Today's Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
“For God has not called us for immorality, but in holiness.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:7)
In the name of Jesus. Amen. You are baptized. Your sins have been washed away. You have the favor of God. He has given you victory over your sins, your death, even His wrath. Like Jacob, you have wrestled with God, and have prevailed.
In Christ, your iniquity has been cleansed, your impurity made pure, your transgressions covered. His blood has cleansed you from your immorality.
You have eaten and drunk eternal life in the Sacrament of the Altar. God Himself has fed you, not with food that perishes, but with food that gives eternal life. In His Supper, Jesus delivers to you everlasting life in, with, and under the bread and wine.
God is your Father. You are His child. You are an heir of Heaven. And Jesus, who died for you, is your Brother.
This is who you are. You are a saint, a holy one. You are the redeemed of the Lord. Heaven was made for you and it won’t be right for God if you aren’t there.
St. Paul also tells you who you aren’t. /you aren’t the person who sleeps around. You aren’t the person who watches pornography. You aren’t the person who soils your body with your own lusts and passions.
You weren’t called to do what makes you feel good. You weren’t baptized into the slavery of having to have your needs met at all costs. You weren’t redeemed to hide in the darkness and do unspeakable things. You weren’t given the Body and Blood of Christ to live, act, and speak as one who doesn’t know God.
Hell wasn’t made for you. It was made for the devil and His angels. It’s for the sons of disobedience, not the children of God.
You aren’t that person. You weren’t created for those sins. You live like that person all too often, but you aren’t that person in Christ. Don’t just fast from your passions for the 40 days in Lent, give them up.
Then know that giving up these things doesn’t save you. Give up these things because you are saved in Christ.
Fight them. Struggle with them. And when you lose, confess your sins to God. Be forgiven and struggle some more. Luther says this is the Christian life--to confess your sins and be forgiven.
You died to that former conduct in your Baptism and have been raised with Christ. You are a saint, a holy one, God’s own precious possession in Christ. And never doubt this: You are forgiven. In the name of Jesus. Amen.