06 March 2020

Abiding in the Body of Christ Jesus

The Lord’s Passover is at hand, and the firstborn Son of the Father shall be put to death as the Lamb of God, in order that His people should be spared from death, and saved from their sins, and set free from their bondage and all their burdens of body and soul.

You live, therefore, by abiding in the Father’s house in peace, where the blood of this Lamb marks the door, and where His flesh is eaten in faith and hope and with thanksgiving.

But you cannot remain in His house forever, nor can you live with Him in His presence, so long as you remain in your sin.  For your sin has put you at odds with your Father and would separate you from His house and home altogether.  If you are to abide under His roof, preserved and protected in safety when the Angel of Death passes through Egypt, then you must be forgiven of your sins and reconciled to your Father — lest you be put to death and perish forever.

Now, then, do not cast about frantically for some way or means of appeasing Him.  You cannot purchase or earn God’s favor by any coin or sacrifice of your own.  Atonement and reconciliation are not a business transaction that you could ever negotiate.  Indeed, attempting to barter or bargain for your life with God only puts you that much more at odds with Him.

Rather, see here that the Son of God has been entirely consumed by His zeal for the Father’s house, so that it should be, not a marketplace of works righteousness, but a place of peace and rest for you and for disciples of all nations.  It is a mighty fortress, a refuge and stronghold, a place where you are safe from sin, death, the devil, and hell, and from the condemnation of the Lord’s own Law.

It is by His Cross and Resurrection that the Lord Jesus Christ has become, not only the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but also the true divine, eternal Temple of God among His people, established here on earth for you, and so also at the right hand of the Father for you.

His Body has been sacrificed, once for all, in order to atone for the sins of the whole world; and His Blood has been shed for reconciliation with God.  So it is that His Resurrection from the dead is the opening of heaven to you and to all who believe and are baptized into Him.  His open tomb is now the ever-open door back into the Father’s house.

It is by this authority of His Cross and Resurrection that Jesus calls you to repentance and brings you to faith by His free and full forgiveness of all your sins.  So also, it is from His Cross and in His Resurrection that He feeds you with His own holy Body, which is the very Temple of God.

He thus abides in you, and you abide in Him, who is the Lord your God.  And abiding in Him, you dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of your life, both here and now and forever after.

His House, His Temple, is no one building — neither here nor in Palestine, nor in any other single place on earth — but it is His own Body, conceived and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, risen and ascended to the right hand of the Father, but given to His disciples in His Supper within His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church on earth.

His holy Church around the world (in heaven and on earth) is altogether one Body in Him, because His disciples from all nations eat of His one Body and drink from the one Cup which is the New Testament in His Blood.  Together they are built into a Temple of living stones, to which you also belong — built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Himself the Cornerstone.

Wherever in the world His Scriptures are read, wherever His Word of the Gospel is preached in His Name in its truth and purity, there His Church is gathered — His Body, His Temple on earth — to feast upon His Body and His Blood in faith, hope, and love, to the glory of God the Father.

So, then, receive here what you are, and be what you receive: the Body of Christ.  Be cleansed and sealed by His Blood for life and salvation in Him, and be at peace with your God and Father.  For here you are already at home with Him, and not even death shall be able to separate you from Him.  Though your body shall die and be buried, you also shall rise, in and with your body, and live.

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

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