First Sunday in Lent Trinity Lutheran Church
5 March 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Baptism of Beckett Reid Justus
From nothing — without any merit or worthiness in them and only out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy, the LORD gives Adam and Eve everything. Their life. Their existence. Their being. He gives them each other to live in holy marriage and a family. Husband. Wife. Father. Mother. Given to be fruitful and multiply. To eat from any tree in the garden except one. To rule over all creation in order to take care of it. To trust only in Him. He is God FOR THEM. With His words and creaturely gifts the Creator has given Adam and Eve Himself. Totally. Completely. God exists and acts as God FOR THEM. He is God. GIVER GOD! Categorically. Adam and Eve are creatures. Dependent on Him. That’s faith. That’s what it means to be a human being. God says all that was “very good.”
All of a sudden Adam and Eve take part in a wicked game. Satan lies. Fake news of the highest order! “Did God actually say?” What a wicked thing to say! Tantamount to calling God a bald faced liar! A swindler, cheat and con artist! That’s what you would expect from Satan but not from Adam and Eve. However, they fall for it! Completely! Hook, line and sinker! Lies are now truth. Truth is now fiction.
It’s disastrous. Deadly. Tragic. Hellacious. The big sin. Original sin. It doesn’t get any worse. Adam and Eve are no longer content to be the Lord’s creatures – human beings — that live by faith. They take matters into their own hands. They don’t trust the Lord anymore. He and His Word are unreliable. Not dependable. Untrue. ADAM AND EVE HAVE BETTER WORDS THAN THE LORD!
They insistently treat the Lord as a fraud! An imposter. A phony. A LIAR! Adam and Eve “will be like God, knowing good and evil.” They call the shots now. They’ll take care of themselves like they’re little divinities. As if their words are divine. They attribute truth to themselves but lies and nothingness to God. That they call “good.” They treat God like a fake. A cheat. They call him “evil.”
We are no different. We are sons of Adam. Daughters of Eve. God speaks and then we say something just the opposite. God gives and then we refuse to be given to. God is God but we act as if we are God. We call wickedness and evil good. We call disobedience “wisdom.” Faithfulness we name foolishness. God’s Word we label as “evil,” unreliable, untrustworthy. Our words we dub “good,” infallible, omnipotent, divine. Let me give you a couple of concrete examples. God says: “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy,” and that means holding His Word sacred and gladly hearing and learning it. Jesus emphatically invites: “take, eat; this is my body; take, drink, this is my blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Both of those examples are divine words. God’s! What do we do? We immediately contradict and oppose His Word with our own. Whose words do we trust instead? Well? Ours, of course! We dress up and spin our justifications and excuses. They’re dripping with puffed up piety and soaking wet with bloated reverence.
We take no responsibility for our sin or our rebellion. Instead, like Adam and Eve we run and hide (as if bushes or fig leaves could keep the LORD from finding us). When God confronts us and gives us the opportunity to confess and be forgiven, to trust Him and His Word, we play the unrelenting blame game. The 24-7-365 justification of the self. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. Who do you blame? How do you justify your sin? Hmm?
What a wicked game we play. So, together with our first parents, we stand under God’s curse. His wrath. His damnation. Spiritually dead.
If not for the Lord’s incalculable and amazing grace and mercy! Incredibly and unbelievably the Lord makes an astonishing promise to Adam and Eve and to you their full-of-original-sin-children. It is the promise of the Savior of sinners. The seed of the woman that will crush Satan’s head. Who is that? Well, that’s Jesus. The second and last Adam. The head of a new humanity – a new human race — believers – new creations – new creatures that dare to live by faith!
Sent by the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, Second and Last Adam Jesus withstands the temptations of Satan in the wilderness after His Baptism in the Jordan by believing God’s Word. He trusts His Father as dependable. Turns away each satanic temptation with a snippet from Deuteronomy. Throws God’s steadfast Word in Satan’s grill. Satan can only flee. He can’t get Jesus to pull an Adam and Eve. Jesus doesn’t have better words than His Father! He lives only from His Father’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Jesus does this FOR YOU. In your place. To redeem you. To save you. To forgive you. His obedience to God the Father and His Word are perfect. Flawless. He totally trusts what His Father says and gives. That includes this: “My Son, go to the cross and die for Adam, Eve and all their descendants. Even for little Beckett Reid. Take all their sin in your body and answer for it. Get damned with it. Then give them your perfection, your holiness, your righteousness as my gift to them. I’d be most pleased with you doing just that for them! That would be very good!”
Jesus did it! Pulled off a Good Friday salvation FOR YOU! And then He delivered the eternal and heavenly benefits of His death FOR YOU in your baptism just like He did today with little Becket Reid. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said. “Do not hinder them. I’ve come for them too. To such belongs the kingdom of God. Receive the kingdom like a little child.” Yes, like a little child. A DO NOTHING BUT GIVEN EVERYTHING little child that just trusts and receives what Jesus says and gives with His words!
Beckett Reid as well as all of you that have been given the divine and saving Triune Name in holy baptism are new creations in Christ. How do you spell new creation? It’s a no brainer: F-A-I-T-H!
The justified live by “faith” St. Paul says in Romans 1:17. Faith in God’s Word. Satan will attack God’s Word. He will tempt you to doubt Jesus or call Him a liar. To have better words than Jesus. Be ready for that! Fight off the satanic attacks with the promise you heard Jesus make earlier: “whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved,” (Mk 16:16). Do you doubt or have better words than that? Would you dare to contradict or blow off Christ’s Word as if your words are better than His? You better not. That’s unbelief. I remind you what Jesus says about that: “Whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Don’t go there! I beg you! Instead. Trust Jesus. Faith in Jesus says: “Amen! True dat! Reliable. Trustworthy! Dependable Lord Jesus. He died FOR ME! He does not lie! I’m taking His baptismal promise to the bank … no … to the gates of heaven!”
Happy Baptism Day Beckett Reid! May your baptism bear the fruit of faith in Jesus all your life! Living as a true human being. Dittos for the rest of you that believe and are baptized. And if you’re not, don’t you think it’s time? Sure it is.
In the Name of Jesus.