04 March 2020

Living with Christ in the Household and Family of God

Christ Jesus is the Lord your God, who has brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, into the freedom of faith in the household and family of His Father.  You shall have no other gods than Him.  For there is life in no one else, and there is no other name by which you shall be saved.

Call upon the Name of this Lord Jesus.  Look to Him for all that you need, and for all good things.  Trust Him and rely on Him, and so proceed in faith and confidence.  Know that He is with you, that He loves you, and that He will help you in the future as in the past.  For the sake of His great mercy and compassion, He shall never leave you nor forsake you, but He will save you from sin, death, the devil, and hell.  He will rescue you from every evil of body and soul.

As surely as He has borne your sins and griefs and sorrows in His own Body on the Cross, as surely as He has laid down His life and shed His blood for you as the Lamb of God, and as surely as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity, so surely does He conquer all your enemies, cleanse you from all unrighteousness, and bring you out of death and the grave into His Resurrection and His Life.  As He has ascended to the right hand of His God and Father in heaven, so does He seat you there with Himself in the heavenly places, even now, and forever and ever.

He is your sure and certain Hope.  He is your faith and life.  He is your Strength and your Song.  For He has become your Salvation, and so does He remain.

Cling to Him, therefore, and worship Him — with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Worship this Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit.  As you have been baptized in His Name, into His Cross and Resurrection — by the washing of water with His Word — so confess His Name in both your words and actions, and pray in His Name to your Father in heaven by the grace of His Holy Spirit, as He Himself has taught you and invited you to pray.

Indeed, let your whole life be a confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and a prayer of faith in Him.  With your body worship Him in reverence and humility before Him, in fear, love, and trust in Him above all else, and so also in loving and self-sacrificing service to your neighbor for Jesus’ sake.

Do not make or worship any other gods, nor attempt to be a god unto yourself.  That is to say, do not put your hope and confidence in yourself or anyone else, but solely in this Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of the Father.  Do not invest yourself, your heart and mind, your time and energy, in anything apart from His Word.  Do not give your body over to that which His Word forbids, nor to that which He has not given to you, but exercise and train your body to live unto righteousness according to His Word.  Likewise, do not speak except as He has spoken, that all your words might be good and right and true.  Live in such a way, by faith in Christ Jesus, that everything you do and say resounds to the glory, honor, thanks, and praise of your God and Father in heaven.

It is really a matter of living in His house, as a member of His family, as a child and heir of God the Father in Christ Jesus, the beloved Son.  It is a matter of resting in His gracious providence, abiding in His peace, receiving His good gifts, being cared for and protected by the One who loves you and bestows His own life upon you.  It is a matter of finding your own place, your refuge, and your home, with Him who has called you to Himself and named you with His own Name, adopting you for the sake of His great love, and granting you a glorious inheritance forever.

The rules of His household and family are not some new kind of slavery or bondage, though your old Adam is constrained and constricted by such rules.  Sons and daughters in this life of sin do not always honor their fathers and mothers; they do not always obey their parents.  Brothers and sisters do not always love and care for each other as they should.  Therefore, the rules of the Father’s house so order things for the benefit of one and all, that wickedness, hurt, and harm may be curbed, that help may be given and good promoted.  So, too, the rules of His household aim to keep you close to your Father and your family, to keep you safe from all harm and danger, and to give you the rhythm and stability of real life in the peace and harmony of Christ, your Savior.

To that end, His rules set before you the good life that Christ Jesus has lived for you in His own flesh and blood like yours, the life which He has given and still gives to you by His Ministry of the Gospel.  He thus invites you into that life, which is established and steadfast in Him.  And He continues to bear the good fruits of that life, so that you might eat and drink and live with Him.

He jealously guards you against the false gods that seek to entice and force you away from Him — the false gods and idols that promise you life, though they actually have nothing but death, destruction, and despair to inflict upon you.  That you should rather live instead of die, your dear Lord Jesus invites you to pray, He teaches and encourages you to pray, and He even commands you to pray, that you should thereby learn to speak and live by faith in His God and Father, who has in fact become your own God and Father.  So does He also call you daily back to your Sabbath Rest in Him, to His Word, and to His good works.  For He would feed you at His Table and give you peaceful sleep in the bed that He has made for you, in your own room in your Father’s house.

The pillow upon which your heart and soul, your mind and body rest is the sweet forgiveness of His Gospel.  For He Himself loves you in the way that He commands you to love your neighbors, to love your brothers and sisters.  And in such love He also forgives you all your sins.  He does not hold your trespasses against you.  As His mercies are new every morning, so is your Father’s house always wide open to you; your place at His Table is set and secure; and your Sabbath Rest in Christ Jesus remains in the Ministry of His Gospel, unto the Life everlasting of your body and soul.

Such love and forgiveness are the good fruits of His good Tree, which He bears for you in His mercy and in His perfect faithfulness.

By these fruits of the Cross, He does you no hurt, He causes you no harm, neither in your body nor in your soul.  On the contrary, He gives to you His own divine Life, both now and forever.

He does not rob you, He does not mug you, and He does not take any good thing away from you.  He rather gives you Himself and all the treasures of His Kingdom, so that you lack for nothing.

He is an ever-faithful husband, who cherishes you and cares for you as a member of His beloved Bride, His Holy Church.  And wherever you have strayed, as often as you have turned away from Him and gone a-whoring after other gods, still He woos you back to Himself, He reconciles you to Himself, and He always welcomes you back into His strong arms and His loving embrace.

With His Word He forgives you, He enlightens you, He teaches you all things, and He gives to you His Holy Spirit.  He defends you against all the assaults and accusations of the devil.  He quiets even the accusations of God’s own Law against you, as surely as He has kept and fulfilled the Law for you.  He thus covers your shame with His own honor.  He speaks well of you, even though the whole world does not.  He speaks well of you, and He credits you with His own righteousness.

This is the firm foundation of His Father’s house, which stands fast on earth even as it is in heaven, and which shall not be blown away or wrecked by winds or waves, by earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, or raging floods.  For all the Law and the Prophets have been fulfilled in Him, in His Incarnation, in His Body of flesh and blood, in His Cross and Resurrection, in His holy faith and perfect love.  He has kept and still keeps all the rules of the house for you, so that His Sabbath Rest remains and His good life continues for you.  That shall never be shaken or removed.

That is why the Word of Christ has such authority.  He does not simply interpret or teach the Law, but He has kept and fulfilled the Law (just as it was always intended).  And His fulfillment of the whole Law, of the Ten Commandments and all that His Father has spoken, has become His Gospel to you.  Thus does He forgive your sins — your faults and failings, your breaking of the Law, and your neglect of faith and love.  As He has given Himself for you in atonement for all that has been wrong, so does He give Himself to you in peace, in mercy and compassion, in order to repair what has been broken, to set right what is amiss, to fill up whatever is lacking, and to bring you home.

Do not be afraid.  The Lord has set you free — but He does not simply let you go.  You are His own beloved, and He truly is the Lord your God.  As He has brought you out of slavery, out of Egypt, so does He bring you in freedom into the good land that He has promised, the good land of His Paradise.  Even now in the wilderness, He remains with you; and He shall not leave you, He shall not abandon you.  Know that He has not forgotten you, but He remembers you in love.

Even here and now, you are at home with Him.  And He shall bring to pass all that He has spoken to you.  The One who promises is faithful, and He will surely do it in grace, mercy, and peace.

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

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