Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"We Get What Christ Paid For"- Romans 6:12–23

You may have heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” You may even ascribe to it. I'm not so sure.

If we were to measure this year and recent events we might begin to shudder.  Murders, attacks on innocent (and sometimes not so innocent) people, the beginning of another hurricane season, political unrest and uncertainty—to mention just a few. These remind us of the truth of what St. Paul said in  our lesson: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here we can measure what is happening and still take heart!

First of all, there is the burden of God’s Law. Death and damnation await those who sin—and we all sin in thought, word, and deed. Furthermore, we could never fulfill the demands of God’s law. Instead, we find ourselves under its condemnation to everlasting death in hell and absolute separation from God and His blessings. In many of the orders of worship in our church we admit that we have sinned by what we do and what we don’t do. 

Then, there is the Good News of Jesus Christ. In John 3:16 Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life! This is the free gift Paul wrote of in our reading. This is pure Gospel, and this Gospel is for you and me!

It was in the light of this message that Paul wrote at the beginning of our reading: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

In this Gospel we get what Jesus paid for in His perfect, sinless life, innocent suffering and death; and won in His glorious resurrection from the grave!

We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we give to You our thanks and praise for winning for us full and free salvation from sin, death and Satan’s power. Give us your Spirit that we might ever know and believe this GOOD NEWS! In Your name we pray. Amen.

"The Free Gift"- Romans 5:6–15

Saint Paul’s letter has such beautiful Gospel in it! Just consider the final verse of today’s reading—here Paul speaks of God’s abounding grace. It is wrapped up in the Good News that salvation from sin comes to many. It is a free gift! There are no strings attached. There are no legal stipulations that must be fulfilled. It is simply THERE! Jesus rose from His grave on that first Easter morning. Later, Jesus ascended into heaven to prepare homes for those who love and trust Him for life and salvation.

Many enemies of this Good News have tried to obfuscate this message. They tried once to bury the bringer of this Good News, but that didn’t work. Your sins can and will be forgiven. It really is as simple as that! This is the free gift Paul wrote about in our reading. It doesn’t hinge upon anything you do. Jesus did it all! Satan hates this fact. He tries to hide it. Non-believers question it.  Read the last verse of our reading once more because it does bear repetition: “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

We pray: Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, For He is good, and His mercy endures forever! Amen.

"Not Everyone Believes"- Acts 2:14a, 22–36

The final statement really bothers me: “This Jesus, whom I crucified.” It places the responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion and death right where it belongs—squarely on me. On this great festival Sunday of the Church—The Feast of the Holy Trinity—it really hurts to look into the pure Word of God and read the what and why of our salvation.

Very early on in my ministry a lady came up to me after services were finished and declared that she no longer sinned. I believe my jaw dropped at her claim, because I knew the lady and her family, and I had trouble wrapping my mind around her claim. She was an ordinary woman. Her kids were good, but far from perfect in catechism class. Her husband was a good guy, too, but he also had his faults and foibles. I also knew and believed that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God and the perfect obedience His Law demands.

I wish could have taken the opportunity to examine the situation more fully, but I too soon moved away from that congregation and community.

For me, the whole point of Christian congregations and the Church at large is to glorify God by preaching, teaching, and reaching out with the Good News that “this Jesus whom you crucified” is no longer dead, but is now raised from the dead, and who now lives in heaven. There, He is preparing everlasting homes for all who will love and trust in Him for full, free, complete forgiveness of every sin. It isn’t about personal perfection, although this is a free gift that God offers all people through faith in Jesus Christ.

Somehow, I think that lady missed this very important point. I fervently pray that we won’t! 

We pray: Lord God—Father, Son, and Spirit—we give You glory and praise and thanksgiving for all that You are and everything You have done! Enable us to share the message of our Lord Jesus so that others can join with us in giving You glory, praise, and honor now and forever! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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