2014-12-22

The Savior is Born

Share |

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. [Luke 2:1-14]


Historical narration in the text invites us to use analysis for the sermon outline. Our text records 1) the imperial decree which compelled Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem; 2) the birth itself in a room containing a manger; 3) the announcement of the angel; 4) the praise ,of the angel host. Loy illustrates this simple analytical type of outline.

The Savior is Born.

Let us dwell

  1. On tire marvelous fact;
  2. On the glorious announcement.
  3. On the angelic praise.


The decree and the birth are placed into one part, so that the sermon appears with only the customary three parts. The formulation of the outline is entirely didactic and commonplace. It would be a pity if the sermon rose to no higher level. I should like to see the preacher on this higher level already in his outline.


2014-12-21

Baptized into Moses

Share |

Christian Baptism is Baptism in the name of the Triune God. The Apostle Paul tells us that there was a Baptism also during the time of the Old Testament. He calls it a Baptism into Moses. "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1,2).

This Baptism sanctified the Israelites, from the oldest to the youngest, to be God's people and to follow Moses, the leader God had given them. The people - among them 600,000 men who were prepared for battle - crossed the Red Sea. Being a rapidly increasing people, there were also many children among them. The cloud and the raging sea constituted the water of Baptism. The people of Israel were saved from Pharaoh's armies. These armies received a baptism by immersion and drowned in the Red Sea.

The Scribes understood the Baptism that Israel received to be a once-and-for-all Baptism, in which future generation of Israelites had been baptized along with their ancestors. Israelites were therefore not baptized. The Gentiles, who were converted to the religion of Israel, were baptized because their ancestors had not been baptized into Moses. This so-called proselyte Baptism was administered to all the members of the family, also to children under the age of eight days. Male proselytes were circumcised after they were baptized. The New Testament does not take a stand concerning this Baptism.

This information concerning the baptismal practices of the Scribes casts light on the historical situation prevailing at the time when Christian Baptism was instituted. Because the New Testament does not oppose the Jewish practice of baptizing the children of proselytes and does not forbid Christians to baptize infants, there is here, along with the many direct Biblical proofs, a support for infant Baptism.

Let us return to the Apostle Paul. Of those baptized into Moses he says: "Nevertheless with most of them God was not well pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness" (1 Cor. 10:5). So now too God is not pleased with those who reject Jesus Christ, even though through Baptism they have become partakers of Christ's death and resurrection. "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). Not all baptized people will be saved, but neither shall they all perish.

We can base our faith on that Covenant which God made with us when we were baptized. "God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able" (1 Cor. 10:13). Because God in Baptism has called us by name, adopted us and made us His own, we can continue our journey with confidence under the protection of the water of Baptism. It saves the believer and drowns his enemies.


2014-12-20

The Baptist’s Immortal Testimony to the Deity of Christ at Bethany beyond the Jordan

Share |

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. [John 1:19-28]


The man who knows only homiletical analysis finds this look difficult. He cannot cut it into two or three sections, preaching on each section, in two or three parts of the sermon. The man who knows only homiletical application likewise has difficulty. He will use the pattern: as the Baptist was humble, honest, true, etc., so must we be to-day. He may also compare us with the priests and with the Pharisees also in the text, and teach us not to be like them. Perhaps also may fasten on v. 23, and preach our preparing the way into our. own hearts and then also into the hearts of others, Ilint all of us ought to be people like the Baptist. Yet, I oven this kind of a preacher senses that such an applica-r,► t 13,4'111►11, with such "lessons" from this great text, is weak .1o1 to do justice to its main feature. For the previous already presented the Baptist as a prophet, yes, as "something beyond a prophet," and the obvious fact is that no o►oniv uia 111 anything of the kind. Likewise, in this text he a voice in the wilderness, "as said the prophet and never said anything of the kind about us. II In alltogether incongruous to compare our hearers to the Baptist. The preacher may ignore the incongruity, but that does not remove it. More may be said to the same effect.

The better type of preacher rises higher. One presents: The Preacher in the Wilderness: 1) Who he is, and 2) What he preaches. Another offers: John's Testimony at Bethabara (which should be: at Bethany beyond the Jordan) : 1) Concerning himself; 2) Concerning Christ. Both themes have color. Yet the parts under the first theme are mere categories. The main fault is that in both of these sermons John occupies half of the sermon, and this half becomes either merely historical in telling about John, or when it seeks for more descends again to "lessons" drawn from John. Moreover, it is the Third Sunday in Advent which is intended to deal with the Baptist as the Great Herald of Christ, not the Fourth. It would be strange indeed to have two Sundays' for the same subject.

We are on the eve of the Festival of the Savior's Birth. The object of this text for the last Sunday before Christmas is to impress upon us the Deity of Rim who is Born in Bethlehem, this is why we celebrate his birth as we do. So great is the Savior sent by God into the world, because none less than he could possibly "stand" to perform the work needed for our redemption. In other words, the Messiah had to be the very Son of God, and he was the Son. This is the true burden of the whole text. This is the 1.1aeereeia, "the testimony" of John (v. 19) which John bore when this double committee came to him in the wilderness. It is this "testimony" that the evangelist records, for this testimony stands for all time, for you and for me to this day.

Testimony, true testimony, calls for belief on our part, aims to produce this belief and all its fruits. This is the aim of the entire text. Where faith already exists, this testimony aims to increase, intensify, fortify such faith, lest it decline or grow ineffective. To meet true testimony with unbelief constitutes the most fatal guilt. Such unbelief is unnatural, abnormal, hence damnable (John 3, 18). It ought to be impossible.

This text demands homiletical appropriation, and that not only in one part of the sermon, but in the entire sermon. The sum of the sermon must be: "This is the Testimony" (v. 19) — believe it! Amen. Keep this high level. God knows how necessary this is for our day. The Virgin Birth is ignored, even boldly denied. Divinity is substituted for deity, a noble, divine, godlike man for the Son of God incarnate. Christmas is celebrated in high style without the Son of the Highest. Matthew's and Luke's account of the Nativity are rejected as legendary, as imitations of pagan stories about heathen gods appearing on earth. Who in this whose birth we are about to celebrate on Christmas day? Our very souls depend on the true answer.

The Baptist’s Immortal Testimony to the Deity of Christ at Bethany beyond the Jordan.

  1. This Testimony faces us to-day, because it is immortal,
    • Given to the official committees of the Jews by the Baptist.
    • Transmitted to us by God through his evangelist.
    • Declaring the Deity of Jesus, whose sandals even the great Baptist is not worthy to untie.
    • Declaring that Jesus, the Godman, "stands" to begin the work of our redemption.
    • Justifying the Baptist's work, as the Voice in the wilderness, bringing Israel to Baptism.
    • Destroying all false notions about Jesus and his forerunner the Baptist.
     
  2. We face this Testimony to-day, because it is immortal.
    • As true to-day as the day it was uttered.
    • Demanding faith in the Deity of Jesus and in his redemption which only he could begin and finish.
    • Producing faith by its power' of truth.
    • Destroying all false notions we and others may still have about Jesus and his redemption.
    • Warning us away from the guilt of disbelieving.
    • By all this preparing us for rightly celebrating the Godman's Nativity.



2014-12-14

Divorce is a delicate matter

Share |

It is not pleasant to speak of divorce. Divorce always involves the shipwreck of the joint life of two people, and often affects children in a most painful way. Nevertheless we must speak about it, because it is a reality.

If a husband and wife do not agree to live together, no one else can force them to do so. Even the best laws do not help. Moses already had to permit divorce because of the hardness of people's hearts (Matt. 19:8). This did not mean that he approved of divorce morally. It only meant the acknowledgment of what had already happened. Society must also do this constantly. Nevertheless it must not enact laws that have a weakening effect on the estate of marriage.

On the other hand experience indicates that even very serious disagreements in the marriage relationship have in time been solved. When husband and wife have understood the permanent nature of marriage, their convictions have given them strength to endure in difficult times, and often their faith in God has been a great source of strength. In this way the marriage has been saved and husband and wife have, as it were, discovered each other anew. To the children, father has been a father and mother has been a mother despite the problems between husband and wife. When father and mother have remained together the children have had a home. This is how it should be and should continue to be.

According to the Bible unfaithfulness dissolves the marriage and the innocent party has the right to get a divorce. The guilty, unfaithful spouse does not have the moral right to remarry for "whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery" (Matt. 19:9). On the other hand the innocent spouse is free to marry again, as the Lutheran Confessions state in explaining this Bible passage. However, reconciliation and the saving of the marriage if at all possible, should be the goal of every couple.

Our Savior mentions those who are not fit for marriage. Some are unfit from birth, others have made themselves unfit, and some are unfit because of what others have done. "He who is able to accept this let him accept it" (Matt. 19:12). If a person, who is unfit for marriage, marries he deceives the other person. Lutheran theologians have taught that in such cases no real marriage has taken place and that a false promise annuls the marriage. If one spouse becomes unfit during the marriage, the other must bear this as his cross.

Those who have done wrong must be granted the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins. In our society there are tens of thousands whose marriages have ended in divorce. To many of them this is matter of conscience and affects their relationship to God, if not at the time of the divorce, then at a later time. It is important that the matter be settled before God. An understanding pastor can often be of great help in a matter of this type.


2014-12-10

The Important Question which John from his Prison Directed to Jesus

Share |

Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?  Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [Matthew 11:2-10]


The remarks introductory to the exegesis are vital for the contents of the sermon. I have not read a single sermon that consists of application made from John's character or his actions that I would approve. If I were to sit in the pew, as I have now done for many years, and were to hear the preacher preach that we must not doubt like John doubted, and must not grow weak in faith as John grew weak, or if he blamed John's dis-ciples for such doubt and weakness, I would be tempted to throw my hymn-book at the preacher and to leave the church. The sermon books and the collections of sermon outlines that I have seen contain too many of these misguided attempts.

In your introduction to the sermon you may tell the true story as to how John came to direct his question to Jesus. Do it in a clean-cut; interesting, yet brief manner. It leads straight to the theme:

The Important Question which John from his Prison Directed to Jesus.

Simple analysis supplies the parts:

  1. The answer which this question elicited from Jesus in regard to Jesus' Work
.
  • The declaration which this question educed from Jesus in regard to John's Work.


  • Part two, like part one, glorifies Jesus, for he is the Messiah so great that a prophesied prophet ushered in his Coming in Grace. This type of sermon, so simple and to the point, will strike the hearers: Here is all this work of Jesus' grace before our hearts to-day, and here is the prophesied prophet who prepared the way for Jesus, what is our response? Only a passing interest, ending in indifference?


    2014-12-07

    Marriage is an institution of God

    Share |

    Marriage is one of the temporal estates which God instituted already in Paradise. "A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). This institution by God makes marriage holy and inviolable. "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matt. 19:6). Marriage lasts until one of the parties involved dies (Rom. 7:2,3). Where these principles are confessed and observed, marriage enjoys God's blessing, even though, because of human weakness, mutual love and the continuation of life together are at times under severe strain.

    Marriage is a civil estate. This is already apparent from the fact that pagans and unbelievers have the same right to marry as believers do. But above all it is a civil estate because the purpose of marriage is temporal, pertaining only to this life and ending at death. From this it follows that the State has the right to enact laws pertaining to marriage and to see to it that marriages are properly performed. In principle the performing of marriages belongs to the State and not to the Church. For historic reasons marriage customs differ in different countries. In some countries civil marriages are compulsory, in others, church marriages are recognized by the State as sufficient. Civil marriages also are legitimate in God's sight, for the civil authorities are God's servants in matters like this.

    God wants Christians to sanctify their earthly lives with God's Word and prayer (1 Tim. 4:4,5). Christ blessed the marriage at Cana by His presence (John 2:1-11). Therefore it is proper that the Church blesses a marriage with God's Word and prayer. The marriage ceremony should not include anything that is contrary to the essence and lasting nature of marriage. It is the obligation of the State, by laws and other means, to promote respect for the institution of marriage and to help preserve its enduring character.


    2014-12-05

    Face the End!

    Share |

    And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. [Luke 21:25-36]


    Last Sunday called on us to embrace the grace. This Sunday adds: "Having done so, face the judgment!"

    Face the End!
    The Coming of the Son of Man with Great Glory.

    1. Face the tremendous fact, v. 25 and 27! Our Lord Jesus Christ shall indeed return from heaven in great power and glory to judge the world. The great White Throne, Rev. 20, 11.
      Many fail to face the final judgment; they dare not face it.
    2. Hold to the eternal words, v. 33!
      To enlighten you.
      To drive out foolish errors.
      To direct you, so that you can face the end.
    3. Mark well the special sign, v. 32!
      The persistence of the obdurate Jews in all the lands of the world.
      The dream of the millennialists that all the Jews shall be converted etc.
      But they are a standing miracle and sign of the Lord's judgment, warning the world.
    4. Expel all fear, v. 26!
      Men's hearts failing them for fear, but not our hearts.
      We know what is impending, and we are ready for all of it, - why should we fear?
    5. Scorn all dissipation, v. 34-35!
      The world's way of facing serious days, only increas-ing guilt and multiplying folly.
      The end shall not find me in a night club, dance hall, etc., but on my knees, over my Bible, in my church.
    6. Lift up joyful heads, v. 28-30!
      Our final redemption draws nigh.
      Like the spring and summer.
    7. Pray to stand before the Son of Man, v. 36!
      Pray now ever to remain in his blessed grace,
      So that you may be acquitted on judgment day.
    Note: The difference between a sermon with two or three and with six or seven parts is that the more main parts we have the fewer subdivisions we need to make.


    2014-11-30

    The sixth commandment and Christian morality

    Share |

    To Christians, God's will is holy. Every transgression of God's will is an offense against God's holiness. God's children are told: "Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Pet. 1:15). The unbelieving people of the world do not wish to conform to God's holiness and are not capable of doing so, but rather place their God-given gifts into the service of immorality and their "glory is in their shame" (Phil. 3:19).

    This applies also to the Sixth Commandment: "Do not commit adultery" and to the special relationship between man and woman, which God has instituted and intended only for marriage. The unbelieving world wants to desecrate this relationship and demands that the Christian Church change its teaching in such a way that it will not condemn sexual relationships outside of marriage as a sin.

    It is not surprising that the unbelievers, who do not know Christ, are not concerned about Christian morality. But what is surprising is that even some clergymen and entire churches do not take the Sixth Commandment seriously, and claim that sexual relations outside marriage are not sinful. The Bible, however, disagrees: "Because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband" (1 Cor. 7:2). "If they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn" (1 Cor. 7:9). These passages clearly forbid sexual relations outside of marriage and call them adultery. Also Deut. 22:20-21.

    According to the Bible, the promises given by the betrothed in engagement are meant to last for their lifetime. Engagement is valid when it is born of a mutual agreement between a man and a woman, who have their parent's consent, when it is not forbidden by the laws of the State, and when both parties are fit for the marriage relationship.

    Engagement is not valid if the promise to marry has been obtained by fraudulent, untrue promises, and if something that would have prevented the giving of the promise has been concealed.

    When there is a valid engagement, the marriage has already taken place when the promise to marry was given. The engaged parties are promised to each other inseparably. But they have not yet been given (Gen. 1:28; 2:22) to each other by God. This occurs when the marriage ceremony takes place.

    A marriage relationship before the actual marriage is a sin against God and His Commandements. It is also a sin against parents. It is disorder, and is against the right and the responsibility of the State to see that marriages are performed according to the laws of the State. Sexual relations are permissible only after the marriage ceremony has taken place. The Bible says: "Keep the marriage (greek, gamos, nuptials, cf. John 2:1) in high regard and the marriage bed pure" (Hebr. 13:4).

    We have no right to make exceptions when it comes to that which is right and that which is wrong. The Church must unequivocally teach the whole truth of God. The transgression of God's will must be called sin.

    But how then can the Church help the fallen?

    This is done with the word of the Gospel. The forgiveness of sins through Christ's vicarious atonement is proclaimed to the penitent. God is not insensitive and cruel, but with His gracious Word He refreshes and strengthens us, supports us and anchors us more firmly in the Truth. The Gospel gives strength. As pardoned sinners even the most wretched can sing:

    "By grace I am saved, grace free and boundless!"


    2014-11-26

    "Behold Thy King Cometh Unto Thee!"

    Share |

    And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. [Matthew 21:1-9]


    A new Church Year opens. Under the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Grace. The ancient prophet Zechariah saw how this King of Grace would come in a triumphal procession to the capital city of Jerusalem. He still comes to us with all his grace in his Word and his Sacrament. Invisibly, but no less effectively. For us too the prophet's cry is intended:

    "Behold Thy King Cometh Unto Thee!"

    His greatness and his blessedness are beyond compare and should insure his joyful reception by us.

    1. The King long promised.
      • The promise reached back to Eden. Zechariah made it over 500 years before its fulfillment.
      • The hope of the world hung upon this promised King. His was not a Kingdom like those of men. Describe. But a Rule to set men's souls free from the tyranny of sin. A Rule of grace, to bless and to make happy forever.
    2. The King's deity.
      • Despite his lowliness his deity shines forth in his omniscience. Thus in all his miracles. The raising of Lazarus.
      • A King less than the Son of God could not have brought salvation and heavenly grace to the world.
    3. The King's meekness.
      • No army, no outward power, a borrowed ass, a band of twelve disciples: "meek," one who cannot resist.
      • He came not to force men, but to bless them, not to demand of them, but to bestow upon them. So defenseless, because he came to die and to shed his blood in expiation.
    4. The King who works out and bestows salvation. 
      • The Savior-King. Infinite grace. The price he paid. Thorn-crowned.
      • Universal redemption. Blood and death of the Son of God. Infinite value. Dispensed to all who believe.
    5. The King on whose proper reception everything depends for us. 
      • The jubilant reception at Jerusalem. Ephemeral. What is left for the Jews since they rejected their King? 
      • Our jubilant reception renewed to-day, more wholeheartedly than ever. We know the King's grace and salvation. There is no other name.



    2014-11-23

    A disturbing letter

    Share |

    I had written an article about God's love. A reader responded with a letter that disturbed me. She described the type of life that no father would want for his daughter - but a life that has been the lot of some in all ages. The article concerning God's love had led the unfortunate woman to think about her own life. The tone of the letter was one of despair: Life continues as before, I have no strength and at times even no desire to go on. It would be better not to talk about God.

    The Bible offers hope even to those who have fallen deeply into sin. In the final analysis in God's sight there are no great sinners or sinners who have fallen only a little. Because of original sin, all have sinned. Everyone needs the entire grace of Christ in order to be saved. God's Son was born a human being from ancestors who were sinful people like the rest of mankind. Rahab, the harlot, was an ancestor of His. So was Solomon, who was born to Uriah's wife as a result of David's adultery. The person who has fallen into gross sins often finds it difficult to believe that God could be merciful to such a great sinner. But the genealogy of Christ shows us what kind of people Christ came to save. Jesus Himself was sinless, but the guilt of our sins was attributed to Him, so that He suffered for us and experienced untold agony under God's wrath. Jesus did this for all people, even for the outcasts of society. Although He Himself was sinless, this did not cause Him to condemn and reject the fallen. He did not approve of sin, but this did not stop Him from loving sinners and forgiving the penitent.

    The Bible tells us of many who repented and believed. Rahab, who helped the representatives of God's people, became a heroine of faith. The New Testament presents her as an example of true faith. David confessed his sins and was forgiven. A certain woman with a bad reputation anointed Jesus' feet with costly ointment. Earlier she had sought only the treasures of this world and had been willing to exchange her chastity for them. Now this world had lost its appeal for her. She loved Jesus as one, who had learned to know the love of Jesus with which He first loved us.

    Jesus is the same yet today. His wounds tell us that the whole world has been redeemed. Therefore: No more despair, no more impenitance, no more unbelief! Let everyone confess his sins to Him and believe them forgiven in His blood! This is the message of Rahab and other fallen women to those who share their fate today: That they would also share the same salvation in Christ. Their example also shows us that it is possible to break free from a life of sin and to begin a new life with the strength that faith in the forgiveness of sins provides.