December 4, 2007 - Tuesday in the First Week of Advent

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 10:12-27a, 33-34; 2 Peter 1:1-21

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.”        (Romans 13:14)

This is Baptismal talk: put on the Lord Jesus Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). God put Jesus on you at your Baptism. So now, says St. Paul, live in your Baptism. Make the sign of the cross when you get up in the morning and go to bed at night, and all during the day. Do that, not as religious theatricality — “Oh, look, everyone, at how religious I am!” — do that which your Catechism bids you to, as a daily remembrance of your Baptism, and of all the promises God began to speak over you when He first washed you and put Jesus on you.

That's using your Baptism to live! “This is the right use of Baptism... signified by baptizing with water. Where amendment of life does not take place but the old man is given free reign and continually grows stronger, Baptism is not being used but resisted... This is what it means to plunge into Baptism and daily come forth again” (The Large Catechism).

God Himself put Christ on you when you were Baptized — sort of like the way your parents used to dress you up for church and Sunday School when you were little. Oh, how smart you looked then. You might have hated it, but everyone else smiled and said, “Boy, do you look great!” In this same way your heavenly Father looks at you now, all dressed up as you are, in Christ. “Boy, do you look great!” Thank God for your Baptism!

The life you are called now to live — characterized by challenging the old man (not your dad, but your sinful nature), casting off the works of darkness, avoiding revelry and drunkenness, lewdness and lust, strife and envy — the law can't help. It'll only make things worse (Romans 5:20). But not your Baptism. That will always feed, nurture and sustain this life. How? By always clothing you, washing you and putting Jesus on you. Armed like that, you are equipped for every good work (Ephesians 2:8-10). That is, you are “created in Christ Jesus” for love — which is the fulfillment of the law.

“Created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10) is another way of saying, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” God doesn't save you, call you His own, and then just send you out into the cold to prove yourself. No. He saves you, calls you His own, clothes you, puts Jesus all over you, then sends you out, safe and warm, to do what He commands — to help and serve others. With such a Father, you can put on hold trying to provide for your flesh. What about the needs of others? Will you fail in this life? Daily and much. Hence, the admonition from Paul and Luther: Live in your Baptism! There, you are His, for sure.