In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
For He removes that burden of sin and bestows authority to become God’s children. For believing on His name, the name of the only begotten Son, you are God’s child. The Son declares you to be in Him. He is the one with all authority in heaven and earth given to Him by His Father. He declares you to be in Him. And the Father says of His only begotten, “This is my Son. With Him I am well-pleased.” Thus, you have God’s good pleasure. For Our Lord brings it to you. Just as the angels said, “Peace on earth God’s goodwill toward men, in and through this child.”
But you are not born God’s child. God did not sire you. He did not have relations with a woman to beget you. God knit you together in your mother’s womb. But it was your parents’ genetic code or blood, sexual desire, and intention that brought you into this world. And it is their gift of inherited sinful, that makes you an enemy of God from birth, hostile to Him, dead to Him, cut off from Him. So that you and I have no authority or power to make ourselves His children.
Instead we are born of God. Born again. Born from above. Baptized into Christ, so that in Christ, in His name, we are the Father’s children. For we are in Him. We are His beloved, only begotten son. He is His father’s presence with us. Emmanuel, God with us.
And wonder of wonders, He who is God’s living presence tabernacling in our flesh, walking with us, among us, brings the blessed forgiveness of sins to us. He shows forth, He epiphanies His Father’s kindness and love for mankind. God has no reason to love us. We are traitors, enemies of Him, turncoats. Yet, because He is love, because love overflows from Him, because He is its source, because we are a result of His love, He loves us in spite of our sin. Like a Father who loves His wayward child. Like the Father and lord of the house loved the Prodigal Son who returned.
There are no works in us. Just like the prodigal we waste His wealth lavished on us in prostitutes and drink, or other sins of the flesh. But this baptism which makes you His child washes you clean every time you return to it. Every time you repent and turn from those sins and back to your loving Father your baptism washes you clean again giving you rebirth as His child. Making you new. Making you better. Declaring you His beloved Son again in Christ.
That is what Holy Absolution delivers: the Word made flesh in your ears. It is your rebirth and return to Holy Baptism. That is what the Lord’s Supper delivers: the Word made flesh in your mouth, on your tongue. The Lord made flesh tabernacling in your body. You in Him and Him in you. The light of the world in you. Lightening the darkness of your heart filling it with Himself as He dwells in you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
---Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church,
Thunder Bay, ON