Our Certain Hope in Christ
The Church’s steadfast persistence in the face of trials, challenges and cultural counterattacks reveals something special: a quiet, certain hope. Such faith has its origin in the promises and works of the Savior Himself. We Lutherans are quite stubborn about this because Jesus is right here among us now (Matt. 28:20) and has promised to come again.
The spectacular Gospel truth — that we have been saved from sin, death and the power of Satan by God’s grace in Christ alone — is the cause of genuine freedom. We are reborn at the baptismal font and bear the image of His sacrificial love. Jesus gave Himself for everyone; His Church and her members, in turn, embody this self-giving to others — from the greatest to the least. This Gospel directs us to love our neighbors with the works that God has prepared beforehand (Eph. 2:10).
However, such confident hope sometimes falters. Sins assail us, and the devil never stops with his accusations. He says: “Unworthy. Unlovable. Unrighteous. God could not really love someone like you.”
But Satan is silenced whenever that peculiar cross comes into view (1 Cor. 1:22– 25). “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). This is why the children of God are continually drawn to the very instruments — the Word and Sacraments — that deliver the fruit of this cross with its eternal benefits. Our day-to-day lives are marked by continual repentance. Our sins are no more, and we are refined and strengthened to proceed into the world.
So whether across an ocean or in our own backyard, a persistent hope emerges. And from such faith, we pray that the proclamation of the Gospel and the Church’s works of mercy may continue unhindered. This issue of Lutherans Engage the World includes just a few examples — in Kenya, in Texas, in countless other contexts — of how marvelously these prayers are being answered. Rejoice over God’s goodness, and give thanks!
Rev. Kevin D. Robson
Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod