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In the Treasury this morning, Luther's "Babylonian Captivity of the Church," is the chosen devotional writing which says, "2nd Timothy 2:13-If we are faithful, He remains faithful-for He cannot deny Himself. This truth of God, I say, will sustain him, so that if all else should fail, this truth, if he believes in it, will not fail him. In it the penitent has a shield against all assaults of the scornful enemy, an answer to the sins that disturb his conscience, an antidote for the dread of death and judgment, and a comfort in every temptation-namely, this one truth-when He says: 'God is faithful in His promises (Hebrews 10:23;11:11), and I received HIs sign in baptism. If God is for me, who is against me? (Romans 8:31)." (Treasury 194).
The only thing that comforts us in our times of despair and helplessness, is not confidence in our steadfastness or faith, but rather is in the reality that God is faithful to His promise. God the Father is faithful to His promise that, in Jesus, He is well pleased. He is pleased in Jesus being the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world. He is pleased in the death of His Son for the life of the world. He is pleased that Jesus claimed as His own every sinner and, on the cross, paid the price for our transgressions and failures. When all else fails, our faithfulness, our holiness, our trust in the idols of this world to comfort us, God the Father is still pleased in the death and resurrection of His Son for our forgiveness and salvation. Our failures do not trump His steadfastness to His promise to save us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The gift that Jesus purchased and won on the cross for us is now gifted to us in the means of grace. We don't return back to the cross, or save ourselves by means of meditation on the passion of Jesus and through our contemplation achieve comfort. No. God does not look at us in our despair and expect us to crawl our way back to Him. No. God the Father has compassion on us and sends us the Holy Spirit who brings Jesus to us and all the gifts that Jesus won on the cross for us. Rather than waiting for us to come to Him for comfort and solace, God comes to us in Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Holy Absolution, The Gospel preached, and in the mutual consolation of the brethren. In these means, we have the power of the cross for our salvation. In these means, we receive the full mercy of Jesus and have absolute forgiveness and acquittal of all our sins. In these means, we have what sustains us from font to grave, assured that we are a child of a merciful and ever loving God. God made a promise to you in your baptism, that you are His forgiven child and a recipient of life eternal. He renews this promise to you every time you receive absolution for your sins and feast on His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. God cannot deny Himself, and He has determined that you be forgiven, saved, and live with Him forever. May we continue to encourage each other in this truth until our Father calls us home to Himself.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam drowned anew so that you 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.