Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fifth Sunday in Lent
In the temple Jesus said, "If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death." (John 8:42-59) For Jesus came to taste death for us, to drink the cup of suffering to the dregs in order that we might be released from its power. Clinging to His life-giving words, we are delivered from death's sting and its eternal judgment. Christ is our High Priest, who entered the Holy of Holies and with His own blood obtained everlasting redemption for His people. (Heb 9:11-15) He is the Timeless One, who was before Abraham and yet is his descendant. He is the promised Son who carries the wood up the mountain for the sacrifice, who is bound and laid upon the altar of the cross. He is the ram who is offered in our place, who is willingly caught in the thicket of our sin, who wears the crown of thorns upon His head. (Gen 22:1-14) Though Jesus is dishonored by the sons of the devil, He is vindicated by the Father through the cross. For, "In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided."

* Psalm 43 (ESV)
* Genesis 22:1-14 (ESV)
* Hebrews 9:11-15 (ESV)
* St. John 8:42-59 (ESV)

Hymn of the Day
* LSB 430 "My Song Is Love Unknown"

Other Hymns
* LSB 429 "We Sing the Praise of Him Who Died"
* LSB 431 "Not All the Blood of Beasts"
* LSB 634 "The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord"
* LSB 544 "O Love, How Deep"

A Book of Concord Reading for Judica
Love is the Fulfillment of the Law
In today's Gospel Jesus tells the Jews, "If God were your Father, you would love Me." The Law of God shows us how to love Him in His Son, Whose blood shall "cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." [HEB 9:14] From The Formula of Concord, Part II, Chapter 4:
1] A disagreement has also occurred among the theologians of the Augsburg Confession concerning good works, one part employing the following words and manner in speaking of them: Good works are necessary for salvation; it is impossible to be saved without good works; likewise, no one has been saved without good works; because, they say, good works are required of true believers as fruits of faith, and faith without love is dead, although such love is no cause of salvation.
2] The other part, however, contended, on the contrary, that good works are indeed necessary; however, not for salvation, but for other reasons; and that on this account the aforecited propositiones, or expressions, which have been used (as they are not in accord with the form of sound doctrine and with the Word, and have been always and are still set by the Papists in opposition to the doctrine of our Christian faith, in which we confess that faith alone justifies and saves) are not to be tolerated in the Church, in order that the merit of Christ, our Savior, be not diminished, and the promise of salvation may be and remain firm and certain to believers.
3] In this controversy also the following controverted proposition, or expression, was employed by some few, that good works are injurious to salvation. It has also been argued by some that good works are not necessary, but are voluntary [free and spontaneous], because they are not extorted by fear and the penalty of the Law, but are to be done from a voluntary spirit and a joyful heart. Over against this the other side contended that good works are necessary.
4] This [latter] controversy was originally occasioned by the words necessitas and libertas, that is, necessary and free, because especially the word necessitas, necessary, signifies not only the eternal, immutable order according to which all men are obliged and in duty bound to obey God, but sometimes also a coercion, by which the Law forces men to good works.
All Book of Concord quotations are taken from the Triglotta, copyright 1921 by CPH. It is in public domain.

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