20 March 2020

Hear His Voice and Come Forth

The judgment of the Son of God is just: Those who have done good are raised to life, whereas those who have done evil are subject to condemnation, punishment, and death.

Yet, what is the good and gracious will of God which Jesus does and accomplishes?  It is to raise you up from death, although you are sinful and unclean and have done what is evil and not good.

Thus has He come down from the bosom of the Father in heaven to tabernacle with us here on earth in His own flesh and blood, in order to judge you not guilty but righteous by His grace.

In doing so, He has not “made Himself” the Son of God; nor has He “made Himself” equal to God.  He simply is and ever shall be who He is, the only-begotten Son of God — God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God — begotten of the Father from all eternity, even forevermore.

And yet, in striking contrast to the way that you selfishly cling to what you claim to be your own, He has not boasted of His equality with God.  Instead, He has humbled Himself and become obedient, even unto His death on the Cross.  Not only has He become true Man, of flesh and blood like your own, but He has made Himself nothing, that is, subject to the curse of sin and death.

He has made Himself the Son of Man — the one true God in the flesh, who has become your Substitute, your Savior and Redeemer — in order to make of you a son of God by grace in Himself.

This dear Lord Jesus, the almighty and eternal Son of God — the Word who was in the beginning with God; the Word who is God, by whom and for whom all things are made and exist — He has put Himself in your place, in order to give you His own place with God the Father in heaven.

The good deeds that you have failed to do, He has done them for you — on your behalf, and also for your benefit.  At the same time, for all the evil you have done (and continue to do), He has suffered the judgment and punishment of your death and damnation in His own body and soul.

What would have crushed you and destroyed you forever, He has dealt with and defeated in Himself, in His own flesh, by the shedding of His holy and precious blood, and by His innocent suffering and death.  He has been crucified, dead, and buried — laid to rest in a tomb.  But from that hole in the ground He has come forth, opening up the way of life and peace and rest for you.

This is the Word that God the Father has spoken, that is to say, His own Son in the flesh, even unto death.  So that, in calling forth His Son from death and the grave, He has granted all authority to His Son to call forth sinners from out of death into life: From their sins to His free forgiveness — from unbelief to faith — from unrighteousness to righteousness — from the tomb into Paradise.

It is by His Voice of the Gospel — by His Word of Holy Absolution — that He, the Son of Man, the Crucified and Risen One, calls you out of darkness into His Light; out of your grave, from the dust of the earth, into His Resurrection from the dead and His Life everlasting in body and soul.

So, then, listen up.  Hear His Voice and come forth!  Do not harden your heart.  Repent of your evil deeds, of your obstinance and unbelief, of your stubborn doubts and fears, and of your idolatry.

Repent of all your sins, and obey the Voice of God.  Not by doing, first of all, but by believing.

Justice and righteousness are not satisfied by your keeping of the Law, even if you could and did manage to keep it (which you do not and cannot accomplish).  You are justified and saved by the Cross of Christ and in His Resurrection from the dead.  So the Hour has come, and now is, when He speaks that Word to you.  And by His Voice He grants His Resurrection and His Life to you.

Hear His Voice, and believe His Word:  Your sins are forgiven.  You are not guilty.  You shall not die, but live forever.  God is your Father, and you are His child.  Come then, find your Sabbath Rest in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, who has made Himself to be your Savior.

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

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