Watching and Waiting

In Christ, we are promised many things, including this: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10). By grace through faith, if we are in Christ, then for Christ we will be treated with contempt, scorned for our faithfulness. For the Christian, persecution is not the consequence of a lack of faith but evidence of it.

Now Is the Time

And so, through his Word, sacrament, and prayer, our Lord has equipped us for our calling. For our God has not called us to put on anything that he has not already provided and prepared for us. So, let us “Be up and awake to what God is doing! . . . Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” (MSG). For, now is the time!

Memorial

In this sense, every Lord’s Day is Memorial Day in the church, where we decorate not the graves of the fallen but look to the crucified who is risen, where we not merely commemorate the greatest sacrifice ever made but find our very life in it. And through the ordinary means of grace, we remember the extraordinary means of our redemption: Christ crucified and resurrected. Just as it is the Lord’s kindness that leads us to repentance, it is his provision that leads us to praise.

Prayer from the Depths of Woe

Indeed, salvation belongs to the Lord, for our Lord said, “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). Yet, unlike Jonah, the Lord Jesus regarded the Scriptures as the very breath of God, down to the iota and dot.

Covenant Faithfulness

Even the most faithful among us has been unfaithful to our Covenant-keeping God in thought, word, or deed (and likely all three). And yet, in his grace and mercy we see the gospel preached in the sacrament, leading us as spiritual adulterers by the grace of his Holy Spirit to renew our covenant with him.

Christless Religion

For the gospel has come to us, carried from Jerusalem to the world. Therefore, let us guard against the Christless religion of the scribes and Pharisees, looking by faith to Christ our Savior, to be conformed to his image, as we are cleansed by his blood, finding our true identity in Christ alone.