Monday, November 3, 2008

Salvation belongs to our God, and to the Lamb!

All Saints Day
Rev. 7:9-17
Bror Erickson

[9] After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, Rev. 7:9 (ESV)

It is fitting that on All Saints Day, we are given a picture of heaven, a little glimpse into the great glories awaiting for us saints in heaven. The great glory so many saints are already experiencing. The great glories so many of the ones we love and have loved in this life, are already experiencing. Here we see them clothed in white, standing before the lamb, (Christ) with palm branches in their hands, honoring Him in heaven as He was honored on Palm Sunday as he entered the capital of His kingdom Jerusalem. The only difference is this is His true kingdom, the Jerusalem above, this is the kingdom of which he spoke when He told Pilate, my Kingdom is not of this world. Indeed it is not. This kingdom is made up of brothers and sisters from all tribes, peoples, and languages. This kingdom is made up of our fellow citizens of heaven who right now are being whole sale slaughtered in the Congo, in the Sudan, those who are being persecuted in Saudi Arabia, and marginalized in Europe. This kingdom is comprised of all those who ever have, whoever do, whoever will call on the name of Christ wherever they be, for their salvation. For they cry, as we cry with the saints in heaven who cry out, “Salvation belongs to Our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne! And to the Lamb!” The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Oh, we look in this world for salvation. We look hard for salvation. And we do not find it in this world, not for this world. We look for it in politicians, and no matter how many times they betray us we still look for it in them. The other day I saw votive candles, candles the Roman Catholics usually burn in honor of Christ, or Mary, or some other saint, with Obama’s image on it. Really? I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to get political. But indulge me for a moment. I actually kind of like Obama. I disagree with him politically. But I do kind of like him. But votive candles in his image? People in this world will put their faith in anything, anyone, it seems. People rest their hope anywhere but where it belongs. Salvation belongs to our God! And to the Lamb! And there is no salvation for this world. None. This world has its days numbered. This world is going to pass away. It will die and whither like the grass. But the word of the Lord will last forever. And the word of the Lord is Salvation. We find salvation in the Word, that is in the Word that became flesh, and died for you, the word that became flesh and died, and on the third day rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is now the Lamb sitting at the right hand of God the Father almighty. There in that world that waits for us, That world is our salvation. There there is no death, there is no sin, there is no devil. There no one worries about work, or pay checks. There is no war. For there the lamb waits for us there, and to Him belongs salvation. Because He purchased it on our behalf with His death and resurrection. And there we too will join the saints, we will come out of the great tribulation that is this world, because we have washed our robes in the blood of the lamb, and they have been made white in the blood of the lamb, that God put forward as a propitiation for our sin, which we received by faith (Romans 3:25). When we were washed and sanctified by the washing of water and the word in Baptism, and given the gift of the Holy Spirit that is faith.
Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. It doesn’t belong to us. We can’t manufacture it. We can’t attain it by our own doings and not doings. We can’t purchase it for our neighbors with a vote. It is our God’s and He gives it to us freely through faith on account of Christ, who is the Lamb! He gives it to you and to me. Salvation, not in this world, but from this world. Salvation belongs to Him. Not to this world, or anything in this world. Not to our works, not to our thoughts, not to our love, but to Him, and Him alone. And He gives it to us. He has given it to us, and He continues to give it to us. He gave it to us in Baptism. He continues to give it to us in His word, and in the sacrament of the Altar. So that we can’t but help fall on our faces and join the saints of heaven Sunday after Sunday singing when God has forgiven our sins, and shown us Mercy, when God has yet again given us Salvation we sing with the saints of heaven, Blessing, honor glory and might be to God and the Lamb forever! We sing with them who even now enjoy the feast of victory of our God in its full glory. We sing with our brothers and sisters from days gone by, and days to come, and all parts of the world who join in the heavenly feast of victory of our God, the risen Body and Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. The victory feast, where we find salvation from sin, in victory over sin. Not a victory of works, a victory we accomplish by abstaining from sin, a victory that is short lived when we fall to temptation yet again. No, a victory that is eternal, a victory that is forgiveness, a victory that is life eternal, a victory over sin even now celebrated in all eternity before the throne of our God, apart from whom there is no Salvation. Yet in whom there is salvation, and that abundantly in the forgiveness of sins. Your sins are forgiven, by the blood of the Lamb, your have salvation. Therefore you are saints, and His heavenly kingdom is your home.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.

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