Reflections: May 3, 2021
Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
You will say in that day; I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry at me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid. (Isaiah 12:1-2a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The opposite of faith is not merely unbelief, but fear. How can we trust someone if we fear him? Fear gives every occasion for doubt and where there is doubt faith is always undermined. When we convince ourselves that God is angry at us we fear Him instead of trusting Him. Instead, we wonder when He is going to pull the rug out from under us.
There are two "fears" in Scripture: servile, which anticipates punishment, and filial, which expresses a love so strong that the Christian lives in honor and reverence toward God.Here we are of course speaking of the former, and not the latter. God wants us to live in the holy fear of faith that holds to Christ and bows down to worship Him.
Isaiah the prophet received God's revelation and truth: "For though you [God] were angry at me, your anger turned away." Soak that in. Yes, God was angry. That's right, "was," and as you know "was" is past tense. God is no longer angry at you. Think about it: There is only one reason God could be angry at you. That would be on account of your sin. But in the greatest love and mercy the world has ever known, the heavenly Father placed all your sin, all the reasons He could be angry at you, on His Son, Jesus Christ our LORD.
Thus Paul writes in Galatians 3:13: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written – 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.'" God only pours out anger, wrath, and punishment on cursed people, people guilty of sin and worthy of death, the death that sin brings. But Jesus took your sin; He became your curse. He died in your place under God's righteous anger and judgment against sinners. Jesus stood in for all the sinners, including you. Jesus took God's anger for you. As a result, God's anger is gone from you, and that is why you are now free to say with Isaiah, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid!" In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
LORD Jesus, by Your Spirit, You give us faith to cast out all fear of confessing the true faith; for we are helpless to save ourselves, and we must trust in You and You alone for our salvation. Keep us faithful to the end, that You will not be ashamed of us when You come in Your glory with Your Father and the holy angels; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
Reflections: January 1, 2021This Just In: The Ultimate ResolutionReflections: January 2, 2021Reflections: January 3, 2021Reflections: January 4, 2021Video Short: January 5, 2021Video Short: January 4, 2021Reflections: January 5, 2021Reflections: January 6, 2021Video Short: January 6, 2021Under the Cross: Don't Look at the ListReflections: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 8, 2021Reflections: January 8, 2021Dean's List: The Catechism Really Is for YouReflections: January 9, 2021Reflections: January 10, 2021Reflections: January 11, 2021Video Short: January 11, 2021Helpful Things: Fundraising Essentials FOR YOUReflections: January 13, 2021Video Short: January 12, 2021Reflections: January 12, 2021Video Short: January 13, 2021Reflections: January 14, 2021Video Short: January 14, 2021Under the Cross: You Don't Belong to This WorldReflections: January 15, 2021Video Short: January 15, 2021Reflections: January 16, 2021Reflections: January 17, 2021Reflections: January 18, 2021Video Short: January 18, 2021This Just In: Martin Luther King, Jr.--The Man Who Had a DreamReflections: January 19, 2021Video Short: January 19, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint SebastianReflections: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 22, 2021Reflections: January 23, 2021Video Short: January 22, 2021Dean's List: Jesus Hits the Spot!Reflections: January 24, 2021Reflections: January 25, 2021Reflections: January 26, 2021Video Short: The Conversion of St. PaulHelpful Things: Effective Fundraising Through Midweek MealsVideo Short: Suffering Doesn't Mean God Doesn't Love YouReflections: January 27, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Karma, Karma, KarmaVideo Short: Abortion and the Church's WorkReflections: January 28, 2021Reflections: January 29, 2021Video Short: What Goes On In Your Pastor's Mind About Closed CommunionFoundations: You Need Your Pastor More Than EverReflections: January 30, 2021Reflections: January 31, 2021
Reflections: February 1, 2021Video Short: Stretching Out To RepentVideo Short: Parable of Those Gifted in the VineyardReflections: February 2, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint Blaise of SebasteSpeaking of Faith: The Liturgy Is Tried and True EvangelismReflections: February 3, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday De-platformingReflections: February 4, 2021Video Short: Hearing Law and GospelVideo Short: The Anti-Catholic ParadoxDean's List: Called to ServeReflections: February 5, 2021Reflections: February 6, 2021Reflections: February 7, 2021Reflections: February 8, 2021Video Short: Ears on the Sower... And the SeedReflections: February 9, 2021Helpful Things: Sex, Sexuality, and BaptismVideo Short: The Simple Definition of Faith That Will Rescue You From Your DoubtsReflections: February 10, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Wokeism and ChristianityVideo Short: What Your Pastor Thinks When Preaching the LawReflections: February 11, 2021Reflections: February 12, 2021Video Short: Valentines and LoveUnder the Cross: Valentine's Day StinksReflections: February 13, 2021Reflections: February 14, 2021Reflections: February 15, 2021Video Short: Lent is Almost HereVideo Short: Lent For Evangelical ChristiansReflections: February 16, 2021Welcome to Lent - Supplement to the ReflectionsVideo Short: How to Fast in LentReflections: February 17, 2021Reflections: February 18, 2021Video Short: Lutherans Aren't the Cult of LutherReflections: February 19, 2021