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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

CrossTalk: The Power to Restore

As I write this morning, reports are coming out of Dallas about snipers, IEDs, personal bombs, and de-arming robots. It sounds more like a war than America! What is happening to respect for authority? Who has stolen our respect for human life?

Add to these the incessant attacks on Christians in California, Iowa, Oregon, and even in our own state. We are reeling and asking what happened to mutual respect and decency? What is happening to chastity and marriage? Who, or what, is attacking the homes of our land and destroying our families?

What shall we say to all this? Today let me give you two words: encouragement and faithfulness.

First, a word of encouragement. "If God be for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32) The sufferings and death of Jesus Christ stands as your certain guarantee of God's care for you.

If you already believe in Christ Jesus, you are receiving His forgiveness through Word and Sacrament. What is left to be afraid of? Be reassured that God the Father, who gave His only-begotten Son for will never stop giving. Fear not. God has your back.

If you despise the God of the Bible and cheer the new and hostile tone against Christianity, He doesn't hate you back. God gave His only-begotten Son for you; and He did not come "into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). You, too, are invited to change your mind and receive His forgiveness and goodness.

Second, a call to faithful living. There is a very good reason that Satan is attacking marriage, life, and respect for authority. It is because these are the greatest threat to his power. These are no mere human institutions, they are God's own institutions.

Because they are holy, because they are markers of God's continued grace in this world of sin that Satan attacks them. Today, more than ever, the people of God should understand that the simple act of cherishing a child or remaining chaste, is a meaningful act of spiritual warfare for the whole world.

So be bold, people of God! Confess with your very lives that human life is a sacred and holy thing. Confess with your sexuality that marriage is a gift that God gave as an icon of Christ and the Church. Confess with your home life that the human family is a very participation in the life of heaven. See Marriage, Life and Family as an image of the Triune God who created you.

In so doing, let Christ's word of forgiveness, life and salvation overpower the hate, despair, perversion, and hopelessness of our society. Where you have opportunity to strengthen your marriage, to affirm human life, or to hold together your family, take it. Where you have temptation to give in to the world and undermine these precious gifts, hold out.

And when you have fallen and failed in your own marriage, life, or family, humbly repent and eagerly receive the forgiveness of Christ. Forgiveness and restoration is the entire reason that Jesus has come. That is how He has always restored this fallen world. And that is how He will renew and restore your own world as well.

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