He Guarantees It
Monday of the Transfiguration of our Lord
12 February 2018
There are no guarantees in life, or so we are told. When is the last time you had a guarantee that paid off for you in just the way you thought it should? The dishwasher in my home suffered a malfunction of the handle that opens and closes the unit. Translation: "the handle busted off." After disassembling the unit, I was disappointed to find out that the design was very flimsy, and so I was hardly surprised at the failure. What was surprising is that when I called the manufacturer's help line, besides finding out that the manufacturer was not at all helpful, I found out that only the plastic washer assembly was under the two-year parts warranty. Some guarantee! It guaranteed extremely few of the parts that were susceptible to failure. In this life, there are no guarantees. I know from experience, like most people, that this is most certainly true.
However, we should not judge the guarantees of God on the basis of our human experiences with the guarantees of this life. Whoever came up with the axiom "that there are no guarantees in life," did not know the God who gives His Spirit as a guarantee. Indeed, this God guarantees life itself and pledges Himself with His anointment and seal of the Spirit. How exalted we are that God gives the guarantee for the whole Christian life and all its blessings. We have been established in Christ, not in ourselves, not in our pastors, but in Christ. The guarantee makes certain that which is sealed by the guarantee. This not just the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval." This is the seal of the Spirit. When we call the help line we get through to God and He guarantees our salvation, including all the gifts that He wants to give us, in the third person of the Holy Trinity whom He has given into our hearts. In a world where guarantees mean very little it is good to know that He who offered His own Son for us sinners, also guarantees to us the salvation that was won by His Son's death. What better guarantee could anyone hope for? God has sealed us with Himself.
The preachers guarantee nothing. Our confidence in and warrant for the faith which we believe and confess is not certified by the preachers, no matter how pious, learned, or sacrificial they may appear. It is certified by God whose Word it is, and whose Son stands behind this guarantee of salvation, providing that service to the point of death, even the death of the cross. If that is the guarantee how could we ever doubt the validity of the promises that are contained in it? We have it all! He guarantees it.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   John Chrysostom
"'And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee' (2Co 1:21-22). Again, from the past God establishes the future. For if it is He that establishes us in Christ, who suffered us not to be shaken from the faith which is in Him and He anointed us and gave the Spirit in our hearts, how shall He not give us the future things?
"If He gave the principles and the foundations, and the root and the fount, that is, the true knowledge of Him, the partaking of the Spirit, how shall He not also give the things that come from these? If those principles and foundations are given for the sake of the true knowledge of Him and the partaking of the Spirit, how much more will he also supply those? And if he gave them to such as were His enemies, how much more when now made friends will He 'freely give' those to those He has made friends? Therefore, He said not simply 'the Spirit,' but named the 'guarantee,' that from this you might have a good hope of the whole as well. For if He did not plan to give the whole, He would never have chosen to give the 'guarantee' and to waste it without object or result. Observe Paul's candor. He is saying, 'For why do I need to say that the truth of the promises does not stand in us? The fact of your standing unwavering and fixed is not in us, but this too is of God' He said, 'It is God who establishes us with you in Christ' (2 Co 1:21). 'It is not we who strengthen you. For we too need Him to establish us. So then let no one imagine that the preaching is uncertain in us. God has undertaken the whole. He cared for the whole.'
"What does it mean to be 'anointed,' and 'sealed?' He gave the Spirit by whom He did both these things, making at once prophets and priests and kings. For in old times these three offices were anointed. But we have now not just one of these dignities, but all three preeminently. For we are both to enjoy a kingdom and are made priests by offering our bodies for a sacrifice, for He says 'Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God' (Rm 12:1). Moreover, we are constituted prophets too. For the things 'no eye has seen, nor ear heard,' (1Co 2:9) have been revealed unto us." 

John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians, 3.4
2 Corinthians

For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, You have sent the seal of the Spirit into our hearts guaranteeing our present blessedness through the forgiveness of sins and the hope of future blessedness, in the home you have prepared for us in Your presence. Grant us to live with the confidence of Your guarantee. Help us tell others about the certainty that they too should know in their relationship with You. Amen.
For all those who are suffering anxiety in their place of work, that God the Lord would give them confidence in the guarantees of true peace
For Hilary and Nathan Haak, who have received the gift of a baby girl, Adelin Jean, that mother and child would be kept in the care of our God until Christ brings Adelin into the kingdom through the sacrament of baptism
For all those who have been alienated from the church, that God the Lord, would call them back to His redeemed people by the preached Word that they might again hear His guarantee of salvation
Art: RAFFAELLO Sanzio  The Transfiguration (1518-20)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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