Reflections of Our Savior
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. [Colossians 4:2-6]
Dear members and friends of Our Savior:
These words written by the Apostle Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit come at the end of a much longer section that gives instructions to Christians regarding how they may live their lives in thankfulness to God. This thankfulness is in response to God’s grace in Christ that brought these forgiven sinners into fellowship with Christ and with each other.
When I read through these simple words I am amazed at two things: First, how nice and easy our lives would be if we did what these words command and encourage, and second, how difficult it is for us to put these simple instructions into practice.
This is the conflict within each one of us. This is the conflict we have with each other. This is the conflict that keeps us from living lives that reflect the love of Christ. This is the conflict that puts obstacles in front of our mission as a congregation of Christians. This is the age-old problem of the Old Adam versus the New Man.
We have a solution---an age-old solution---a solution that I am still convinced is the only one that works: personal repentance and personal faith in the forgiveness won by Christ on His cross.
Fellow saints/sinners, do not give up on repentance. Do not give up on fleeing to the refuge of the cross of Jesus. This is where He wants us. At the foot of His cross is the only place where Satan cannot harm us. At His cross is the only place that our own sinful nature is kept in its place. At the cross of Jesus we have strength and courage to face the evils of the day and put those words above into practice. We have to be there first, at the foot of the cross, before we can ever expect anyone else to see in us a reflection of Christ’s love. Do not give up on repentance and faith, clinging to the cross of your Savior.
Since you will get this in your mailbox on Reformation Day, let me conclude with these words from Luther’s Small Catechism: Holy Baptism, fourth: The Meaning of Baptism for Our Daily Lives:
What does baptizing with water mean?
Baptism means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death. It also means that a new person should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written?
Saint Paul says in Romans chapter 6, “We were...buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”