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Romans

14:1-9


As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

 

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 
(ESV)

The Security Bond

Ezekiel

21 July 2015

I suppose there are bail bondsmen in Canada, but for the life of me I cannot remember seeing one. Gratefully, I suppose this was because I had very little reason to be near the municipal courthouse of our town. The church I served in Gretna, Louisiana, was within walking distance of the courthouse and the walk was punctuated by the offices of the bail bondsmen. There is something seamy about a street littered with signs like "Blair's Bail Bonds." For those who have been taken into custody by the local constabulary, such establishments, though seamy, are rather necessary. Who wants to stay in jail unnecessarily? Of course, the bondsman has a huge stake in your fulfilling the conditions of your bail, because he has risked a large sum of money on your fulfillment. If you break the conditions of your bail, he will send a "bounty hunter" after you. The higher the value of the bond, the harder the bondsman will work to get you back into the custody of the state.

 

Think of the cost of our freedom. What a great price Christ has offered as a surety for our lives. He offered His precious blood for us. He died that we might be freed from the custody of the law. He purchased us at a full price, ungrudgingly offered for those who were not worthy of its enormous value. And now that it has been given once and for all, how could you doubt the certainty of the One who offered it or think that He would just abandon you? How could you imagine that once purchased by so great a price that the Lord would cast off His dearly won possession? How could anyone dream that such a Shepherd would abandon the one lost sheep and stay behind with the ninety-nine? If He cares so intensely for us poor sinners, what would make us think that He would not send out messengers calling us back to the fold which He created when He died? Once the price has been paid the Master wants to retain possession of that for which He paid the price.

 

The ministers of the church have the privilege of being the divine bounty hunters seeking the lost for whom Christ died. Why wouldn't He send them out? He has invested an enormous price in their salvation. They are His; the sheep of His pasture. He is jealous for them; even greedy to possess them. He is more zealous for his property rights over us (1Pt 2:9) than we ever could be, no matter how greedy we might be. Our Lord Jesus Christ would never have the heart to give up on us. He is the Lord of the dead and therefore also certainly of the living. No one can snatch us out of His hand (Jn 10:28-29). He wants to return us to himself not in handcuffs, but by the bonds of love and the power of His precious sacrifice. He wants His full value from the price He offered.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living' (Rm 14:9). I want to convince you that Christ is concerned about our salvation. For if He had not had this great care for us, there would have been no need for the incarnation. He who had shown so much anxiety about our becoming His, so as to take the form of a servant and die, will He despise us after we have become His own? This could not be so. Surely, it cannot!

 

He would not choose to waste such great effort. "He says, 'For to this end Christ died,' as if to say, 'Such a one will not have the heart to despise His servant.' For He was concerned about His own possessions (see Ex 21:21). For indeed we are not as much in love with money as He is with our salvation. Therefore, it was not money, but His own blood that He gave as a bond of security for us. For this reason, He would not have the heart to give up those for whom He had laid down such a great price." 

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 25
 
Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, you have paid a perfect price to redeem us from our bondage to sin and death. Continue to send Your messengers into the world to call us back to Your fold. Give us Your Spirit that we might never doubt Your desire to have and possess us. Free us from despair that we might be at peace with You. Amen.

 

For Margaret Peddycoart, that the Lord would continue to be with her and the medications would give her the strength and healing that she needs

 

For the Council of Presidents of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that its members would be granted wisdom from on high

 

For Concordia University Texas that faculty and staff would be confirmed in their calling to both educate and learn

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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