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Romans 6:1-5


What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (ESV)

Our Passion for His Passion

Wednesday of Pentecost 21

5 November 2014

The other day someone said that I was passionate about my faith and my pastoral work that arises from it. I was surprised by this judgment. I always thought of myself as rather cool and even dispassionate to a fault. So to hear someone describe me as passionate was intriguing. I thought that I needed to tell my wife that someone else thought I was passionate! But as I thought more about it, it had to be true, at least from a biblical perspective. Our Lord Jesus warns us against a dispassionate appraisal of our Christian faith, "Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Rev 3:15-16). The Christian gospel does not invite standing off to the side appraising Christianity and its faith. Since the Christian faith is about life and death, dispassion is hardly the appropriate reaction to it.


If we stood on the deck of an ocean-going ship we might find it interesting to look at the safety equipment on board. We might find the life preservers interesting, and inquire about their manufacture. We could study the lifeboats with their mechanical apparatuses for launching the boat from the height of the deck, and find the design of the vessel intriguing. We might ask, "How many people would this hold, if needed?" When the answer was proffered we could look sagely, "Ah, interesting." How our attitude would change if the klaxons began to sound telling us that the ship was sinking. We would be quite uninterested in the manufacturing details of the life boat in which we would find ourselves. The question would be solely and entirely, "Will this thing save me?" If we fell overboard and some fast thinking person threw a life preserver to us, we would hardly be inclined to look for the label on it. The question we are most interested in is, "Will this keep me afloat until I can be rescued." When we know ourselves to be in mortal danger there is no possibility that we could coolly and dispassionately consider our situation.


Apart from God's grace we are in mortal danger of the loss of Christ and His salvation. We are not going to be dispassionate in reception of such a great and powerful gift as God's grace. We will not look at the price tag upon the cross as though we are shopping for a cheap crucifix, but we will be shocked at the cost of the merit which Christ accrued for us to rescue us from death, hell, and all the evils which plague us poor sinners. We cannot appraise God's mercy like the man in the commercial about appraising antiques on the "Antique Road Show," who drops an antique when offered a cold beer. It is easy to destroy someone else's antique. We are passionately involved with our own. We are totally involved with Christ's grace because this is about our own life and salvation. We cannot stand aloof from such a thing as the blood of Christ; what an enormous price to save us. We must be passionate about so valuable a possession as this. Our passion, then, is His passion.


Martin Luther


"These words, 'You have fallen away from grace' (Gal 5:4), should not be looked at in a cool and careless way, because they are very emphatic. Whoever falls away from grace simply loses the propitiation, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, freedom, life, etc., which Christ merited for us by His death and resurrection. In turn, such a person acquires in place of these the wrath and judgment of God, sin, death, slavery to the devil, and eternal damnation. This passage strongly supports and reinforces our doctrine of faith or the article of justification. It greatly comforts us against the raging of the papists, who persecute and condemn us as heretics because we teach this article [of faith and justification]. This passage really ought to terrify all the enemies of faith and grace, that is, all devotees of works, to make them stop persecuting and blaspheming the word of grace, life, and eternal salvation. But they are so hardened and calloused that 'seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear' (Mt 13:13) this horrible sentence pronounced against them by the apostle. Therefore let us let them alone, for they are blind leaders of the blind (Mt 15:14)." 

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 5.3

Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit to me that I might always passionately hold and believe the gracious message that You have offered Yourself in my place; that Your death is my death and Your resurrection is my life. Amen.


For the capital campaign of Memorial Lutheran Church, "A Memorial for the People," as the campaign comes to its conclusion, that the Lord would grant generous hearts to those who are contributing to the mission of Christ


For all those attending adult catechism classes, that they might be led by the Holy Spirit to learn the holy faith of Christ and to be confirmed in it


For those who are traveling today, that the holy angels would watch over them
Art: Crucifixes  Uppsala Cathedral (medieval)

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