7 November 2012 at Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, LA
Text: 1 John 3:1-3
In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us,” dear friends, “that we should be called children of God.”
How remarkable that we have been adopted by the Father, by God Almighty, by the Creator and King of the universe to be called by the name of His children: “and so we are.”
And this is even though we are not eternally begotten of the Father, but rather born of sinful flesh from sinful flesh. We are not His only begotten Son in whom He is well-pleased, and in fact, we sinful son of men crucified Him who had no sin, having murdered God’s Son in whom the Lord delights.
And so, see indeed “what kind of love” He has for us, a love inconceivable to us, a love that has no limits, makes no claims, holds no wrongs, and overcomes even sin, death, and the devil. The Lord has a love for us that would even allow His most beloved Son to go to the cross as a ransom, a substitutionary atonement, a sacrifice for us “poor, miserable sinners,” we who have sinned in “thought, word, and deed” and who continue to sin every waking moment of our lives.
The world hears this and mocks.
What kind of a God allows His Son to be murdered, and rather than vengeance, offers forgiveness? What kind of hypocrites are there in this church, people who sin and then turn around asking to be forgiven? What kind of love does the Father offer when the guilty are allowed to go free, when transgressors receive pardon, when justice is permitted to roll over before mercy? What kind of a God is that?
That, dear brothers and sisters, is exactly the kind of God we have, exactly the kind of God that liberates us from bondage, that quickens us against death, and that emboldens us against fear. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us.” For the world doesn’t get it at all, the world doesn’t comprehend us by any means, because the world does not know Him in any way!
But we know Him, dear friends, for we have encountered Him in His Word, in His mercy, in His baptism, and in His most holy Supper. We have experienced Him in His promises, by His creation, through His care, and in His love – and “we shall be like Him.” Indeed, for the time being, we are not like Him. But we have a promise, dear brothers and sisters, for our text says: “we shall.” For “we shall see Him as He is.” We shall, we shall indeed!
This is the ultimate act of love the Father has for us. He will truly show Himself to us in all His glory. He will hold nothing back, and He shall make us like Him. We shall rise from the grave, we shall conquer the universe, and we shall live forever in glory beyond what we can imagine.
But most of all, dear brothers and sisters, we will love as He has loved us: inconceivable to us, a love that has no limits, makes no claims, holds no wrongs, and overcomes even sin, death, and the devil. No matter what this world offers – this world that does not know Him, no matter what this world demands – this world that would crush us under foot. We have the love that the Father has given to us, “that we should be called children of God.”
And so we are. And so we are!
And this is the love that drives out all fear, the love that conquers all things, the love that never ends. For this is the love grounded in faith and hope.
“And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”
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In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.