December 2017

God Sent Salvation

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  

          You will have opportunity to sing about Christ’s birth this December. Faith Lutheran is scheduled to sing, “Down in a lowly manger, The humble Christ was born; And God sent us salvation, That blessed Christmas morn” (LSB 388 - “Go Tell It on the Mountain”). This is truly “good news of great joy,” because mankind is, and always has been, in great need of salvation.

          In this world, natural catastrophes strike; praise God for the promise associated with the rainbow. God sent salvation to Noah with direction “Make yourself an ark” (Genesis 6:14). This directive was given because “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth…I will blot out man …for I am sorry that I made them” (Genesis 6:5-8). This manner in which God sent salvation took a great deal of energy and perseverance on the part of Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives. In Noah’s example, we see the importance of responding to God’s directive Word. Lord, grant us the will to receive Your Word and order our lives according to it.

          In this world, the wicked mankind brings turmoil. The prophet Daniel, for example, received God’s Word and ordered his life according to it. Others schemed against him and set a trap; to the lions’ den for Daniel. God sent salvation. Daniel reported, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me” (Daniel 6:22). This manner in which God sent salvation is in the spiritual realm. Lord, grant us the faith to love You, trusting Your authority in heaven and earth, knowing that You have the will and ability to make “…all things work together for the good…” (Romans 8:28).

          In this fallen in sin world, God’s Word, ways, and servants have been treated ruthlessly. Stephen reminded the people of God’s work and mankind’s wicked response and applied that truth to how his contemporaries treated Jesus Christ. His contemporaries were enraged “and as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’” (Acts 7:59). God sent salvation to Stephen as “he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60) in the Lord. Lord, prepare us to call on You to receive our spirit daily and, more specifically, on our last day. That day will come!

          God is at work in this world sending salvation that involves much participation on our part to survive; we survive natural catastrophes month to month, day to day.  He supplies us with His Word of direction, our own facilities, and many materials of the world to have shelter, food, and the like.

          God is at work in the spiritual realm with His “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), along with other spiritual graces. He distributes His grace through the Word and Sacraments.

          God is most specifically at work through Jesus Christ. Faith in the promised Savior was crucial for Noah and Daniel. Stephen’s faith was in the revealed Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith in the revealed Jesus Christ makes Christ’s birth a “blessed Christmas morn” in which “God sent us salvation.”

The Lord be with you,                       

 Pastor Sam Wiseman