. . . Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
—2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)
Who are these arrayed in white? They are those declared saints by God, all of them; kin and kith, children we never met, grandparents we barely remember, loved ones and yet to meet ones, all saints, and they wait for us. They are our people. This is their festival. It is our festival. For the “all” in All Saints means that we too, by grace, are in that number.
And thus we celebrate today, that despite the anxiety we feel from our enemies—from the devil and the world—who attack us, and despite the feeling of hopelessness that comes from our enemy within, we, in fact, have every reason to hope. We have every reason to be confident. We have every reason to rejoice. For Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our transgressions, is raised for our justification.
God’s Word is sure and certain. It endures forever. God’s promises are irrevocable. He doesn’t take them back. And he has promised you, that in Christ Jesus your sins are no more. Believe it of yourselves. Believe it of your brother. It is the truth.
“But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.”)
“Many are called, but few are chosen.” Not everyone goes to heaven. The Lord has atoned for the sins of the whole world. All are invited. No one need pay for his own sins, go unclothed or hungry, but some choose to anyway. They refuse the invitation and they stay out of heaven.
We’re called put off our old natures. The old nature is the old Adam. And put on the new nature by the renewing of our minds. The old Adam, your old nature has been put off in the putting on of the new. The new man, the new nature is the sanctified, redeemed child of God. Your new life, body and soul, is a life forgiven and restored. This is given in Baptism, when the death dies, and the Holy Spirit kicks the Devil out.
The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Matthew 22:34–46 Audio only.
Of course it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was never God’s day off. It was simply the day for men to rest: to rest and be refreshed by His Word and gifts. Our Sabbath never ends, for in Christ all days are the same, every sunrise is a reminder that death is dead and Jesus lives. The work is done. The healing complete. Jesus Christ is your health, your rest, your security, and your future. Soon the heaven’s will part and all creation will hear God say to you: “Friend, move up higher.”
Two great processions meet at the gate of Nain: one of death and one of life. Which of them will prevail: The boy by sin’s wages slain or the Prince of Life Himself? We know the answer. But knowledge does not always comfort when thoughts and feelings come to bear as we ponder those loved AND lost.
There are only two masters. And the question is not whether you will have a master, whether you will be ruled. The question is which of the two will be your master, which of the two will rule over you?