Herrenhuter readings for Wednesday, the 28th January 2015

Holy Baptism window

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13)

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

Because the Lord is good, therefore we, who are supposed to love, trust and fear him above all else necessarily are opposed to evil – yes, need to despise and even hate that, which goes against him. The triune God himself is the definite and absolute measure, standard and benchmark. It is only with regards to him, that the differentiation of good and evil is just and on the mark. All other bearings are speculative, haphazard and at best random. That is why people, who have emancipated themselves from God – that’s a fancy word for “who have wrongfully deserted and sinfully forsaken him”  – are lost without orientation and drift across the universe as burnt-out stars. There is no true alternative to God’s holy will to differentiate between right and wrong, truth and lie, good and evil.  All else is but statistics, assumption and tapping in the dark.

That’s why we need to hear God’s law and commandment to give us direction and orientation for our lives and that of society. We should no go, where angels fear to tread and by all means and always keep away from godless ways. These godless (= sinful) ways, which are opposed to his holy will and prescription are per se harmful and destructive. They do not promote life – even if they promise heaven on earth. The prosperity and flourishing of the godless is brief, disappointing and always has a bad ending for the Judgement Day is surely coming and nobody will get away with the blessed life of salvation, joy and peace without the forgiveness of sins and the redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the ticket to ride past the condemnation of the law. He alone grants access to the Father and the heavenly realms to be with him and all the company of heaven forever.

That is why we baptise infants – and all other pagans and fallen sinners too. Because that’s God’s way of uniting them with his Son Jesus Christ – burying them into his death and raising them together with him as new creations into the new life of righteousness and holiness. Because that’s God’s initial, basic and fundamental way of forgiving sins and granting his Holy Spirit to his people. Because that’s God’s way of overcoming evil and granting access to salvation and blessed eternal life with him – starting here as in early days and never ending i.e. even outlasting and overcoming that final Judgement Day.

Because we are baptised and because we belong to Jesus and are God’s people – forgiven sinners, justified by grace alone and living daily by faith in his goodness, mercy and loving care – that is why we should reckon ourselves dead to sin, withstand temptation to go against God’s holy will and persevere in doing good and conforming to God’s precious calling and mission here on earth. That’s the purpose of our life – following Jesus, going in the way highlighted by the Holy Spirit and obeying the ordinances of our heavenly Father. It’s the good, right and salutary way + Amen.

“Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus” by Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681 and translated by J. Adam Rimbach, 1871-1941

1. Let us ever walk with Jesus,
Follow His example pure,
Flee the world, which would deceive us
And to sin our souls allure.
Ever in His footsteps treading,
Body here, yet soul above,
Full of faith and hope and love,
Let us do the Father’s bidding.
Faithful Lord, abide with me;
Savior, lead, I follow Thee.

2. Let us suffer here with Jesus,
To His image, e’er conform;
Heaven’s glory soon will please us,
Sunshine follow on the storm.
Though we sow in tears of sorrow,
We shall reap with heavenly joy;
And the fears that now annoy
Shall be laughter on the morrow.
Christ, I suffer here with Thee;
There, oh, share Thy joy with me!

3. Let us also die with Jesus.
His death from the second death,
From our soul’s destruction, frees us,
Quickens us with life’s glad breath.
Let us mortify, while living,
Flesh and blood and die to sin;
And the grave that shuts us in
Shall but prove the gate to heaven.
Jesus, here I die to Thee
There to live eternally.

4. Let us gladly live with Jesus;
Since He’s risen from the dead,
Death and grave must soon release us.
Jesus, Thou art now our Head,
We are truly Thine own members;
Where Thou livest, there live we.
Take and own us constantly,
Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren.
Jesus, here I live to Thee,
Also there eternally.

Hymn #409  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: John 11:16
Author: Sigismund von Birken, 1653 Translated by: J. Adam Rimbach, 1900
Composer: Georg G. Boltze, 1788 Tune: “Lasset uns mit Jesu ziehen

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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