24 January 2009

The Kingdom of God Is at Hand

The point and purpose of creation — which is life with God, in love — is fulfilled in the Incarnation, the Cross and Resurrection of God the Son.

The Kingdom of God is at hand, therefore, in the resurrected Body of Christ Jesus, which is declared and delivered to you in the preaching of repentance in His Name.

There is both threat and promise in that announcement, in the coming of that Kingdom; because it means the end of the world as you know it, and the judgment of all that you fear, love and trust.

Repent, therefore, and believe the Gospel.

But what does that mean?

Die to the world, and live unto God in Christ.

But again, what does that mean?

It is rooted in the Cross and Resurrection of Christ Himself. That is your justification and repentance.

It is accomplished for you and established for you in Baptism, which is the means of your justification and the form of your repentance, for the forgiveness of all your sins.

But what does that mean for you? What does it look like in your life?

Hold on loosely, but don’t let go. Live in the world, but not of it. Make use of God’s good creation and His good gifts, but not as though your life depended on anything other than Him alone.

Be faithful to your spouse and children, your family and friends, your station in life, and your neighbors in the world. But do it for God’s sake, in Jesus’ name, and not for idolatrous affection.

Love your wife or husband, your sons and daughters, your father and mother, your neighbor, because God has commanded it. And, thus, not more than you love Him, nor ever at odds with His Word.

Be concerned chiefly with the things of the Lord. Be ready, then, to leave your home and family, your father and his fishing nets, your nearest and dearest kin, and whatever else it is to which you cling, in order to follow Christ Jesus at His Word.

Normally, His Word directs you to love and serve those very people.

Do it.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

Find your life and love in Him, above all else. Not in this world, nor in its kings and kingdoms, big or small, but in the Kingdom of God, which is at hand; which is here.

It has been accomplished and fulfilled, and established here on earth, in the flesh of Christ; in His Cross and Resurrection; in His holy Body and precious Blood.

It is yours in the waters of your Baptism, in your death and resurrection with Christ Jesus. That is where you find your life: In His Gospel, by faith; in repentance and the forgiveness of all your sins.

That is the net in which you have been caught, for life and salvation with God.

That is the net which is "mended," in so far as you are concerned, by the daily preaching and catechesis of the Word of Christ; by confession and absolution.

That is where and how you live, by His grace, in the eating of His Body and the drinking of His Blood, in which all of creation is fulfilled for you. Indeed, the promise is for you and for your children.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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