Pastor Mark Anderson Lutheran Church of the Master Corona del Mar, California

Jesus loved us first. Jesus is love as it was meant to be. Love that takes the initiative, makes the first move. Love such as this opens blind eyes, deaf ears, gets the lame skipping for joy and raises the dead! But nowhere is this love more evident than in God’s decision to love sinners. The love of Jesus that frees sinners saw a woman, weeping with joy, wash His feet with her hair; saw a corrupt, despised tax collector breathe the free air of a new life, took hold of a condemned, dying thief with a word and promised him paradise, had St. Paul storming across the ancient world proclaiming the freedom of faith.

That same love of Jesus has baptized you into His righteousness and keeps you in His grip all throughout life, constantly picking up the debris of your past and opening the future according to His purposes. In His love, you are free to live your life, really free, since the good you do will not save you and the evil you do will not condemn you, as Marin Luther noted. We often can’t distinguish between them anyway. It is not so much that we are doing for God as it is that He is making use of us – in the midst of whatever choices we make. Christians can be confident of this. St. Paul expressed it when he wrote “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.”

Therefore you and I may go forward into the day in baptism’s promise, held in God’s love and mercy, taking up it’s opportunities and responsibilities without self consciousness, trusting only in Christ.

“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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