GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO ALONG WITH THE FATHER AND THE SPIRIT IS IN CHARGE OF OUR LIVES!
TEXT: Romans 8: 14-17
Dearly Beloved in Christ and Especially You, Robert:
On a scale of worldly events judged by human standards, confirmation Sunday would rank pretty low. Graduating from high school, getting married, landing your first job and a host of other achievements would rank higher, wouldn’t they? But, in reality, confirmation stands head and shoulders above all those things. Because today marks an eternal milestone in your life. Today you openly pledge your allegiance to God Almighty and renew your baptismal vows after intensely studying God’s guidance for a truly happy and blest life.
The smartest man I’ve ever encountered, who was smart because he was wise, was Dr. B. W. Teigen. His point to all his students, the general college ones and also the seminarians was this dictum about God’s truths: “You have to make them your own.” Head knowledge without heart knowledge is cold, dry, and doesn’t fill your soul with joy. Heart knowledge without head knowledge quickly burns out, especially when difficult times erupt in your life. Confirmation is really about melting together, blending the two into a potent mixture. Confirmation is about probing Godly secrets, the secrets of life itself, marveling at what you learn, putting it all into practice throughout your life, and thus keeping an even keel when everyone around you is falling apart.
Today most young people in America are quick to embrace computer science, bioscience, some get excited about engineering or even banking. They all are taught to “get a good education” because it will lead to a good job. But none of those disciplines answer the questions: “Why was I born? What is the true meaning of life? How can I attain happiness and fulfillment in my life? Or, what happens when I die?” Only Christianity answers those questions in a manner which fills us with joy and at the same time gives all glory to God. Confirmation is about learning the basics of our ageless faith and setting you on the road to putting all of it into practice and reaping God’s blessings.
Our lesson for today really says it all. Paul was one of the most highly educated men or his time. Some, including me, would call him a genius. Early in his early life he was on the fast track to fame, fortune, accolades, and a stellar career as one of the youngest members ever of the Jewish ruling council. And then Christ got hold of him and God the Holy Spirit showed him the inner bankruptcy of that lifestyle. Paul threw it all away for something far better—the inner fulfillment that came from actively doing God’s will in his life. If Paul had remained on his “fast track to success” few would know his name today. But because God found him and changed his heart and head St. Paul is universally known throughout the world even now, 2000 years later! And most importantly, Paul is known by the saints and angels in heaven! All this because he was embraced by Christ’s love and forgiveness for him and by the Spirit’s power turned into a child of God, a son of the Most High, just like you.
Thus his profound words: “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.” (Yes, dear father!) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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.”
Rob, life is all about priorities. Few others will tell you this, but the most important priority of all is: your faith in Jesus Christ. It will be with you when your team loses in soccer. It will be with you when you don’t get into the exact college you desire. It will be with you when you suffer emotional upset over a job disappointment. It will be with you when some “best friend” stabs you in the back emotionally. It will be with you when you physical body lets your down and age begins its steady advance. It will be with you when you bury your parents. It will be with you when you begin to feel the cold breath of death breathing down your neck. And because Christ is with you via faith, none of those issues will overwhelm you, break your spirit, or cause you to give up on life. No, Christians never give up on life because Christ didn’t! Even in death, He arose and now lives eternally, waiting for us in glory! “Because He lives, we shall live also!”
Only Christians possess the hope and confidence about life that I’ve just outlined. Only Christians, who by God’s grace make Him their own and take their faith seriously, can live with a Godly joy glowing from within. So, congratulations! Today you’ve arrived. Today your sonship under God has been renewed! Ame