January 2, 2008 - Wednesday in the Week after Christmas

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 62:1-12; Luke 2:1-20

”That I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness”        (Second Article, Creed)

Everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. That's how you serve God, now, as God sees it. John the Baptist announced as much with God's promise to you in Holy Baptism: “that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives” (Luke 1:74-75).

You, like me, so often think that we serve before God in sin, guilt and condemnation. After all, we just don't measure up. The law always accuses, always condemns us. Our performance always leaves so much to be desired (Romans 3:23). However, our Baptism tells us to figure again (Romans 6:11). Clothed in Christ, washed in His blood, united with Jesus in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5), we now serve God as dear children — as those alive to Him, holy, innocent and blessed. And this, eternally! That's the promise of your Baptism, guaranteed for you by water and the Word. And all this before you think, say or do anything. Thank God for your Baptism. By it you are promised and given so much. It truly is the water of life (John 4:14).

What gives your Baptism such life, such surety and confidence? The resurrection of Jesus does (1 Peter 3:21). His resurrection packs your Baptism with the gospel, as it does His Word (Matthew 28:20), and holy Supper (John 6:54). The resurrection of Jesus is God's way of saying, “Yes!” Yes, indeed, to all the promises He now makes to you in His Son (2 Corinthians 1:20).

His promises are not at all like ours. We promise, then hope and pray that we follow through and make good on our promises — as we should. Still, how many times have you been let down by the promises others have made to you? How many times have you let others down by the promises you've made? Well, that's not at all the way it is with God's promises. His promises have behind them the resurrection of His Son. His promises, more than silver and gold, have behind them the “holy precious blood” and “innocent suffering and death” of His Son. That makes His promises sure.

There's nothing more dependable than the death and resurrection of God's Son for you. That's the Father's seal of approval on Jesus and all He said. It all comes with the name, “Lord.” Like “Jesus,” that name means Good News-er, Redeemer. Or, as the Catechism further unpacks that name for us, “that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. ...”