February 12, 2005 - Saturday after Ash Wednesday

"He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him; and show him My salvation. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High; shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:15, 16, 1 – the Introit for Invocavit)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. "God hates the sin but loves the sinner." Have you ever heard this saying? Do you know what this expression is missing?

It's missing Jesus!  Without or outside of Jesus, God does not love sinners, He hates them. Sinners can’t be separated from their sins. Sin is what sinners do.

God hates the sin, and God hates the sinner. That’s the condemnation of the Law! There is nothing inside of the sinner that sparks love from God. There is nothing inside you that God just can’t get enough of. There is no quality inside of you that would make God love you. In fact, out of your heart, out of what’s inside of you, is nothing but evil from birth onward.

So why does God love the sinner? The only reason why God loves sinners is because of Christ. Jesus took all that we have done, all the sins of the world, and died for them. That is how God loves sinners: He gave His Son. That is how and why God loves sinners. That ’s how and why He loves you and me!

God loves you because of something outside of you. He loves you because He gave up His Son in your place. What Gospel! If God’s loving us depended upon something inside us, we would mess it up! But with everything of why and how God loves us resting solely on Jesus, our salvation is as sure as God giving His Son for the sin of the world.

This should make us take a hard look at our sins. The things that we do, the things we work up from inside ourselves can separate us from the God who made us. God hates the sins we do. He hates sinners who do the sins. Repent!

Call upon the Lord who is outside you! The historic Introits for the season of Lent set the theme for each week. The first word of the Introit for the first Sunday in Lent is Invocavit, which means, "He shall call."

So, look outside yourself to the gifts of God which deliver the forgiveness and love of God. Call upon God in your Baptism and drown your sins. Call upon God and hear His forgiveness in Holy Absolution! Call upon God tomorrow and receive the only reason God loves you – Jesus. Take, eat His Body and, take, drink His Blood. Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins! In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Higher Things Reflections are written by Rev. George F. Borghardt III, Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX