A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
My oldest and I have had a lot of heart-to-heart talks lately. Just now, after calling his brother an unkind name, he felt very badly and he scampered up to his room to hide. He didn’t want to talk about it. He said, “Don’t tell Daddy!!” I responded with “Honey, God says that when He forgives us, He forgets our sin. That’s what we have in Jesus. Forgiveness! Because Jesus is our Hero. He’s rescued us from that heavy weight of our sin.”
We hugged and he piped up, “Mommy! Did you know that God doesn’t sleep? He doesn’t even have a bed!! . . . He has lots of tables though. He likes to eat, I’m sure. But He doesn’t eat the fruit that Adam and Eve ate. ‘Cause that’ll make you SICK!”
Well. . . . close. We’re getting there. But he was listening in his own church service this morning, that’s for sure.
Before that, he sat with us for the first time in grown-up church this morning. He saw his first baptism — “See, honey? You remember Jesus’ baptism!” At the same time Mommy and Daddy were still in tears over reciting that answer to the first Heidelberg question.
The sermon this week was on Naaman’s healing. And since I still see every Bible story through that Keswidispiecostal lens, I drop my jaw every time I hear the Text for Itself. The theme was humility, and even when I read the topic ahead in the Order of Worship, I braced myself.
I didn’t need to. The Gospel was the focus — not our efforts to look deserving or our externalized attempts to humiliate ourselves or others. Humility is not anything we acquire through our efforts but a state we recognize when seeing ourselves through Heaven’s eyes. God gives grace to the humble not because we’ve earned it but because there’s nothing left in and of ourselves.
And I had never heard about forgiveness in that way either. I still remember the sermon from my Freshman year that described an elaborate scheme of when exactly we should forgive — only after someone apologized. It only confused me. I can’t keep up with those sorts of details.
But looking at that Mrs. Naaman’s believing servant girl, it’s clear that we should forgive like God does, before it is asked of us since God reached out to us “while we were yet sinners.”
It’s so different. And I’m so thankful. It’s like so much of what’s come before was an appetizer for this Gospel feast.
We took our vows yesterday. And we are now officially Presbyterians. And Pastor reminded us that when we can’t keep our vows, Christ keeps them for us. Our yes is always yes in Him.
Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 1:17-22
Sins forgiven. Eternal life assured. Vows affirmed. Gospel in focus. Amen!