Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Amen. (Psa 32:2)
Text: Acts 10:42–48
“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
All the prophets testify about our Lord Jesus Christ, that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins by His name. All the prophets, indeed a fine host of witnesses! Should we not believe them? Could they all be wrong and be testifying to a lie? Ask the Apostles too! They testify exactly the same. Hear how they all say with one voice that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins by His name. He who is Judge of all, His name is the source for forgiveness of sins. This they all testify by the Holy Spirit. Truly it is very important to our God that we believe the forgiveness of sins. When a person is woken up and sees his sin, it is not easy for him to believe. Of course, some can become confident in faith very quickly; for others it takes a long time. The devil raises all kinds of doubt in the soul, for he has lost if we believe the forgiveness of sins in Christ. Therefore God has taken painstaking care that we should believe. Moses is a powerful witness of our sin. You believe him, and rightly so, for Moses is the servant of the Lord, and Christ Himself confirmed his word. But now if you believe Moses when he testifies that you are a sinner, shouldn’t you then believe all God’s prophets (and Moses too) and all His Apostles and the Son Himself, when they unanimously testify that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins by His name? You believe He is God’s Son. You believe He has taken away the sin of the world. You believe He is the Savior of sinners, as His name says. You believe in Him, and yet do you doubt whether your sins are forgiven you? Don’t you realize that your unbelief is hollow and empty, pure deceit and a trick of Satan? Don’t you realize that you thereby set yourself against all of the witnesses of truth sent by God and say to them: “I am not sure if you are telling the truth!” Yes, you say to Jesus Himself: “I don’t know if You have the right to the name Savior!” – O away with unbelief! You who know that you are a sinner and intend to sin no more, who pray for grace for Jesus’ sake and have no other Savior: all the prophets testify that you have forgiveness of sins in Jesus. Shouldn’t the devil’s lie be trodden under foot? Shouldn’t God’s Word stand? It is too glorious for us, but it is true. Or is anything impossible with God? Rejoice, your sins are forgiven, and salvation is yours!
Praise to You, Lord Jesus. You baptized us into Your name and thus give us such rich grace. Surely You have taken away our sins and offered Yourself for our salvation. When You have taken them away, they are taken away. Nothing can condemn us. We thank You heartily and pray for grace to believe and to serve You forever, precious Lord and Savior. Amen.
Grant, O God, on You relying,
That sin now be drowned and die,
To Your Christian Church supplying
Strength to spread both far and wide!
Let Your Spirit wake each soul
To true prayer, repentance whole
On the earth a new life living,
True devotion to God giving.
Grant, O God, our Hope and Power,
To our souls true peace of mind;
Heaven’s healing balm now shower
Sweetly our bruised heart to bind!
Grant, in Jesus’ name, O God,
Healing to our hearts so sad;
By Your Spirit bless our living
To our Church true faith be giving.
Landstad: Give Gud, paa hvem vi stole L 446:1-2 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Werde munter (ELH 354); alternate hymn: O enter, Lord, Thy temple ELH 400