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God’s Word for You

Luke 24:46-47 forgiveness of sins will be preached

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, July 16, 2019

46 He told them, “This is what is written:  The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem.

Four things, Jesus says, will be preached: The first is the suffering and death of Christ. We call this his state of humiliation, the time when the Son of God chose to set aside some of his powers as God. All told, this was the time from his conception until his death, but especially his suffering at the hands of the Romans and the Jews leading to his crucifixion and death.

The second thing to be preached will be his resurrection. This includes everything from the moment of his resurrection onward. We call this his state of exaltation, and it necessarily includes the time which (when this was spoken) had not happened yet, but which we confess in the Creed: “He ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

The third thing to be preached is repentance. This is the turning of the sinful person from his sin to faith in Christ. No one can stand before God on the basis of their own righteousness. Isaiah said: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Through the preaching of the law, and to a lesser degree the testimony of the human conscience, we recognize our sins and our failings. Before we ask God for forgiveness or look to Jesus for that forgiveness, we need to see how much we need that forgiveness; how much we need Jesus.

The fourth thing to be preached is the forgiveness of sins. To leave someone wishing for forgiveness but never proclaiming it to them would be horrible and even sinful, yet there are some who do just that. The forgiveness of sins is the point of everything that has taken place; the point of the other three messages to be preached. Why did Christ come to suffer? For the forgiveness of our sins. Why is his resurrection preached? To show that our forgiveness is accomplished. Why is repentance preached? So that this salvation and forgiveness will be known to each of us, personally. This forgiveness is not for “some,” but for all, including me.

All of these things are to be preached “in his name.” Note that Jesus has begun to speak of himself in the third person (“his,” not “my”), because this is how it will be from now on. Our message is from him, and the messenger cannot change the message; he must only deliver it. This is the message of Scripture, and we must proclaim the message only according to Scripture. Whenever there is more than one source of authority for doctrine, the source which is not the Bible tends to rise up so that it is taken to be more important. For many Protestants, this has meant the rise of human reason, the idea that God revealed nothing to man that is unreasonable. This is never stated in the Bible, yet it has led many Protestants to the conclusion that because the atonement of sin by Christ’s blood is unreasonable, it must therefore not be the message we preach. And in the Roman Catholic Church there are three authorities above Scripture: Traditions, Councils, and above all else, the Pope. He is the ultimate source of all doctrine.

We take the Bible to be the rule that rules all else, and all doctrines are drawn from and governed by the Scriptures. Therefore, let the Bible be what we preach. Let the gospel message of forgiveness through Jesus predominate. Let us always keep in mind our Savior’s two states, humiliation and exaltation, both experienced in both his natures (true God and true man), to lead us to repentance, to lead us to the forgiveness of our sins and everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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