Reposted from Pastor Flamme
(18 verses, 1:46 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Sanctification and the Resurrection
- Paul instructs on the necessity of good works (1-12).
- Paul describes what will happen to those who are alive when Christ returns to judge (13-18).
- Luther writes, “In chapter 4 [St. Paul] exhorts them to guard against sin and to do good to one another. He also answers a question which they had presented to him through Timothy concerning the resurrection of the dead, whether all would rise at once, or whether some after others” (AE 35:387).
- Sometimes the charge is leveled against the Lutherans that we don’t care about good works because of our insistence on faith alone. Hardly. What we do, and our opponents fail to understand this, is to rightly distinguish between Law and Gospel, between the place of our works and the place of God’s work for us. So we have no trouble with learning from St. Paul about the necessity of Christians engaging in good works. This is the “will of God.” Now, is it God’s will that through these works we obtain salvation? No. Jesus has already done that. He gives you this gift in the preaching of the Gospel which you have by faith. Why are good works still necessary? Your neighbor needs them. As you have been loved by God through Christ Jesus, so now you love freely and gladly, without any worry of trying to serve your own selfish desires in the process. We busy ourselves with good works “more and more.”
- Paul comforts us who grieve over our loved ones who have died in the faith. By saying that they “sleep” he’s making clear that their lives have not been lost to the corruption of the grave. Instead, we are shown the pattern that we have learned through Christ’s own life and death. As he was raised, so shall we be raised along with those who have gone before us. What if we’re still alive when Christ returns in glory? We will meet our Lord in the air with our brothers and sisters who have been raised imperishable from the earth. Thanks be to God.
- Prayer: Teach us, heavenly Father, to not morn as others who have no hope. Assure us of Christ’s own resurrection that we may be comforted in the sure and certain knowledge of his victory over the grave that he gives to his saints in Baptism. Amen.
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-Pastor A. Brian Flamme