Chapel – 3/31/20
Thank you Mr. Streeter for leading us in chapel today.
Step 1: Read the Bible passage below from Titus 3:
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Step 2: Read along with the message below:
I’ll bet that you have washed your hands much more now than you have ever done before in your life. And that is a good thing. Hand hygiene is the number one factor in preventing the spread of germs. I am much more conscious of how often I touch my face or rub my eyes and I try my best to have clean hands when I do so. I am much more conscious of when I touch surfaces out in public and how easy it is to spread germs of all kinds. It is a seemingly unending process of exposure to contaminants and cleaning ourselves from that exposure. Yet we all need to be responsible citizens and do our part not to spread germs to others.
Another thing that has been on my mind is the thoroughness of my handwashing. Before this, I would squirt on some soap and rub my hands quickly together and then rinse them off. But now, I am trying to get into the habit of thoroughly cleaning my hands. I am trying to develop a routine when I wash my hands, trying to do the same thing every time to create a habit. My process is front, back, thumbs, under nails (scratching nails on palms), and then between the fingers. With repetition, this can develop into a beneficial habit.
Since I have been washing my hands so much, something that has often come into my mind is my baptism. In our baptism, as Luther says, our sins are forgiven, we are delivered from death and the devil, and we are given eternal salvation by repentance and belief in the promises of God’s Word joined with the water in our baptism. We have been cleansed by the blood of Christ that was given for us. The sins that made us sick and killed us spiritually have been totally forgiven. We are alive in Christ. Our sin is Christ’s. Christ Jesus’ holiness is our holiness. We have been washed and given new life in the Holy Spirit. And why are we able to trust in this complete forgiveness of God? Not because we have done anything. Not because we decided first to change and become better people. But only because of the mercy of God.
In the same way that we need to keep washing our hands again and again because we keep becoming contaminated, we need God’s spiritual washing again and again because we keep breaking God’s law. But here is where the comparison breaks down. We are both sinful and saved at the same time. We are sinners in ourselves and at the same time holy, pure children of God because of the gift and mercy of Jesus. By faith, we are completely new people, despite our sinfulness. Although we continue to sin in our thoughts, words, and deeds, these sins are not counted against us because of Christ. It’s almost like we have immunity to the disease of sin. While it still exists, it can no longer hurt us because it has been forgiven.
When we remember our baptism, we remember who we are in Christ. We are God’s children. We return to the certainty of God’s forgiveness and His unending love for us. As we need to be careful to wash our hands frequently to protect ourselves from physical germs, we need to frequently put ourselves in remembrance of our baptism to protect ourselves from spiritual diseases like doubt, despair, and unbelief. God’s grace has been and still is abundantly poured over us. And since God has done so much to secure our spiritual lives, we can trust Him that He will care for us and give us what we need for our physical lives. And if, God forbid, we or a loved one should contract the virus and become sick, He still is in control and our lives are in His capable and loving hands. God will remain with us through it all. We can trust Him.
So the next time you wash your hands or put on sanitizer, remember your baptism and the complete cleansing and forgiveness that was given to you by believing in Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross. Just as you are, bring your sins to Him and let His remind you once again that you are forgiven and that you are His child. Don’t let your baptism be a one time thing. Return frequently to it and the complete forgiveness given there. Then live in confidence and in the strength and power of your Savior.
Step 3: Listen to the hymn Just As I Am, paying special attention to the last verse (lyrics below):
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Step 4: Pray the prayer below:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the complete forgiveness we have received by faith in the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to remember our baptism often and anchor ourselves to this promise, trusting that You are always with us wherever we may go and whatever may happen to us. Amen.
Step 5: Go about your day in the peace and forgiveness of Christ.