February 28, 2008
Today's Reading: Ephesians 5:1-9
Daily Lectionary: Genesis 39:1-23; Mark 10:13-31
For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:5
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Whoa! Where's the Gospel in THOSE words? Sounds pretty harsh! It makes the Sixth Commandment that we just read about (and every other commandment) that much more damning, to think that the Lord really doesn't tolerate sin and that sinners really will be kept out of the kingdom of Christ!
Why do these sins damn us? NOT because God makes a rule and we break it and get punished. These sins damn us because they expose in us what useless people we are FOR OTHERS. The reason those sins are so horrible is not simply because God makes a rule and we disobey it (though that's bad enough). They're really awful because they are the sins which prove how selfish we are. We only want to serve ourselves and not help others. These sins are bad because they don't just spit in God's face, they hurt others, those who are our neighbors, whom we are supposed to love like ourselves.
And there's no way to dig yourself out of that hole. The only way you'll get into the kingdom of God is if you are not a fornicator, unclean person, coveter, or idolater. And you're not. Oh, you were. Outwardly you are. But your sins have been laid upon Jesus. When Jesus goes to the cross He doesn't just get punished, He becomes our curse! (Galatians 3:13). Jesus is the fornicator, unclean, coveter, and idolater and everything else we are. And what about you? You become a child of God in Jesus. He takes away what you were so that you will indeed enter His Kingdom.
And enter you did. At the holy font. And stay in it you do, by the words of Absolution and by the Supper of His Body and Blood. All of those things declare that you are no longer fornicators, etc., but children of God, beloved of the Lord, brothers of Christ, those sealed with the Holy Spirit, heirs of everlasting life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ! I have comfort even stronger: Jesus' cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me Since my Baptism did release me In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus' blood. (LSB #594 st.2)
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