He has risen, as He said

 

1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1–10)

Jesus Christ is risen, as He said…With these words ringing in our ears, we rejoice! We rejoice because Jesus risen from the dead means that death is not the last word. Rather, Christ’s Word is, and His Word He fulfills.We rejoice in Christ’s resurrection because His resurrection means that our faith in Him is not at all futile, vain, or useless, but right, true, and full of worth and significance. Christ risen from the dead means you are no longer in your sins. Your sins do not define you. Christ’s death and resurrection do.

There, on the cross, Jesus conquered sin, death, and hell. His bodily resurrection means that these have really been conquered, defeated, and are no longer your lot. They are no longer yours to bear because on the tree, Christ already bore them in your stead. And because He bore them for you, these no more remain for you to suffer. Instead of these, in Christ, you have forgiveness, life, and heaven. Christ took all that is yours and gives you all that is His. You are complete in Him, and only in Him (Colossians 2:10).

By yourselves and of yourselves, you remain in your sin, your sin that separates you from God, your sin by which you live according to the lusts and desires of your flesh, your departure from God and His ways. By yourselves and of yourselves, and apart from Christ, your sin literally condemns you to hell, with no escape and no hope.

But thanks be to God! Now is the day of salvation. Today is the day to believe. Now is the day to cast off the works of darkness (Romans 13:12), to forsake one’s way, and to repent and believe the sweet Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, that your sin does not define you, that death is not the last word, and that hell is not your final destination.

Christ has overcome death by means of His own death. Good Friday is done. “It is finished” (John 19:30). Easter Sunday is here. The death that Christ died is sufficient sacrifice for your sins and the sins of the world. His blood cleanses you from all your sin. Christ’s resurrection means that His sacrifice was accepted, approved, and meritorious for your salvation.

Now, Jesus is the risen Savior, by whom all will be saved who will be saved, but only as they are found in Him, not having any goodness or merit of themselves, but trusting in Christ’s goodness and merit alone, for there is not other help or hope for sinners.

The gods of this world are useless in offering what the sinner needs, for the real sinner doesn’t need just a remedy to relieve temporary suffering and pain. The real sinner needs a real Savior who placates God’s wrath and truly comforts the tormented and troubled conscience. Real sinners need a real Savior who doesn’t come and go as we please or simply makes us feel good for a moment, or that leaves it up to us to solve our own problems and to come up with our own solutions.

A real Savior is real, getting into the grime and the muck of our lives, who knows our in and outs, who knows what we’re going through, who addresses our real needs and not merely our felt needs of acceptance, momentary comfort, and quick fixes. A real Savior doesn’t just address the symptoms of our sin. He gets to the root of the problem.

This real Savior is, of course, none other than Jesus of Nazareth, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried, who rose again on the third day. This was He foretold of in the Old Testament and the One revealed in the New Testament Scriptures. Though naysayers and nonbelievers not only doubt, but forsake this One, He is not deterred, nor does He not keep His Word, though sinners fail to.

Jesus is the One revealed in the Bible as God’s Son and our Lord, yet the One that a growing number discount and dismiss as nothing more than a mythological hero and figment of the imagination of a delusional people whom they place their hopes in something and someone neither real or true.

Indeed, according to the Rasmussen Reports polling firm, an increasing number of Americans don’t believe that Christ rose from the dead. In 2012, for example, 7% didn’t believe this central tenet of the Christian faith, whereas that percentage in 2013 has increased to 19% who don’t believe it (“Americans Losing Faith in the Bible,” Christian News, April 21, 2014, p6; see also “Americans Losing Faith in the Bible,” Washington Times, April 14, 2014).

One can certainly question the depth and accuracy of such polls, yet, truth be told, Christianity and the teaching of our Lord seem to be becoming more and more under attack, not only from those outside of the church, but also from those within. Though atheists and gay advocacy groups, as well as activist judges and others attempt to redefine marriage, and the meaning of liberty and tolerance according to their own ideologies, Christians, knowing their Bible’s less and less, support and defend such godless positions, claiming God to be love, but apart from His demonstration of love by means of Christ’s death on the cross to save sinners. And because, for them, God is a God of love, but doesn’t speak the truth according to His Word, they determine that any kind of love that they or others might choose is the end all be all of what defines a proper union, not what God has already clearly said (see Genesis 2:24). Thus, rather than calling “sin a sin,” regardless of political or social consequence, many who call themselves Christian are approving of such ungodliness. But such lovelessness is not the will of God. It is a means of permitting what God forbids, all the while claiming the god of one’s own making to be the true God.

If this be the case concerning the growing intensity of the same-sex marriage “debate” of our day, how much more could be said about the growing number who mock the Biblical account of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead, either implicitly by not believing it is as God says, or explicitly, by attributing the account as merely fanciful and of little significance for one’s daily life or eternal well-being.

If we think that the resurrection is of little significance for our everyday lives, we’re placing ourselves above and against the Word of our Lord who spoke according to St. John’s gospel, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

But the resurrection of our Lord is not of little significance, either temporarily or eternally. St. Paul says it this way, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable”(1 Corinthians 15:14-19).

If Christ is not risen, the Holy Scriptures are not so Holy, they are not exclusively of God, and Jesus is no Savior. If Christ is not risen from the dead, we have no reason to be here in this place, for the message of forgiveness and salvation, of peace with God and of God’s mercy in Christ would then be empty and void of any truth. If Jesus’ body is still in the tomb, the Christian Church is the deceiver of deceivers and only another sect of man’s creation.

But such, thankfully, is not at all the case! The Christian Church proclaims the truth as she preaches loud and clear that Christ is risen—that Christ is risen indeed! Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb. Christ has ascended into heaven, and you eat His very body and drink His very blood at the Lord’s Table. Because Christ is risen, you have reason to be here in this place, for the message of forgiveness and salvation, of peace with God and of God’s mercy in Christ—is the truth, even the truth of which not even death can make false. Because Christ is truly risen from the dead, the Scriptures are Holy, exclusively of God, and Jesus is your Savior, apart from whom there is no other. Only the Christian faith is the true faith. And this you know because of God’s revelation to you in Christ. This you know because God makes it known to you by means of His Holy Word. And therefore, do you diligently and regularly seek to study, read, and hear this Word, for it is your life, and by it, you live.

Take this Word away, and you will have the confusion that you have in today’s Christendom. Because so many different messages permeate the airwaves that are not of God, though they claim to be of God, many are stranded in the sea of doubt and despair, looking for a Savior apart from the One God has already sent to deliver from sin and death. All religions are not of God, nor do all who claim to speak the truth truly speaking the truth. The only place to find the truth is to look outside of yourself and into God’s revelation in Christ. And there, you will find God’s favor and love, fully and completely for you, in Christ Jesus, who is indeed risen, as He said! Amen.

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Certainty in Christ!

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89

What blessed and eternal comfort the child of God has in God’s own Word!  You see this according to faith, not according to sight, for you live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  But what kind of faith? The faith that believes that anything is possible? The faith that believes you can do anything you set your mind to?  The faith which blindly trusts that all things will work out the way we hope them to?

Such description of faith is not that description of faith revealed by God in His Word.  The Christian faith is not “blind.”  It trusts in God’s promises.  Such faith does not trust in worldly expectations or self expectations, but only on the mercies of God in Christ.  Such faith does not believe that anything is possible by oneself or by putting one’s mind to something.  It rests on God’s unchangeable and unconditional grace, revealed in Christ.  Also, such faith does not rest on false or misguided hopes, for its foundation is God’s Holy and faithful Word.

Such faith as the Christian faith rests squarely on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And this Gospel is nothing but certain and sure, and not at all because I believe it.  The Christian faith rests upon God and His Son.  He makes it sure.  I do not add anything at all to it, but simply believe it.  This, after all, is what Christians do.  They confess Christ and believe His Word.  And they are sure that God’s Word “abides forever.”

 

Luther

“Christ and His side are weak, and the Gospel is a foolish proclamation.  On the other hand, the kingdom of the world and the devil, its prince, are strong; in addition, the wisdom of the flesh is very impressive.  But this is our consolation,that the devil with his members cannot accomplish what he wishes.  He may trouble many persons, but he cannot destroy the Gospel of Christ.  The truth may be endangered, but it cannot perish.  It is attacked, but it cannot be conquered; for ‘the Word of the Lord abides forever” (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p54).

Prayer: Gracious Father, forgive me for doubting Your promises and Your undeserved mercy.  Help me at all times to trust in Your Word and be ever sure of Your abundant grace and mercy in Christ.  Amen.

Set Free by the Truth

31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

      34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

(John 8:31-36)

“One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom.  That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ, as Christ says, John 11[:25], “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, through he die, yet shall he live”; and John 8 [:36], “so if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed”; and Matt. 4 [:4], “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Let us then consider it certain and firmly established that the soul can do without anything except the Word of God and that were the Word of God is missing there is no help at all for the soul.  If it has the Word of God it is rich and lacks nothing since it is the Word of life, truth, light, peace, righteousness, salvation, joy, liberty, wisdom, power, grace, glory, and of every incalculable blessing.” (The Freedom of A Christian-Dr. Martin Luther) Dillenberger, John (ed.) (1962), Martin Luther, Selections from His Writings, p54

These words of Dr. Martin Luther from a work entitled, The Freedom of A Christian, are true.  They are true—not because Dr. Luther said them, but because they are according to the Word or our Lord.  They were not only true for him in his day.  They are true for us in ours.  The very truth is this way.  It is universal—Timeless—Relevant to everyone.

The Word of God is for all time, for all people, and endures forever (1 Peter 1:25).  It is not merely an option, one word of many, or for us to question or doubt.  We might be in a different time and in a different culture as compared to the time Jesus lived among His disciples and walked among the people around Him, and we might be in a different part of the world and at a different time on the historical timeline of things than those who went before us, but people are people.  And the Word of God remains the Word of God.

 We haven’t changed much since after the fall from our first parents.  We’re still sinners—sinners who think that we can get by on our own—sinners who believe ourselves to be able to manage things ourselves—sinners who hold to the view that God does a little bit here and we do a little bit there.

 Like the Jews in Jesus’ day, we have the temptation to want to take matters into our hands, like not to take God at His Word, and to disbelieve what our Lord makes known to us.  This is really what they were doing in today’s Gospel from St. John the Apostle.

 The Jews were doubting—questioning—and disbelieving what Jesus was saying to them.  They had rightly heard the part of being His disciples and remaining in His Word and knowing the truth.  But for them, hearing that the truth would set them free they couldn’t grasp.  And they couldn’t grasp it because it meant what they were not willing to accept—that they were not already free, but were in bondage and enslaved, from which they needed deliverance.

 You’ve heard the phrase, “The first step to recovery is acknowledging that there’s a problem.”  The Jews in Jesus’ day were not willing to acknowledge that they had the problem that Jesus was talking about.  Though they knew that they weren’t perfect, they didn’t realize the seriousness of their condition.  And because they refused to hear Jesus’ diagnosis, neither would they believe in the remedy—Himself.

 Particularly might this be disturbing to us on account of the beginning words of today’s text where we read, 31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him…At first hearing, it might not sound so bad.  But did you catch what St. John is saying—Jesus is speaking to the very Jews who were believing in Him.  He was saying to them, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

 Those Jews had believed in Jesus, which is good, right, and proper to do.  They had believed the very words which He had spoken before, which was also good.  But at His Word about ‘being set free,’ these words of our Lord they could not take.  It’s also just a few chapters earlier where we hear that because of Jesus’ Word, many of His disciples no longer walked with Him (John 6:66).

 It’s not just making a beginning, starting off on the right foot, which is of import.  It’s continuing, remaining, abiding—to the end.  This is the difference between those who complete the race and those who drop out, those who only begin the class and those who finish it, those who only begin the struggle and those who keep fighting.

 There are many who start off right, but who, in time, waiver, and pass by the way.  There are also many who begin to believe, but then, because they don’t continue in the faith as a little child, simply believing what God says with child-like faith (not childish faith), they go astray, and even become worse deniers of the faith than those who never had believed.

 Remember the parable that Jesus told about the Sower and the Seed?  Some of the seed fell by the wayside, some on stony places, other among thorns, and still other, on good ground (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23).

 The seed that fell on stony places is about the one who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for awhile.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles (Matthew 13:20-21).

 The seed that fell among the thorns is one who hears the, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23).

 Those who only make a beginning in the faith, who believe for a time, or only believe what they want to believe or only believe how they want to believe show themselves not to be in the category of the Lord’s genuine disciples.  These also will not know the truth, though they think they do, nor will they be set free.  And by set free, we don’t mean the kind of freedom which they of the world talk about.

 The freedom Jesus speaks of is not freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to worship, or the freedoms which we enjoy as citizens of this country.  There may come a time when the freedoms which we currently enjoy are no longer our own.  But this won’t at all mean that we are not free in the sense that Christ means it, because He is talking, not about a worldly kind of freedom, but the freedom which is the result of His sacrifice, the shedding of His blood, the freedom which comes from knowing and believing that before God the Father, all has been accomplished, all has been paid for, that there is nothing left remaining for our peace with God.  We don’t even lift a finger and God pronounces us, you, in His good stead.

 It is the freedom of sins forgiven, not being under Law, but under Grace (Romans 6:14-15).  It’s the freedom of freely serving God and freely loving your neighbor, which is given on account of Christ.

 All your sin is atoned for.  You have a gracious God who loves you without end.  And this love of His He demonstrated to you in Christ’s death.  Therefore, it is yours.  You are His and He is yours.  And this love of God demonstrated in Christ you can be sure of and need not doubt, because Christ already did die and dies no more.  And this message, Christ’s Word, continues to be proclaimed, that you continue to hear, continue to believe, abide in it, be His disciples, know the truth, and be set free, that you remain in God’s forgiveness through faith in Christ.

 In Christ, you are free from your enslavement to sin, from your bondage to do what is contrary to God and His will.  You are free from Satan’s grip on your soul and from the fear of eternal death, for in Christ, eternal life is your inheritance.  As long as you remain in His Word, you will remain having His promise.  This is because remaining in His Word IS faith.

 One who believes contrary to Jesus and His Word, at any point, is not truly His disciple, but is a counterfeit, a fake Christian, one who truly is not.  To be a Christian means to be ‘of Christ.’  This doesn’t mean that you have to know everything.  But it does mean that you don’t deny what the Lord has said.

 Being Christian also means that you believe what Jesus says, even if you can’t explain it, don’t like it, or have trouble with it because it goes against what you know or feel or would like to be.

 Jesus’ word, even for the Christian, doesn’t agree with the sinful nature.  It doesn’t agree with the world, the devil, or the nonbeliever.  For them, it doesn’t make sense.  And for you, too, it might not completely make sense, like how crosses and burdens can be good, or how this or that can be for God’s glory.  But that’s okay.  It doesn’t need to make sense to be God’s Word.  It just has to be God’s Word.  And God’s Word is what you are to believe.

 Let others say what they will.  The Word of God is stronger than any other.  And besides, there is no other Savior.  None other promises the freedom from sin, death, and the devil as Jesus does.  And none other can change what God has already done in Christ for you, me, and the world.  Christ already died, never to die again.  And now He lives forevermore, as King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:6).

 The words of St. Paul are true, By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness (Romans 3:20-25)

 This is the message of the Reformation—that God is a good and gracious God and that God makes this known to us in Jesus Christ.  In Jesus is your true freedom, sins forgiven, and your peace with God.  And this same message is that of our Lord!  You too have inherited it, for you are Christ’s.

 Therefore, in His Word abide.  In His Word continue.  And as you do so, truly you are His disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  Amen.

Glory in the Lord

17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”  18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18

These words of our Lord through St. Paul the Apostle are a stark contrast to the ways of the world.  St. Paul writes similar things in his first letter to the Christians in Corinth.  Likely referencing Jeremiah 9,[1] he writes the same thing, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31).

That word “glories” could be translated with the similar word “boasts,” and it is, in various places in the New Testament.  Sometimes the Greek word is translated with the verb “glory” and sometimes not.[2]  It would be worth looking into see if a consistency exists.

If we translate the verse above with “boasts,” the contrast between the way of the God and the way of the world perhaps becomes more clear.

The way of the world is to draw attention to one’s successes, strengths, abilities.  Yet the way of the Lord is to draw one’s attention to the paradox, the reality behind what is seen.

For example, Paul in 1 Corinthians bears this out, where he writes of God’s work in that which is contrary to human reason,:

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are…(1 Corinthians 1:18-28).

God works differently than the world does.  Where the world praises success, God chastises.  Where man exalts himself, God humbles (Luke 14:11).

These things the Christian might recognize more outside the church than inside it.  Yet human pride, arrogance, and boastfulness stand ready and waiting at the door to make entrance, if not already having an abode.

A phrase that I have seen on a sign for a baptist church reads, “Maximizing, magnifying, multiplying.”  But one might wonder who the actor is!  If it’s God, then why advance what God already knows, as if He needs our recognition.  To remind ourselves that it is God doing these things?  I think not.

On the other hand, and more likely, such phraseology would seem to try to indicate that a church with such a sign is doing these things.  However, if this is the case, an honest question is simply, “Why?”  What is the purpose of such a phrase except to try to give an appearance of activity in the eyes of the world?  And to what end, to say that “the church is doing something?”  Why need it if it actually is?

Should the church ever need to defend her activity before the world, or before one another if she is being faithful to the Lord and preaching the truth?  Should the church ever need to tout its activities to demonstrate its “doingness when it’s not the world’s approval that counts, but God’s?”   Does the church now thrive on (or need) the praise of men?

Should the church seek to please men and the world, she ceases to be a servant of Christ.  Should the Christian pride his or her own activity, humbling is sure to come.

The church finds her confidence in her Lord and Head—not in what she is doing, how many people she reaches, or how many lives are changed as a result of her activity.  She rests her joy in her Lord who bought her, who purchased her with His own blood (Acts 20:28).  What she is to be doing is only what her Lord has given her to do (i.e. Matthew 28).  As she does this, she can only say, “I have only done what was commanded of me” (Luke 17:10).

Should the church find herself doing other than what the Lord has given her to do, and boasting in her own activities and not God’s, then she ceases to be the Lord’s church.  Thus will the bride of Christ and the body of Christ seek to please Him, boast in His grace, and in genuine humility, draw all attention to Christ seek commendation, not from the world, but from God.

It’s not he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.


[1] Jeremiah 9:23-24: 23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

[2] At least in the New King James Version.

Jesus Alone Gives Life

In context, Jesus is talking about sheep, sheepfolds, doors, and doorkeepers. He here illustrates for us the difference between true preachers and false preachers, and the center of all true preaching, Christ. Jesus and Jesus alone gives life, and abundant life at that. He is the door through whom heaven is opened (John 14:6). It is through Christ, without your works, that you stand righteous before the living God. Though works are indeed necessary, though not for your salvation, your works don’t make you a Christian.

Here is a truth that stands quite forsaken today, but a truth that is true just the same. No one is a Christian because of what he does. You are not a Christian because of what you do. You are a Christian because of what another has done. You are not a Christian because you do this or that, or because you don’t do this or that. You are a Christian because Christ has cleansed you from your sin, because God has made you a Christian through the waters of Holy Baptism. You are holy child of the living God because Christ shed His blood for you. It is God that pronounces you righteous through His beloved Son. You therefore do the right thing because you are a Christian.

But you are not a Christian because you do the right thing. This would make you a Christian based on what you do, not on Him who shows mercy and bestows grace…

Jn10.1-10, Easter 4, 2011A.pdf

Do all religions lead to heaven?

Speaking of Jesus Christ, Peter the apostle says that there is salvation in no other, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Jesus Himself says, “Truly truly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).  All religions do not lead to heaven because they do not all rightly teach Christ, through whom is the only way to heaven (John 14:6).  Only Christianity teaches that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  All others base salvation in some way on what we do.  Only the Christian religion points to Christ, and therefore, to heaven.  All others, not rightly preaching Christ, lead to hell.

“The Transfiguration Of Our Lord”

On the mount of transfiguration, to a select three, Jesus manifested Himself in all His glory. Before their eyes, Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, saw Jesus for who He really was. Flesh and blood no longer concealed Christ’s divinity, the truth that Jesus was not only man, but also God. Though Christ’s humanity concealed His divine nature both before and after that mountain top experience until His glorious resurrection, the disciples saw a glimpse of what was under the veil.

To those three, Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of the living God in a real, tangible way. There was no escaping this truth. They saw with their eyes and heard with their own ears the glory and honor of God and Christ.

We do too. God reveals Himself through His Holy Word and through His visible means called Sacraments. By these do we see the God of heaven and earth working among us, planting the seed of faith within our hearts, calling us to believe the Gospel, and strengthening the faith which God Himself has given…

Mt17.1-9, Transfiguration of our Lord, 2.pdf

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