Reminiscere Midweek
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
February 27, 2013
Central Passage
1 Thessalonians 4:1-7


In the name of the Father and of the X Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It is hard to be a Christian. It is hard because the world fights against us. Not only governments and regimes, though they fight against the saints also. But everything about the world fights against the new man, the Christian. Even our own thoughts fight against the new thoughts born of the Spirit. So that St. Paul is forced to admit that the good he wants to do he fails to do and the evil that he wishes to abstain from, that is what he ends up doing! And if that is St. Paul’s confession, how much more is it mine and yours?

But we look at all the ways we can screw up and sin and we rightly conclude that it is too great a task to refrain from sin. It is far easier to refrain from gross sins. Except we quickly learn that we can’t do that either. The best we can do, the most we can hope for is to give the appearance that we have refrained from gross and wicked sins. We can’t help but lust, but we can wear sunglasses so no one sees our lusting eyes. We can’t help but steal. But we can cook books and lie to our employer or spouse until what we have stolen no longer matters. We can’t help but lie. But we can insist that we are not liars, and even defame the character of others to prove our innocence. We are sinners and sinners sin.

Thanks be to God, then, that being a Christian is not about not sinning! If it were, who could be saved? No one could! So after he laments and mourns his sins and sinning ways, the apostle answers his own question, “Who can save me from this body of death?” The Lord Jesus Christ, that’s who! Being a Christian is about clinging to Christ who promises that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Being a Christian is about trusting that because Christ lives we shall live.

The Lord Jesus is our sanctification. His obedience is our obedience. His righteousness is our righteousness. His perfection is our perfection. And when He comes to judge the quick and the dead, He will judge His saints as He himself has been judged: innocent. For death could not hold Him 2,000 years ago, and so it cannot hold you who belong to Him and are baptized into Him.

So what do we do now? We know that Jesus is our sanctification, yet we hear also that we are to refrain from such things as sexual immorality, greed, lies, and so forth. Yes, you are to refrain from these things. For we are not set free from sin in order to keep on sinning. How can we who have died to sin live in it any longer? Only don’t ever think your salvation is wrapped up in your ability to withstand temptation or in your sinlessness. For you can neither withstand temptation nor are you sinless. You salvation is wrapped up in the Son of God who was tempted yet is without sin.

May the blessed Lord break and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, and keep us firm in His word and faith until we die. Let this, His good and gracious will be done among us.

+ In Namine Iesu +