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St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy saying, "if we are faithless, he remains faithful." (2nd Timothy 2:13). This is not a license to sin, meaning we don't just throw up our hands and say, "Well, I'm gonna be sinful so I might as well admit that I am sinful and not try to make a change." No, that is not what this verse is about. It is not an encouragement to do whatever you want because you know that God will forgive you anyway. No, God never encourages us to sin. Any pastor that uses this verse in this way is not sent from God, but rather is a wolf in sheep's clothing. No, this verse from St. Paul is not for the hardened hearted sinner, but rather for those who are terrified in conscience. Yes, when we are faithless, God remains faithful.
When we are faithless at loving our neighbor, God is faithful in loving us. Yes, we are called to walk in accordance with the 2nd table of the law, to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to live a chaste life in what we say and do, put the best construction on everything, and help our neighbor in every physical need, all while being joyfully content with everything the Lord gives to us and to our neighbor. We the baptized want to live this way. We want to love our neighbor. We want to tithe more. We want to sacrifice more. We want to be there for everyone in every single one of their needs. But we fail at this. We leave church on Sunday jacked up to love our neighbor, and we fail before we put our key in the ignition. We walk through the week tormented by the devil telling us that we are failures and good for nothing. We see how the world lives and begin playing copy cat. Yes, we fail at loving our neighbor. But, the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel and brings us to church, not to kick us while we're down, but to forgive us in our lowest time. Yes, Jesus loves us unconditionally. NO matter how angry we get at Him, or how much we lust for the things of this world, Jesus abides in steadfast love for us. Yes, in our Baptism Jesus united us to Himself, promising that because we have now died a death like His, we shall certainly rise in a resurrection like His. Yes, when we are faithless and our love for our neighbor is nonexistent, Jesus comes to us in our weakness and absolves us of all failure and shortcomings.
When we are faithless toward God, He remains faithful in coming to us in His Word. Remember, St. Paul wrote, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:17). Yes, we fail at loving our neighbor during the week, and worse than this, we walk in doubt and unbelief. Yes, a lack of love is proof of a tree gone dead. Do we trust that God has what is best for us at heart? Do we trust that Jesus will take care of everything for us in body body and soul. Do we trust that God does forgive us, forgive our neighbor, and destine us for heaven? Do we believe in heaven even, or sometimes even in God Himself? Yes, an atheistic heart comes naturally to us because of sin. Despair comes easily because we have these moments of extreme doubt. However, we are not given to listen to the devil, world, or that little voice of the Old Adam, but rather we listen to Jesus. What does Jesus say to us in our times of doubt, despair, and shame? Does He say, "Well, your a bridge too far for Me?" No. Jesus says, "Come, you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." He says, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many." He says, "It is finished."
Yes, your salvation is finished and accomplished by your Savior Jesus. Yes, He remained faithful to saving you on the cross. He did not turn back, but stared all your sin and my sin in the face and said, "Bring it on. Sin, devil, and death will not take from Me My beloved sheep." Yes, on the cross Jesus purchased and won salvation for us by taking all our faithlessness and drowning it in His faithful and all atoning sacrifice. And Jesus remains faithful to that sacrifice today. Yes, the Father's wrath was consumed there on the cross and condemns you no more. Yes, when you sin, because of Jesus, you are forgiven rather than condemned. Yes, as many times as you fail, the Father does not look upon your failure, but instead looks upon and remembers His Son's faithful sacrifice for you on the cross. He remembers He baptized you and claimed you as His Own. He is faithful in forgiving you all your sin when you eat His Body and drink His Blood. He is faithful in forgiving you all your sins when the pastor, in the stead of Jesus, absolves you and acquits you of all crimes against both God and your neighbor. Yes, when you are faithless, God remains faithful in forgiving you. That's what church is all about. Church is a group of faithless sinners being forgiven by their faithful Savior.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam drowned anew so that you may hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I love you. I forgive you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.