Saturday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on November 20, 2021 byunder
Scripture: Hebrews 10:26-31 (NKJV)
10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
It is one thing to die having never received Baptism. It is another thing to receive Baptism, to take the Lord’s Supper, and then to fall away from Christ. Those in the second group will be judged more harshly than those in the first. Those who have never been baptized are God’s enemies, but those who first received it and then fell away are traitors. Therefore, the author of Hebrews is calling Christians to remain repentant, lest they receive a harsher condemnation than the pagans.
This is why the Lutheran Church, in accordance with Christ’s command in Matthew 28, carefully catechizes her members—that is, we teach them the Doctrine of Christ before admitting them to the Lord’s Supper. A poorly trained Christian may not understand what he is getting into and, falling away, invite God’s vengeance. In order to protect the weak and ignorant from judgment, the Lutheran Church only communes those properly trained and examined: “the sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV:1). This practice is infinitely more loving than the practice of the “evangelicals”, who welcome everyone to the altar, regardless of confession. Such “open communion” is a sick cruelty on men’s souls.
Prayer: O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of Thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.