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The Work of the Good Shepherd podcast

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and we consider the ongoing gracious work of Christ Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us, His sheep, and is now risen again. And, the Scriptures speak of Christ’s work as a shepherd in many places.

In Ezekiel 34:1-6, 15-16, we read: “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourself with the wool; you kill those who are fed without feeding the flock. The diseased you have not strengthened, nor have you healed that which was sick, nor have you bound up that which was broken, nor have you brought back that which was driven away, nor have you sought that which was lost. But with force and with cruelty you have subjugated them. They were scattered because there was no shepherd. And they became meat to all the beasts of the field and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill. Indeed, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and no one searched or sought after them. … I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost and bring back that which was driven away and bind up that which was broken and will strengthen that which was sick. But I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will feed them with judgment” (cf. all of Ezekiel 34).

God lays much of the blame for the fact that His people of Israel had turned away and came under His judgments upon the shepherds who should have been feeding and nourishing God’s sheep with His Word.

Had they been preaching and teaching God’s Word, admonishing and bringing back those who were erring and wandering from the fold and comforting those who were overwhelmed with guilt and the problems of life, God’s flock would not have been scattered and carried away by their enemies. Instead, those who should have been shepherds to God’s people were busy feeding themselves and taking advantage of the sheep under their care.

The same, of course, is true today in regard to the pastors who have been given a charge to shepherd God’s flock over which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers (cf. Act 20:28). Instead of shepherding the flock and using God’s Word and His Sacraments to feed and nourish the souls entrusted to their care, pastors take advantage of the sheep and seek worldly gain at the cost of those they should be nourishing. Instead of watching over the flock and protecting it from false doctrine, pastors are often the ones advancing false doctrine and erring views that destroy faith (cf. Rom. 16:17-18). Instead of admonishing the erring and giving God’s comfort to the penitent and suffering, pastors say nothing against the sinful lifestyles of our day and offer false comfort to the impenitent and erring.

What does God say He will do? “I will save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey. And I will judge between one sheep and another. I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David. He shall feed them himself and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David shall be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken” (Ezek. 34:22-24).

God promised to send His only-begotten Son into the world, born a descendant of David, of the Virgin Mary. He would be the Good Shepherd who would gather God’s sheep from all the nations where they had been driven. He would give His life for the sheep to redeem them and restore them to God’s flock. He would feed His sheep with His Word and Sacraments and protect them from the assaults of those who seek to destroy and devour God’s flock, and He would judge the shepherds who took advantage of God’s flock and failed to be true shepherds to them.

In Isaiah 40:10-11, we read: “See, the Lord GOD will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; see, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

In Jeremiah 23:1-4, we read: “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds that feed My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away and have not visited them. I am about to punish you for the evil of your deeds, says the LORD. I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries wherever I have driven them and bring them again to their folds, and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will also set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they will fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor will they be missing, says the LORD.”

And we heard Jesus’ words today in John 10:11-16: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. But he who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and runs away. So the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. ‘I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own. Even as the Father knows Me, so I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also bring them, and they will hear My voice. There will be one flock and one shepherd.’”

What does this Word of God say to us today? To pastors, it is a stern warning to shepherd God’s sheep with God’s Word. It is a warning not to abuse or neglect God’s flock but to preach the whole truth revealed in the Bible and to faithfully apply God’s Word to recover the straying, to admonish the indifferent, to comfort and bind up the weak and injured and to gather the lambs to their Savior. Those who don’t fulfill their duties will be held responsible for their failures to shepherd God’s sheep, but those who do the work entrusted to them will receive a reward (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1-2).

Peter writes (1 Peter 5:2-4): “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.”

And to the sheep, it is a reminder that the Good Shepherd continues to watch over our souls. He feeds and nourishes us with His Word and Sacraments. His Word reveals to us our sinfulness and comforts us with the good news of forgiveness and life through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

And, indeed, He gave His life His sheep! Isaiah 53:6 tells us: “All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Jesus gave His life for us and with His Word, He admonishes us when we go astray, He comforts us when we repent and look to Him for pardon and peace, He encourages and comforts us when we are weighed down with guilt and overwhelmed by the troubles of this life.

His Word tells us in 1 John 1:7 — 2:2: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

When His called ministers are faithfully doing their duty, God commands us in Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who must give an account. Let them do this with joy and not complaining, for that would not be profitable to you.”

And, of course, the ultimate goal is that we, God’s sheep, dwell with the Lord Jesus forever. The goal is that expressed in Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

And we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever when, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments, we are preserved in the true faith and trust in Christ and His cross alone for pardon and for life everlasting!

“Savior, like a shepherd, lead us; much we need Your tender care. In Your pleasant pastures feed us, for our use your fold prepare. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours.” Amen. (Lutheran Service Book, Hymn No. 711, Verse 1.)

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.” John 20:21-23 (Read John 20:19-23; Cf. Luke 24:46-47; Matt. 18:15-18.)

Jesus has fulfilled the Scriptures. He has suffered and died for the sins of all and is risen again! Now He gives to His church a mission — an assignment and duty. He said to His chosen disciples, “As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”

He gave to His disciples the Holy Spirit and a task to carry out — to preach “repentance and remission of sins” in Jesus’ name “to all nations,” beginning right where they were, in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47; cf. Matt. 28:16-20).

And God’s called ministers today are still to forgive the sins of those who repent and turn to Christ Jesus in faith and to retain the sins of those who do not repent. As Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”

Jesus is not here giving to any person, or to a church, the power to forgive and retain sins according to their own whims or choosing. Rather, He gives to the church and its ministers the duty to preach and proclaim that all should repent and turn to Christ Jesus for forgiveness and life. To those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus the church proclaims God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus (cf. Psalm 32:1-5; John 8:11; 1 John 1:7 — 2:2). To those who are impenitent and continue on in their sinful ways the church, through its ministers, proclaims God’s wrath and punishment upon their sins! Cf. Matt. 18:15-18; John 8:24; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Thus, when God’s ministers rightly apply and proclaim God’s Word and counsel, forgiving the sins of penitent sinners and retaining the sins of the impenitent, their words are as certain and true as if God Himself had spoken them from His throne in heaven! Cf. Luther’s Small Catechism, explanation to the Office of the Keys.

What is genuine repentance? It is not simply going through the motions of acknowledging that we are sinners, asking God to forgive us, and then continuing on in our sinful ways (cf. Luke 3:7ff.)! Rather, it is acknowledging and sorrowing over our sinful ways, turning to Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for forgiveness, and then (as a fruit of repentance) seeking God’s help and aid to amend our lives and live for Christ Jesus, who died for us and rose again (cf. 1 John 1:7—2:6; 2 Cor. 5:15, 17; Psalm 51).

God would have each of us live in continual repentance, examining ourselves in the light of God’s pure Word, being genuinely sorry for our sins and trusting in Jesus’ shed blood for forgiveness, and then continually seeking (in God’s strength) to live our lives according to God’s Word.

Are you genuinely repentant? If so, you are in Christ and have complete forgiveness for all your sins (cf. 1 John 1:7ff.). But if, on the other hand, you are unwilling to give up your sinful ways and turn to God for forgiveness and life in His Son, Jesus Christ, you remain dead in your sins and under God’s wrath and judgment! Cf. Mark 16:16.

Dearest Christ Jesus, we have sinned in thought, word and deed and have failed to live in accord with Your perfect will. Forgive us for the sake of Your holy and precious blood, shed for us upon the cross, and grant us Your Spirit and give us a genuine desire to please You always. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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1 At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And then there was a great earthquake. For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his garments white as snow. 4 The soldiers shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. For I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here. For He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and indeed, He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him. Listen, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 As they went to tell His disciples, suddenly Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10

It had been a painful week for the followers of Jesus. They followed Him as He rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as the Messiah and King of the Jews. They heard His words as He taught in the temple. They heard His laments and rebukes because of unbelief and heard of the judgments to come. They saw His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. They witnessed His trials, the horrors of His crucifixion and saw His lifeless body taken down from the cross and hastily laid in a nearby tomb before the sabbath day began.

Now, all that remained was to complete His burial before returning home. Jesus was dead. All His teaching about forgiveness of sins, the kingdom of God and eternal life in God’s kingdom was buried with Him in that tomb.

The Gospel of Luke tells us of the women (Luke 23:55 – 24:3): “The women who came with Him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was placed. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

For many today, Easter Sunday is a day to properly finish Jesus’ burial. Lent is over and we can now put Jesus’ sufferings and death behind us and move on to other things — at least for another year. It is a day to say His life and death have meaning and His legacy lives on in our hearts.

But Jesus wasn’t in the tomb! Instead, an angel was there and announced to the women: “Do not be afraid. For I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

And, as the women hurried to tell Jesus’ disciples the news, Jesus met them and greeted them. He was alive — not just in spirit, but bodily — they held his feet and worshiped Him.

His death was full payment for the sins of the world. God accepted the atoning sacrifice of His Son and raised Him up, proving that all who look to Jesus and His cross in faith are justified and forgiven (John 3:15-18; Rom. 4:23-25; 1 Cor. 15:17-20; 1 John 2:1-2).

Jesus truly is the Resurrection and the Life as He said to Martha in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

He lives and we shall live also (John 14:19; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). With Job, we can say: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).

All His words and teaching are indeed true! He shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15) and all who trust in His name shall reign with Him in the new heavens and earth (Rev. 7:9-17; 21:1-7)!

Therefore, we come today not to eulogize Him in death but to celebrate His victory over sin, death and the devil for us, and to rejoice in the new and everlasting life He won for us by His death and glorious resurrection on the third day!

O crucified and risen Lord Jesus, grant that we might see and believe the message of the angel and rejoice in Your triumph over sin and death that we might have the certain hope of forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

The strife is o’er, the battle done

Author: Francis Pott

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

On the third morn He rose again,
glorious in majesty to reign.
O let us swell the joyful strain: Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

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“I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in security. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You suffer Your godly one to see corruption. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:8-11

As we consider Jesus’ sufferings and death for the sins of the world and His glorious resurrection from the dead on the third day, it is fitting to consider what this historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection, attested to by hundreds of witnesses (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3ff.; Mark 16:1ff.), means for each of us as believers, and Psalm 16 is one of many passages of God’s Word to consider.

After Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world, His body was laid in the tomb. But, as the psalm states, and Peter testified at the feast of Pentecost, and Paul at Pisidian Antioch, Jesus’ body was not left in the grave and did not see corruption and decay. Rather, His body was raised up to life again on the third day — a glorious and heavenly body — and was received up to the right hand of God the Father in heaven, where there are “pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16).

In Acts 2:22-33, we read: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with powerful works and wonders and signs, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know. You have taken Him, who was handed over to you by the ordained counsel and foreknowledge of God, and by lawless hands have crucified and killed Him, whom God raised up by loosening the pull of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy with Your presence.’ Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear.”

In Acts 13:34-39, we read: “That He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David’ [Isa. 55:3]. So He says in another Psalm: ‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay’ [Ps. 16]. For after David had served by the counsel of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw decay. But He whom God raised up saw no decay. Therefore, brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”

So also, because Christ has died for us and is risen again, we who place our faith in Him have been justified and raised up to spiritual life in Christ Jesus and have the LORD God at our right hand to preserve and keep us — we shall not be moved. We have a glorious inheritance awaiting us in the promised land of heaven.

In Ephesians 2:4-7, we read: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are baptized into His name are children of God and have an eternal inheritance awaiting them (cf. Gal. 3:26-29).

Because Christ has paid in full for all our sins and is risen again, our hearts, too, are glad; we trust in Him and rejoice in His mercy and forgiveness toward us.

Speaking of the blessings promised to Abraham, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 4:23 — 5:2: “Now the words, ‘it was credited to him,’ were not written for his sake only, but also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

And, when we die, our bodies rest securely in hope — looking forward to that day when the dead in Christ are raised up with glorified bodies and will be forever with the Lord. Because Christ’s body saw no corruption but was raised up again on the third day, we can be certain that we too will be raised up and we shall see, in our resurrected and glorified bodies, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20ff.).

Job, thought to be a contemporary of Abraham and Isaac, said (in Job 19:25-27): “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another.”

And Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Because of Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world, and because He rose again in victory, we have the confidence that we will be raised up in Christ’s likeness and that we will enjoy the pleasures which are at God’s right hand for evermore!

We, as believers, can say with David: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

“Jesus lives! And now is death but the gate of life immortal; This shall calm my trembling breath when I pass its gloomy portal. Faith shall cry as fails each sense: Jesus is my confidence!” (Lutheran Service Book, Page 490, v. 5).

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 (Read 1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Are you walking in the light or in the darkness? Sad to say, many, even among professing Christians, are walking in darkness; and each and every one of us would also choose to walk in darkness rather than coming to the light where our sinfulness and evil deeds are exposed (cf. John 3:19-20; John 1:1-14). But to continue on in darkness leads to death; to walk in the light leads to forgiveness and life everlasting.

While many would profess to have fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, that is not possible if they are walking in darkness — if they are hiding and covering up their sins and sinfulness and pretending to be righteous of themselves. One cannot be a Christian and be continuing on in sin and willful disobedience, and one cannot have fellowship with the Father and be hiding and covering up sin (cf. Heb. 10:26ff.; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).

If we pretend to be Christians and in fellowship with the Father and are impenitent, continuing on in our old sinful ways, we are deceiving ourselves and not practicing the truth. If we are hiding and covering up our sins rather than acknowledging them and seeking God’s forgiveness, we are lying and walking in darkness and unbelief (cf. Psalm 32:1ff.).

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,9).

To walk in the light is to acknowledge our sins and sinfulness — literally to say the same thing as God about our sins (ομολογωμεν) — and He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that we are acquitted, declared innocent and justified in His sight.

And how can God be faithful and just in forgiving our sins? It is because “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sins and the sins of all. Our sin was punished in Jesus and atonement was made. God’s justice is satisfied. Through faith in Christ Jesus, we have forgiveness and life eternal!

Again, are you walking in the darkness or in the light? Jesus and His Word shine into the darkness of this world, exposing sin, error and disobedience but also offering forgiveness and life through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Don’t hide from the light. Rather, walk in the light, confessing your sins and receiving God’s forgiveness and life for the sake of Jesus’ shed blood.

Shine upon us, Lord. Reveal our sinfulness but bring us to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, our crucified and risen Savior. In His name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association.
Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

Lord, to Thee I make confession

1 Lord, to Thee I make confession:
I have sinned and gone astray.
I have multiplied transgression,
Chosen for myself my way.
Led by Thee to see my errors,
Lord, I tremble at Thy terrors.

2 Yet, though conscience’ voice appal me,
Father, I will seek Thy face.
Tho’ Thy child I dare not call me,
Yet receive me to Thy grace.
Do not for my sins forsake me;
Do not let Thy wrath o’ertake me.

3 For Thy Son did suffer for me,
Gave Himself to rescue me,
Died to heal me and restore me,
Reconciled me unto Thee.
‘Tis alone His cross can vanquish
These dark fears and soothe this anguish.

4 Then on Him I cast my burden,
Sink it in the depths below.
Let me know Thy gracious pardon,
Wash me, make me white as snow.
Let Thy Spirit leave me never;
Make me only Thine forever. Amen.

Lord, to Thee I Make Confession
German Title: Herr, ich habe missgehandelt
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863, alt.)
Author: Johann Franck (1659, cento)
Tune Name: HERR, ICH HABE MISSGEHANDELT
Composer: Johann Crüger (1649)

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