Monday, August 14, 2017

Bring Them Up

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).

After considering these words of Paul, I wrote the following lines as part of a hymn.

O father, mother, listen well,
And Scripture will the secret tell:
To keep them from a bitter heart,
Instruct your children from the start
In the Commandments and the Creed
And in the Prayer for ev'ry need.

"Commandments," "Creed," and "Prayer" refer to the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, and the Lord's Prayer.  They are the first three things in Luther's Small Catechism and the most fundamental.  Children should hear these three things from the time they are born (and even while in the womb).

The Commandments teach them wrong and right, and how to identify sin.  The Creed teaches them everything they need to know about God, especially the forgiveness of sins.  And the Prayer teaches them what to say to God in every situation.

Parents, do your duty.  Love your children by teaching them what will last their whole lives and into eternity!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wearing Christ

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27).

Do you really realize what happened in your Baptism?

In Luke 8, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man.  The first thing we are told about this man is that "For a long time he had worn no clothes" (vs. 27).  The Savior ordered the departure of the unclean spirit, after which we find the man "clothed and in his right mind" (vs. 35).

Look to your Baptism.  That is where God ordered the departure of the unclean spirit, to make room for the Holy Spirit.  And that is where you went from being unclothed before God, spiritually speaking - sin fully exposed - to being clothed with Christ - sin fully forgiven.

Luther puts it extremely well: "To put on Christ is to put on the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, peace, comfort, joy in the Holy Spirit, salvation, life, and Christ Himself."

In all of Galatians, the word "baptize" occurs only once - 3:27 - just about the middle of the epistle.  But to appreciate fully the significance of this verse, think of it as a spring used to irrigate all six chapters of the book.  It is one of the top New Testament verses about Baptism.

Look to your Baptism and then look in the spiritual mirror to see that you are wearing Christ in all of His crucified and risen beauty!

You are beautiful!