God Speaks to Us to Give Us Gifts
God speaks to us to give away His salvation gifts. He sends us preachers for this reason: to hand out His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through simple, earthly words, water, bread, and wine. These gifts aren't hidden in some secret society. No one has a monopoly on God’s gifts. He doesn’t preserve them in a club of insiders who, because of their theology, race, color, or gender – or their good behavior, intelligence, or income bracket – are the only ones to whom God will hand out His gifts. Despite what we in the United States have been led to believe, bright, white, Anglo-Saxons who are happily married, have 2.8 children, and never get drunk don’t have a leg up on the rest of the world. Nobody can earn God’s gifts through marriage, being a teetotaler, or reproduction. We can’t buy God's gifts, and we can’t bargain with Him for them either.
When God speaks, the reality of His faithful, loving, kindness pours out of the mouth of His preachers: His chosen instruments of salvation. When God speaks through His preachers, the waters of baptism pour over us. When God speaks, His preachers speak, and Christ's body and blood are poured down our throats. God sends preachers to speak so that He can bespeak His gifts of salvation to us. Likewise, when God speaks, He doesn’t then leave us alone to ponder His intent. He does something when He speaks. When God speaks, He speaks something concrete and real to us. God's Spirit takes ahold of us, creates faith in us, creates a hunger for His Word, and bends our hearts to understand who Jesus is as Savior for us. God's Spirit even prays for us because we don’t know how to pray as we should (Romans 8).
God speaks to us in Christ Jesus for the specific purpose and goal that He reveals Himself to us as a loving Father. He speaks to us with a voice full of love and assurance. He speaks to us Jesus-much because He wants to guard us with His Word.
Finally, to guard and preserve our lives, God speaks. His most urgent desire as our heavenly Father is to protect us from every harm and danger. He sends His preachers to us and speaks to us to keep us grounded on the path of righteousness, in the way of Jesus and His bloody suffering and death for the sin of the world. God speaks, so we know it’s Him who’s leading us along the way of godly men through this sinful, broken world.
Forgiveness, righteousness, wisdom, and understanding are not just ours because we believe in Jesus as Savior, these words are synonyms for Jesus. When we say "forgiveness," we mean, "Jesus." When we say, "righteousness," we mean, "Jesus." It's all about Jesus, and Jesus alone. All of God's salvation gifts for us are hidden in His Word, Jesus the Christ. God's salvation gifts are handed out to us in Jesus, not in all sorts of worldly conditions: white and non-white, male and female, smart and stupid, good and bad, spiritual and non-spiritual. In simple, earthly words, water, bread, and wine, God reveals His Christ and the way of our salvation.
In Christ, through faith, He guards and preserves us from sin, death, and hell. He preserves us whether we're radiation-sick, ulcerated, bone-chilled, stupefied, and starving or flush with well-being. Whatever life we have left in us, God's gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation are not based on our measuring up to His conditions. God’s salvation gifts are handed out to us without limit or measure because Jesus comes to us as Giver and gift. He speaks, and His Spirit opens our ears to hear, our mouths to eat and drink, and our hearts to believe. He is our forgiveness, righteousness, wisdom, and understanding. He is our strength and shield. He guards and preserves us in the way of His righteousness, today and always.