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Superabundant Generosity

Posted by Pastor Christopher Hull on

Luther says, "We will now return to the Gospel,. which does not give us counsel and aid against sin in only one way. God is superabundantly generous in His grace. First, through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world (Luke 24:45-47). This is the particular office of the Gospel. Second, through Baptism. Third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourth, through the Power of the Keys. Also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren. "Where two or three are gathered" (Matthew 18:20). and other such verses (Especially Romans 1:12)" (Smalcald Articles III.IV

We should not place the means of grace on a sliding scale of importance, as if one gift has a greater punch of absolution than another. We should not say that the Gospel proclaimed is good, but the Lord's Supper is really where it's at if you want real forgiveness. We shouldn't say that Jesus does forgive you in the Lord's Prayer, but if you want genuine forgiveness, then you have to go privately and confess your sins. No. The means of grace are not to compete with each other in importance, or quantity of mercy, but rather they are all gifts from our Lord Jesus for our forgiveness. He gives all these gifts in order that we may have the assurance in abundance that He is a generous absolver.  When we meditate on the means of grace mentioned above, we see that we have a God whose abundant generosity overflows for us in many and various ways. This means that His love is not limited, but is unconditional for us and is there for us in every time of trial, fear, and need.

One of the best hymns that helps understand this theology of the means of grace is LSB 602, 'The Gifts Christ Freely Gives," written by Pastor Richard Resch. One of the verses makes the assertion that in the means of grace we see Jesus 'Lavishing such love." In the Gospel means we see the love of Jesus poured out on us for our forgiveness. This is a great help in times of doubt and despair of Jesus' love. May you know the love of Christ today in your Baptism, in your reception of the Lord's Supper, in the Absolution pronounced by the Pastor, in the Gospel preached, and in your mutual conversations with brothers and sisters in Christ. Above all know this, that Jesus loves you and He gives the means of grace to hand over to you the benefits of His death on the cross, meaning forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. May you take heart in this Gospel truth today, that you have a Superabundantly Generous Savior who loves you unconditionally.

Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam drowned anew this day so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus, Amen.

Jesus' Sheepdog,

Pastor Hull


Tags: abundant, generosity, jesus the christ, means of grace