Where Christ Reigns
Friday of Easter 7
18 May 2018
Christ established His throne in our lives by the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of entry into the Christian life. God does not leave His salvation to chance. For He dispenses His mercy in the flooding abundance of water connected with the Word for the forgiveness of sins. The holy triune name has been set upon those who have been baptized. We are marked by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our mortal body is washed by the water of mercy and we are the possession of the God who marked and named us.
 
Through baptism, when we are cleansed in the bloody waters full of Christ, his death, and his resurrection, the battle has now been joined, for Jesus has staked His claim for us setting up His throne room in our heart. He has swept the heart clean by grace. He has chased off Satan whose ways we have decisively renounced. Our old Adam has been transfixed by the nails of the cross. But now the battle begins for this heart, for this throne room flooded clean. Satan would love to reconvert every Christian to his tawdry counterfeit kingdom. Often, we fear that he has been successful because we feel the sting and sorrow of sin in our own hearts. Have we swept Jesus out the back door?
 
Let's pay some attention to what the apostle Paul says: "Let sin not reign!" (Rm 6:12). There will always be sin, but it will not reign within us. Being in Christ means that sin cannot pry us out of His hands. It means that His throne is set firmly in our hearts. No, He cannot be chased away by sin! He comes to take care of sinners. He comes to take sin away. He comes to acknowledge those who acknowledge Him (Mt 10:32), yes, with weakness, sin, and by fits and starts. This too is a gift of Christ that comes through baptism, but a gift which Jesus does not take away because of our weakness. What kind of king, once he has established His beachhead against Satan's evil empire, constructed his capital, built His church among us, settled His throne in our hearts, will not see to it that His kingdom prevails? Indeed, Christ Jesus promises that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. We feel our sin. We must. But it is not enthroned, it is not king, or lord, or god. We lament it. We repent it. We will confess to one another our sin. I am chief of sinners. But where Christ reigns, forgiveness remains.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"It is evident that sin remains in the baptized and the saints as long as they are flesh and blood and live on earth. But let us add further evidence. St. Paul says, 'For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members' (Rm 7:22-23). St. Paul confesses here that he finds a good law and will in his spirit, and also an evil law and will in his members. How is it then possible to deny that sin remains in a holy baptized person? If it is not sin which is at war with the good spirit and the law of God, then I should like to be told what sin is. What is the cause of this strife of the evil against the good within us, if not our physical birth as children of Adam? This remains even after the good Spirit has begun his work in baptism and repentance until it is overcome by the grace of God and the resistance and growth of the Spirit and at last strangled by death and driven out." 

 Martin Luther, Defense and Explanation of All the Articles, 2
Romans 7:18-25

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, send Your Spirit, that I might never despair of your mercy. Amen.
 
For Pastor J. Bart Day, that the Lord would grant him strength in his service to the church as Executive Director of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund
 
For LouAnn Webber, who is undergoing therapy for cancer, that the Lord Jesus would grant her a full recovery
 
For the elders of Memorial Lutheran Church, that they would continue to confess Christ and His grace to His people
 
For the members of the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, that they would be kept safe as they travel home from meetings
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias,  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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