01 February 2016

The Christ Is For You and For Your Children

You and your whole body and life, all that you are and have belong to the Lord your God, your Creator and Preserver.  You cannot live without Him.  But neither can you live with Him in your sin, which separates you from God and from His Life, and drives you to death and damnation.

The Lord who created you in love must redeem you and reclaim you for Himself, if you are to live and not die.  And this He has accomplished in the Person of the Incarnate Son, Christ Jesus.  He has fulfilled the Law for you, which always was concerning Him, His Redemption and Salvation.

For He is the promised Seed of the Woman, who has come and crushed the devil’s head by His own sacrificial death upon the Cross.

He is the Firstborn Son of God, given as the Passover Lamb for the redemption of the firstborn sons of Israel, and for all the children of man.

And He is the great High Priest, whose entire body and life, flesh and blood have been dedicated to your salvation; who has atoned for all your sins and reconciled you to God in Himself.

Everything depends upon this dear Lord Jesus Christ.  It all hinges on His Incarnation, Cross, and Resurrection.  And so also do all of God’s purposes and promises continue in the Body of Christ, crucified and risen, in the Ministry of His Holy Gospel, in the Temple of His Church on earth.

To be righteous and devout, therefore, like Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna — which is to say, to live by grace through faith in the Word and promises of God — is to look for and wait upon the Consolation of Israel within the courts of the Lord’s House.  It is to watch and pray, and to wait for the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom you do not see death forever, but you rise and live with Him.

To be in His Temple, to Hear His Word and call upon His Name, to give attention to the rites and ceremonies of His Gospel, and to receive His gifts — these are the most essential activities of all.

To be about these holy things of Christ, your Lord, is the most important thing in your whole life, and so also the most important thing for your children, who likewise belong by right to the Lord, their Creator and Redeemer.  It is therefore your responsibility, if you are a father or mother, to bring your children to the Lord’s House, as Joseph and Mary presented the Lord Jesus Himself.

It is the Lord alone who releases you and your children from the bondage of sin and death, and He alone who grants to you and to your children the true and lasting Peace of His Life and Salvation.  And this He does, for you and for them, by the revelation of His Holy Gospel and by the blessing of His Body and His Blood.

Bear in mind that neither you nor your children are able to receive these gifts rightly, that is, in faith and with thanksgiving, except by the Holy Spirit, who is actively present and at work in the Word of the Law and the Gospel.  By that Word and the preaching of it, He calls you and brings you to repentance.  He puts you to death and raises you up to newness of life.

Indeed, He has done so for you and for your children in the waters of Holy Baptism, whereby you have been crucified, put to death, and buried with Christ Jesus, and whereby you are daily made alive with Him through the forgiveness of your sins.  That is what your Baptism continues to mean — and what it continues to do — throughout your life on earth.

So do the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit continue to deal with you within His Holy Christian Church.  For having called you by His Name and made you His own dear child in Holy Baptism, He does not let you go or let you get away from Him.  He would have you live with Him in His Kingdom, here in time by faith in His Word, and hereafter in eternity in your own risen and glorified body.

That is why the Holy Spirit has called you by the Gospel and brought you here into the Church, the Body of Christ.  And it is why you have brought your children here with you, that they also may have life in His Name, both now and forever.

Here, in the Ministry of the Gospel, you are purified of your sins by the forgiveness of Christ, by His holy and precious Blood.  And here you eat and drink the Feast of the true Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed for you, that you should live and not die.  Here you abide in the House of the Lord all the days of your life, and so shall you abide in His House forevermore.

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

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