the devil, your flesh has no hold on you any longer. You are no longer a citizen of this world for you have experienced eternal death there in your baptism. So why should you go about as if the world, the devil and this sinful flesh were still your masters to do their bidding?

You were buried with Christ in baptism, not just symbolically as you died in baptism, not just symbolically, but really and truly, otherwise baptism would not have the power that St. Paul is discussing here. As Christ was buried and rose again by the Father’s glory you too have been raised to life by the Father’s glory. As Jesus says in John chapter three, 6“Anything born of the flesh is flesh, but anything born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Don’t be surprised when I tell you, you must all be born from above.” Our souls that were dead in sin have now been raised to life in Christ. We have been born of the Spirit, born of God from above. This is the first resurrection referred to in Revelation. Yet there is more! Even as Christ rose bodily from the tomb never to die again, in the likeness of Christ resurrection we also will be raised bodily to eternal life on the Last Day. We are children of God now in baptism. Why would be want to go on sinning?

Heavenly Father, you give us the penalty we deserve as you join us to the death of Christ in baptism. Grant us faith to receive the benefits of our baptisms into Christ that we may hate sin and walk about in newness of life which is ours in Jesus and be raised to eternal life on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth Is YHWH’s Covenant

#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth Is YHWH’s Covenant

Isaiah 425The LORD God made the heavens and stretched them out. He shaped the earth and what it produces. He gives life to the people who are on it, breath to those walking on it. And He says this: 6“I the LORD have called You for My righteous purpose. I will take hold of Your hand and protect You. I will give you as My Covenant to the people, as My Light to the nations — 7 to give sight to the blind, bring prisoners out of the dungeon and those who live in darkness out of the prison. 8I am the LORD; that is My name. I will not give My glory to anyone else nor the praise I deserve to idols. 9See how My former predictions have come true. Now I’m announcing new things and telling you about them before they spring into being.”

The LORD establishes his credibility here and proclaims his might. He made the heavens and the earth. He shaped the earth and what it produces. He gives life to the people on it. So to the outstretched heavens which appear to go on into infinity down to the smallest particle you can ever find and everything in between the LORD is its maker and its preserver. Whatever has existence it gets that existence from the LORD. Based on this, listen to what the LORD says.

He continues to talk to us about the servant he talked about in verse one. He has chosen his servant for a righteous purpose. He takes hold of his hand and protects him. Yet we know this servant in his only begotten son from eternity, born of the Virgin Mary in time. Yes, it does appear the LORD leads him and guides him and keeps him safe. The LORD led him Egypt when Herod wanted to kill him, to Nazareth when his children also wanted to harm him. Jesus walked through the crowds in Nazareth who wanted to cast him off the cliff for claiming who he is.

Yet, the Father lets him be captured by the Jews before Passover, beat him, turned him over to Pilate where he was further mocked, beaten and eventually crucified to death. Where was the LORD’s protection there? Well the LORD continues here, “I will give you as My Covenant to the people.” A covenant is the animal who sheds his blood and whose blood binds the parties, “May this happen to me if I break this covenant (agreement).” So the LORD makes Jesus his covenant to the people of Israel and to the world. The terms of that covenant are found in Jeremiah chapter thirty-one. “I will be your God and you will be my people. I will forgive you your sins and remember them no more. You will know me and my instruction will be written on your hearts.”

Jesus Christ of Nazareth becomes the Covenant of the LORD and as the covenant he becomes a light to the nations, he gives sight to the blind and he frees those dungeons and those who live in dungeons out of the darkness of their prisons. While Jesus most certainly healed the blind, I believe the rest and including blindness refers rather to being spiritually blind, spiritually bound by the devil, sin and the fear of death. The truth of his good news that God the Father forgives them and us for the sake of the blood spilled on the cross by Jesus and he has reconciled himself is the good news that enlightens our hearts and souls. It frees us from the dungeons of our sins and removes us from our lives of darkness into the light of his Jesus Christ. The LORD predicted this and it has come to pass. Believe the good news.

O LORD our God, all glory, honor, power and might are yours. You foretold the sending of your son for our salvation. Grant us faith to believe it and the gift of the Holy Spirit so we may live it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.