Tag Archives: Forgiveness

“It is finished”

This post speaks for itself quite well.

Eilers Pizza

2016-03-23 11.22.22 Christ’s cross, by my daughter, Erin

Among the things that I found myself saying after several years as a pastor regards the character of God, that He is love, and merciful, and generous, and just, and faithful, and when talking about the person and work of our Savior, Jesus, I continually found myself asking, “Who wouldn’t love a God like that?”

To love God, we have to properly understand God. And, in the Lord Jesus’ Good Friday declaration from the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30),” we have the foundation laid for a proper understanding of God.

The problem with us is that we constantly take those words out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus as if He never spoke them, as if He did not complete the work of saving us, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our…

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Heroic Qualities

Christ died on the cross. He shed his precious blood for a wretched sinner such as myself. I have done many terrible things that I’m not proud of. Things I’m ashamed to admit, but still things that I have done, nonetheless. So how can I look someone in the eye and tell them what a wretched sinner they are? Well, it’s because I know what one is.

It’s you and I. He and she. Boy and girl. Child and adult. It is everyone who has ever lived. Well, most everyone. There is that one guy. Some of you might know his as Jesus the Christ. Others may refer to him as Yeshua. Whatever you call him, he is the savior of man.

He didn’t punch a car to stop a speeding train, nor did he stop a mad scientist from taking over the world. No. He was nailed to a stick. It was a very large stick, but a stick still the same. I know, it doesn’t sound much like a quality of someone who saves people, but it’s true.

Some of you may have done something wrong or stupid in your life that was going to get you into a heap of trouble. You knew you were going to get it this time and there was no way out of it. But then, for whatever reason, the guy who’s got the good reputation feels sorry for you. So he goes in and takes the blame and punishment for it so that you can get off scot free.

Well, that’s kinda what Jesus did, except he wasn’t just the guy with the good reputation. No. He was the guy who lived perfectly and never sinned. And in an act of mercy, he took the punishment of every single sin of every single person who has ever lived and who will ever live.

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The problem of God: part two

Eilers Pizza

The problem with God is that He is too nice.

I know that I just made a faith statement. This is what I believe: God is perfectly, profoundly nice to us. Just because that is a statement of my faith does not mean it is not true.

Even before we get to God the Son dying for the life of the world—the ultimate proof of God’s niceness—I like to note that, from the beginning, we see in God’s character that we can trust Him, that He aims to display kindness. When Adam and Eve hid from Him, because they had broken the law, God searched for them. He did not search for them to kill them, but to counsel, console, and clothe them. When He asked Adam what he had done, Adam did this: Adam sassed God right to His face.

And he lived to tell about it.

Adam said…

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Greater Forgiveness in Death

A while back, I watched a documentary involving World War II though I honestly can’t remember what it was. In part of the film, a few elderly vets went back to a place where they had an intense battle with the Nazis. While they were there, two elderly Nazi vets showed up. Though they had never met, they knew each other. Not by name or anything like that, but by the fact that they fought in the same battle. They remembered exactly where they were positioned and where they were shooting. These men some sixty years before were actively trying to kill each other. In fact, they’d each succeeded in killing each others friends. But then something happened that struck me.

As they talked about the battle, none of them had any animosity towards each other. In fact, they embraced and hugged each other and even shared some laughs together. At the end, they all posed for a picture with smiles to commemorate the historic moment. It was a beautiful thing to see.

In a way, Christ’s forgiveness is kinda like that. The big difference is that while these men who reconciled were trying to kill each other, we actually killed Christ. While they were only able to forgive in life, only Christ can forgive in death.

And he does.

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Acceptance

This is kind of a follow up post to my last one. I’ve started read C.F.W. Walther’s The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel when there came to a part about accepting faith. Upon first glance, it seems to indicate salvation is in fact something that you have to accept, but when you read it carefully, you’ll realize that the type of acceptance he is referring to isn’t transactional but instead simply taking something for what it is.

But does not the Gospel demand faith? Yes; that, however, is just the same kind of command as when you say to a hungry person, “Come, sit down at my table and eat.” The hungry person will not reply: “Bosh! I will not take orders from you.” No, he will understand and accept your words as a kind invitation. That is what the Gospel is—a kind invitation to partake of heavenly blessings.

I like this portion because at first it sounds like it’s something we choose to do, IE accept the gospel. But when you really look at it and think about it, Walther doesn’t appear to be using the word accept as most Christians today would. Instead, he appears using it more in terms of “recognition of a fact” instead of “choosing to do something.” You don’t accept the gospel on your own doing or merits but you just have faith and because it is given to you, you accept that you have it. To better explain it, let’s say that I have a stapler. I accept the fact that it’s a stapler because that’s what it is. Likewise, the faith that the Gospel demands isn’t something I accept in the sense that I choose it, but I accept the fact that I have it through no decisions of my own.

Notice how Walther says that, “he will understand and accept your words as a kind invitation.” He does not say he is accepting a kind invitation. NO! He is saying that he is accepting your words for exactly what they are, a kind invitation. So when you are given faith and the forgiveness of sins, you simply accept that you have it. You do not accept it in the transactional sense that by accepting it, you are doing something to merit this forgiveness.

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Merry Christmas

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. A time after that, he created man and man sinned against God. When man sinned against God, he separated himself from the holiness that is God. Death entered the world and condemned all who dwelled in it. Man, in his pride, tried every way to achieve salvation. He toiled in false idols and works, yet not could save him for all were perceived as filthy menstrual rags in the eyes of a just and holy God. Through his actions, man condemned himself to the eternal fires of Hell. God, being just and holy and having no desire to see any of the man who He created burn with the devil and his angels offered a ways of Salvation. He needed a sacrifice.

So God in his wisdom sacrificed a man to for the sins of all. This man would be a perfectly innocent man whose blood would atone for the sins of everyone who has ever lived and ever will lived. But where in the world did such a man exist? Nowhere. So God came down as a man, birthed from a virgin. Having been born from a virgin, He did not know sin. Not knowing sin, sin did not exist within him. Being God and of God, He could not sin. Therefore His sacrifice was perfect. His perfect sacrifice, His perfect atonement. Praise be to Christ who was born for my sin, for your sin.

Merry Christmas

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Thanksgiving

The Lord Jesus Christ has defeated death.  He has triumphed over sin. As such, we should be joyful with thanksgiving always. For without Christ there is no hope. We would be slaves to our sin. And though the Devil makes repeated attempts to catch us in his snare, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ has already cut the rope. Sure, we might trip over it as we sinful beings are wont to do, but it will not fling us into the air and dangle us from our ankle.

Lord Jesus Christ, it is with great thanksgiving for your shed blood on the cross that we come to you. Without your sinless life combined with your sacrifice and resurrection, we would be rightfully cursed to the pit where Satan and his angels reside. Thank you for Holy baptism that when I stumble, I can look on it and say, “Yes, Christ died for me. I am saved.” There is none greater you. May your Holy named continue to bless us all. Amen.

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Unintentionally more Christian than Christian?

I’ve once heard it said that Christian movies are like porno: The budget is low, the acting is bad, and you know how it’s going to end. So I was pleasantly surprised when I watched a horror movie last night that I felt made a better Christian movie than most Christian movies. There was no mention of Jesus and no prayer which is why I say unintentionally Christian.

So then how is it a Christian film? First let me give you the basic plot. Five people who have committed horrible sins are trapped in an elevator. One of those people is the Devil and he is tormenting them before he kills them and they spend their eternal fate in Hell. I don’t want give away any spoilers but it had one element that most Christian movies completely lack. The movie ended with confession and the forgiveness of sins. When is the last time you saw a Christian movie end like that? I don’t know about you, but in my experience, the moral of most Christian movies is that if you pray and have faith in Jesus, you’ll get a new truck, your team will win the big game, your infertile wife will become pregnant, etc. Basically, everything that’s going wrong in your life will end up happy and good. That’s a problem with Christian movies. They are usually all law. You do this and God will bless you in this life. But that’s not gospel. That’s why I feel this movie was unintentionally a better Christian movie than most Christian movies. Because even though there is no mention of Jesus Christ, the gospel is actually implied. There is repentance, there is confession, and there is forgiveness of sins. The movie didn’t accidentally beat me over the head with law like most Christian movies, but it did succeed where most of them fail, even if unintentionally.

If you’d like to watch this movie, it’s called Devil. Please keep in mind that it is rated R and its primary goal is to frighten you. Though somewhat tame for a horror movie, it does have its share of blood and violence as well as some strong language in places.

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The real altar call

I’ve spoken in the past on how damaging an altar call can be, but what I didn’t speak on was that there is a very real altar call that is wonderful indeed.  Every Sunday, God calls us to his altar to receive his body and blood.  Not just a representation of body and blood, but actual body and blood.    This very real body and blood is given for the very real forgiveness of sins.  Not only that, the real altar call is true proclamation of the gospel.

 So as you can see, the altar call, the real altar call, is a very sacred right instituted by God himself.  It is not a call to unbelievers to receive Jesus into their hearts.  NO!  It is a call from God himself to believers.  A call to us from God every single week to receive his body and blood and forgiveness of sins.  Holy communion.  The Lord’s supper.  The sacraments.  This is the real altar call.  And it’s the only altar call that proclaims gospel and the forgiveness of sins.

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“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is a great thing to read. In light of everything going on in Iraq, this is extremely comforting.

The Old Adam Lives!

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– Romans 5:8

Years ago I sat with a couple who were preparing for marriage. The young woman ran through a lengthy list of all the reasons she could think of as to why she loved her fiance’. He was generous, hard-working, handsome, thoughtful, funny, and so forth. When it was time for the young man to speak he said,” I don’t need a reason to love her. I just love her.” He was not far from the Kingdom!

When we examine the Bible it does not provide us with God’s reasons for loving. Nowhere is there an assessment of humanity from God’s vantage point where He lists our numerous virtues as reason for loving us. If anything, the Bible is a collection of evidence that suggests there is not much lovable about us. Our generous self-assessments are not reflected in the mirror of heaven. This is…

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