Pastor's Pen for 02/21/2018While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. — God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How do you know that God loves you? Is it how well you pray? Is it because of your good works? Is it how much you give? NO! God loves you all for the sake of His beloved Son. Jesus’ Good Friday Dying and Easter Rising is God's love for you. While we were still weak. While we were still in our sin. Rebelling. Hating. Fighting. Lusting. Gossiping. God gifted you His beloved Son.

Christ has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death. (Small Catechism III Article)

The Blood of Jesus is the price – for your redemption. The Good News of the Gospel brings you peace. We have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5)

Brought back to God. Once you were not the people of God. Once you were outsiders to the promises of God. The doom of the wrath of God looming. But Jesus took it for you. In Christ you have been reconciled to God. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5)

The love of Christ for you. Jesus’ passion, pouring out His life unto death. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4)

Where to get what Christ has won? Holy Baptism. Be baptized every one of you. Here is where God is giving out His Good Friday and Easter gifts; through water and the Word. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6)

You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Honor God in your bodies. The righteous will live by faith. Christ’s Church will live by the power of God's Word. Hearing, trusting and believing the Word preached into your ears and hearts. You are the New Creation in Christ living by faith.

What does the New Creation do? Living in faith toward God and love to our neighbor. We love one another as Christ has loved us. Unconditional. Sacrificially.

How to live the sanctified life? Die – Die to your sin. Rise – Rise as the New Creation in the baptismal waters everyday living in Christ. You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2)

Rejoice in God's love for you in Christ. Rejoice in hearing and believing God's Word. Happy living as the New Creation in Christ. Living by faith in Christ. Blessed Lenten Journey to the Cross and Empty Tomb of our Lord. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Rev. Lance D. Berndt is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church ( in Omaha, NE.