There is Only One Who is Permanent

 
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No matter what "doing our best" means to us, we all know from experience that our best isn't good enough. It's never good enough, because no matter how much we love, or argue, or worry, or laugh, and as much as we treat each other as if we are permanent, death comes for us all.

But, death isn’t permanent either. There is only One who is permanent. There is only one Word that can actually do what it says. There is only One who actually gives life. There is only One who is permanent, who establishes a relationship with us that’s permanent, who speaks a word to us that’s permanent, and who comes and serves us as Giver and gift: today and always in life, death, and new life, this is Jesus the Savior, our God.

Our Jesus, Savior, and God. Our Jesus now saves us, doing for us what we can't do, what nobody can do. Jesus now saves us from death. Baptism now saves us, because in baptism we are made to die to everything and everyone that gets in the way of our God and Savior, Jesus, being Resurrection and Life for us.

Baptism, not doing our best, is what saves us (1 Pet. 3:21) when we're powerless to save ourselves. When we're hurting, mourning, or struggling because we’re powerless to save ourselves from death, all our best is proven to be not good enough (and it’s never good enough). When our mind betrays us, our body fails us, and our soul can't be comforted, our Jesus now saves us.

When our mind betrays us, our body fails us, and our soul can’t be comforted, our Jesus now saves us.
— Donavon Riley

Our one certain hope is that Jesus' baptismal promise is permanent. Baptism is permanent. His body and blood are permanent. His forgiveness, and His life, and His eternal salvation are permanent. Jesus sets us free to be baptized children of God because that's the only thing - the only thing - that is permanent for any of us.

And, thank God it is, because when our mind betrays us, and our body fails us, and our soul refuses to be comforted, God sends His preacher to say to us: "You are freed in baptism from having to worry about, and do, and be at your best especially when death comes for you."

We’re freed in baptism from having to live as if we’re permanent. We’re free in baptism to love each other with all of our mind, and all of our heart, and all of ourselves because we’re not promised tomorrow. But, we are promised that baptism now saves us. On account of our baptism in Jesus’ Name, nothing can separate us from God’s love for us. Nothing we can throw at His cross, not even our death, can separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is our resurrection and life, so that even in death, we may rest upon His life. It is no longer we who live, but on account of our baptism into Christ, the life we live we live through faith in the Son of God who gave himself for us (Gal. 2:20). It’s no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us, all of us baptized. He who is our resurrection and life, lives in us. That means that when death comes we can laugh at death, and say “There’s nothing left to take. In Baptism, God took all of me, heart, mind, and soul. The Lord Jesus Christ took all of me in baptism, so there is nothing left for you, death."

"There’s nothing left of me for you, death. There’s nothing left for you because my Jesus gave Himself to me in baptism. My Jesus put me to death in baptism and gave me a new life (Rom. 6:3-4). My Jesus is my Resurrection and Life, so death you have no more sting, you have no more bite, and there's nothing that you can do, death, to threaten me because I'm free to be baptized child of God."

Now, in Christ, everything is gift. Even death is a gift.
— Donavon Riley

We are free to be baptized children of God and love each other, knowing that Jesus has already accomplished everything for us. Now, in Christ, everything is gift. Even death is a gift, because in death we are taken from this world of selfishness, and pain, and worry and we can say to death, “Thank you for finally coming to take me to my Jesus.”

Our grave isn’t a pit, black as death. Our grave is the door to eternal life and a final witness to the power of Jesus’ resurrection. In the power of Jesus' resurrection we live.

Our Jesus saves us from death. Our Jesus now saves us from death. Baptism now saves us from death. And, the life we now live we live through faith in the Son of God, who gave Himself for us, and who rose from the dead for us so that we may now live a new life in the power of Jesus' resurrection. We live because our Jesus lives. And because He lives, our Jesus now saves us.

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.



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