Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Apostles’ Creed, Third Article part 2
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. (Small Catechism: Apostles’ Creed, Third Article)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We are not as special as we think we are. God does His saving work for you and me in the same way that He does His saving work for everyone else: It is through the Holy Spirit’s calling us by the Gospel, enlightening us with His gifts, sanctifying and keeping us in the one true faith. It is all the work of God. He does it all, from beginning to end, and He does it all for everyone.
As good Lutherans we love to be able to say, “I believe that I can’t believe,” but sometimes we have trouble believing that for the other guy. Sometimes we heap more and more guilt upon ourselves because we want to be able to say the right things in the right situations in order to get our neighbor to start believing in Jesus. Somehow we think that conversion is part of our job. But if you had nothing to do with your own conversion, how could you think you have anything to do with someone else’s?
It is true that we are told to always be ready to give a defense for that which we believe, but all that means is that we should know what we believe and why we believe it. And of course, we should. Christianity isn’t a thing of silly blind faith, but it is built on the objective and historical fact of the resurrection. We should know that and always be ready to proclaim it. But that is where our part ends. Everything else is so far above our pay grade we can’t even see the top. Leave the converting to the Holy Spirit. He’s much better at it than you or I could ever hope to be.
And then also be comforted in the fact that as the Holy Spirit is working in the heart of your neighbor to turn it from stone, so, too, is He continually working upon yours so that it might never return to that rocky place of unbelief. Daily and richly, He brings Christ and His Cross to you in Word and water and bread and wine so that you might receive Him who saved you, so that your sins might be forgiven, so that your faith might be forever strengthened. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
We all confess the Holy Ghost, Who from both in truth proceeds, Who sustains and comforts us In all trials, fears, and needs. Blessed, holy Trinity, Praise forever be to Thee! (“We All Believe in One True God” LSB 953, st.1)
-Rev. Eli Lietzau is pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, CO.
Audio Reflections speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Come on an adventure with author Eric Eichinger as he unpacks the saga of Jesus’ Hero Journey. You’ll see how aspects of this journey are seen in popular stories, and how God used Jesus to create the most action-packed one with a real Savior for all. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.