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Luke

15:20-24

  

While [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. (ESV)

Who Are You?

Ruth

16 July 2015

Who are you? Think about it a bit. What is the answer to this? Would you answer this way: "I am heterosexual?" Would you answer this way? Certainly not! Your sexual practice does not define who you are! Who you are cannot be defined by what you do (or don't do!). Doing never defines us in the sight of God, who is the One who both makes us and then tells us who we are.

 

This is related to the Christian doctrine of grace! Who I am is a gift, not an act! It is God's gift, not my act. Who I am is defined by where I came from. I came from God. I am a special creation by Him. I am a member of a family. I know who my father and mother are (sometimes, people don't, so we must work hard to find ways of receiving them graciously). I am related to community, to country, to region, to city, and to church. These all help me say who I am. Most important for us Christians, God has told us who we are in baptism: he has given us a name: the triune Name. This is our source. We are marked upon the forehead and heart in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. To find out who I am I go back to the font.

 

Who am I? I am a child of God. God says so at the font. That includes when I struggle with sexual sin; if I suffer a same sex attraction, if I desire another man's wife, if I fight to avoid slavery to pornography. Sexual acts do not make who I am and they do not unmake me (Lk 15:30).

 

I am a child of God. Because God says so. Because He is my Father, I can go to Him and confess. Christ, His Son, invites me to come to Him with my sin and to hear His holy absolution and to amend my sinful ways. O Lord Jesus, forgive me! About these sins too, Christ died. The deepest, darkest depravities Christ had in mind when He cried, "It is finished" (Jn 19:30)! Sexual sin Christ had in mind when he said to church leaders, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them" (Jn 20:23). Christ says your sin away in the gift of forgiveness!

 

Martin Luther

 

"The Holy Scriptures call Christians saints and the people of God. It's a pity that it's forgotten that we are saints, for to forget this is to forget Christ and baptism....So it comes about that those who are truly sinners don't want to be considered sinners, and those who are saints don't want to be called saints either. The latter don't believe the gospel which comforts them and the former don't believe the law which accuses them.

 

"You say that the sins which we commit every day offend God, and therefore we are not saints. To this I reply: Mother love is stronger than the filth and scabbiness on a child, and so the love of God toward us is stronger than the dirt that clings to us. Accordingly, although we are sinners, we do not lose our filial relation on account of our filthiness, nor do we fall from grace on account of our sin.

 

"You object that we are always sinning, and where there are sins the Holy Spirit does not dwell; therefore we are not saints because the Spirit sanctifies. I reply: The text says, 'The Spirit...will glorify me' (Jn 16:13-14). Therefore, where Christ is, there is the Holy Spirit also. Besides, sins do not separate Christ from sinners who believe. The God of the Turks helps only to the extent that one is godly. This is also true of the pope's God, but when a papist begins to doubt, as he must, that he has made enough satisfaction, he becomes alarmed. Such is the faith of the pope and the Turks. But the Christian says: I believe and cling to him who is in heaven as a Savior. If I fall into sin I rise again but do not continue to sin. I rise up and become the enemy of sin. Thus the Christian faith differs from other religions in this, that the Christian hopes even in the midst of evils and sins. Without the Holy Spirit natural man cannot do this. He can only seek refuge in works. To say, 'I am a child of God,' is accordingly not to be doubted even when good works are lacking, as they always are in all of us. This is so great a thing that one is startled by it. Such is its magnitude that one cannot believe it."

Martin Luther, Table Talk (1533), 437 
 
Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, You have made us children of God by giving us Your name in holy baptism. Grant that we might live by Your word and promises and not be coerced into the legalism that demands that we perform according to a false standard of human sexuality. Help us to rejoice in Your good gift of human sexuality in Your institution of holy marriage, which You gave to our first parents in Paradise. Protect us from those who would try to deprive us of this good gift; through same Jesus Christ, who is the Bridegroom of the Church. Amen.

 

For Marty Thomas, as she recovers from surgery, that the Lord would grant her healing and health

 

For Harald Smits, who is gravely ill, that he would commend his soul to his Lord Jesus

 

For the children who are slaughtered in Planned Parenthood plants in the United States and the world, that they might be rescued from this ghoulish traffic in death 
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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