Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Today's Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 21:1-21; Mark 6:35-56

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So, if we don't have to try to impress God, as we've been hearing this week, that means we don't have to worry about how we live, right? Not exactly. Not trying to impress God actually means that your status with God is a done deal in Jesus. You're forgiven, perfect, and holy in God's sight for Jesus' sake. But that sort of standing before God means that we also give up living for ourselves. The life of repentance and faith of a Christian is one lived out in good works toward our neighbor. In today's reading, Paul singles out sexual immorality because, of all the many sins out there, those sins are particularly selfish, centered on our own pleasure rather than the good of our neighbor.

But your holiness isn't something in you. Again, we won't impress God by pretending to stand before Him on our own merits, on our own record. "Hey, look at me, Lord! I'm a pure and chaste virgin! NO sexual sins for me!" There is only one who is perfectly pure and holy, and that's Jesus. He takes His holy flesh and bears all your iniquities and filthy sins to Calvary and sheds His blood and dies there. On the Cross, all of your unholiness becomes His so that through your Baptism into Him, His holiness becomes yours.

So, then, in your life, as you strive to lead a holy life, loving your neighbor and living as God calls you to live, know that whatever failures and shortcomings you have are given to Christ and forgiven by Him. Whatever good works and love your do for your neighbor are Christ's who lives in you, so we learn to repent of our lust and unchaste thoughts, to crucify the flesh with its sexual sins, and to live in the forgiveness of Jesus by which we learn to honor and love those around us. Thus, living the life of repentance and faith in Jesus, we grow by God's grace to the avoiding of sexual immorality and finding our chaste contentment in Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Thine forever! Thou our guide, All our wants by Thee supplied, All our sins by Thee forgiv'n; Lead us, Lord, from earth to heav'n. (Thine Forever, God of Love, LSB 687:5)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.