Let us pray: O Holy God, how privileged we are to be able to approach You, not with fear and trepidation, but with joy! For You have stooped down to us, sent us salvation through Your Son, and now have made His priceless treasures our very own via the gift of saving faith—wrought by the Spirit of truth and wisdom. May we always rejoice over our freedom from sin, fear, evil, and death and continue to abide in and with You with love sustaining us. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE BLESSED, HOLY, TRINITY!
TEXT: Romans 8: 14-17
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
When you hear the word “Trinity” what comes to mind? How do you regard the three Persons that comprise our God? Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think most people regard the Holy Father as Someone to be approached with a bit of fear and trepidation. We see Him as the great Law-giver Who lays down that law in our lives.—Gulp! When it comes to Christ, well, He’s a bit more approachable. That’s because He has shared our humanity and knows exactly how we feel and exactly what we go through each day as we struggle in this world. But, what about the Holy Spirit? Well, I believe most don’t give Him much thought since He’s a disembodied entity. He’s mysterious and secretive to our way of thought.
And yet, the entire Trinity is approachable! The entire Godhead is filled with love and compassion for us. In love, the Holy Father sent Jesus to save us. In love, Christ fulfilled His mission. And in love, the Spirit uplifts and applies Christ’s mercy and compassion to our lives. Yes, we have a Personal God Who has directly involved Himself in every aspect of our lives. We have a Personal God Who was willing to get His hands dirty with our sin to save our souls. And because of all this, you can:
REJOICE OVER YOUR FREEDOM TO WALK AND TALK WITH GOD!
As you read the Old Testament and also portions of the New Testament you come across countless people who lived in fear of God. The ancient heathen gods were not loving and kind. They were hard-hearted and full of dictates about how people should live and how they should treat them. Think back on the gods of Egypt or the Canaanite gods. They demanded sacrifices from the people—sometimes even human sacrifice! Every day their adherents approached them with arms outstretched, full of offerings, to make them happy for the next 24 hours. And is it any wonder? Those gods were human inventions. They were just as ego-driven as their adherents. Indeed, inventing gods in our own image is pure folly since they will always turn out as petty and selfish as we are.
But the One True God, the Holy Trinity, saw our human condition and resolved to help and uplift us. The Trinity resolved to take away our fear over being touched by evil. So, in love, the Father sent Christ to make peace between God and man. And in love, the Holy Spirit now brings that peace to us personally via the gift of faith. And the result? We can live as new people! Joyous people! Thankful people! People who have been set free from the burden of doubt, guilt, and fear over the unknown. For in Christ, the Trinity has made known to us the essential nature of His being—love. That truth is found in both Testaments of the Bible. For remember that the sacrifices that God expected from His people were done not to appease His anger over sin, but were to be given in joyous gratitude for His salvation in the Messiah. Just as the Psalmist says: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
It pains me when I see worry etched on faces. It pains me when I fall into that exact same trap. And the only way out is to follow God’s truth in Proverbs when Solomon writes: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Surrendering yourself to God’s grace is the most positive experience in life. For when you do nothing can truly harm you.
We see this theme outlined in our lesson. “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Through His Word and sacraments, given and applied to each of you, the mysterious Holy Spirit has taken the mystery away. He has taken us out of the worry-filled, “when’s the next shoe going to drop,” approach to life and made us realize that we’re not illegitimate children of God who will be cast aside, but real, genuine children of God Almighty. You see, Christ died for us on a cross. And through His death He inscribed our names on His last will and testament. What He has is ours. What He purchased for us is ours. So no fear for us. No worry for us. No looking over our shoulder for us. We can walk with God—and do every day. We can talk with God via prayer—and He has to listen to and respond to our needs. For Christ has insured with His blood that “never will God either leave nor forsake us.” And so, we rejoice! That’s the only response, isn’t it? We can talk to God intimately and use loving terms (like Abba Father which means: o my loving Father). No more worry or the emotional pain it brings for God’s holy children!
St. Paul goes on to flesh out this point of freedom for the Christian when he writes: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
When Christ went to the cross, He was all alone, and yet He wasn’t alone. You and I were with Him. That’s because our sins and our guilt and our fears were laid on His shoulders. And when He died, so did those results of sin in our lives. His death set us free! And just as we shared in His sufferings, so also we continue to share in everything that came afterwards—resurrection and glory! For as Jesus Himself said: “I go (to heaven) to prepare a place for you.”
The entire Godhead was and is involved in making sure that we bask in our Godly, Spirit-wrought, birthright—the freedom to walk and talk with our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter. O how blest we are! Rejoice! Amen