The Cost

   This month let us meditate on the cost bore by the one true God who has adopted us as His children.  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus during that night of Holy Week about the necessity of being conceived from above (John 3: 3 – 6).  We, like Nicodemus, struggle at times to grasp the magnitude of our reconciled paternal relationship which God has brought us into in Baptism.  Jesus spoke of a divine action by which God Himself gives us true and eternal life, placing His name upon you and me, claiming us as His children, giving us power to be called children of God, and the faith to both grasp and embrace this priceless present and eternal familial relationship. 


     Both our heavenly Father and His only begotten Son agreed and accepted the price of our adoption before the foundation of the world.  God had created man in His image, formed Adam with His hands, breathed into him the breath of life, and claimed him as a son.  Yet, the sadistic, fraudulent father of lies sought to enlarge his family beyond the unclean spirits that were cast with him out of God’s presence.  He desired to desecrate man by deforming us into his image.  Tragically, Satan’s deadly temptation was acted upon by Adam and Eve.  In that instant, mankind was bound under the evil one’s profane power and became his illegitimate children as Adam’s sin was transmitted from one generation to the next.  God promised Adam and Eve that His true Son would save mankind through a fierce and spiritual contest upon another tree, the cursed tree – the cross, where true and eternal life for mankind would be purchased and eternally secured.


     God accepted the price of our adoption with Jesus’ sacrificial suffering and death upon the cross and guaranteed our adoption with Jesus’ resurrection.  Jesus reinforced our adoption with His words to Mary Magdalene in the garden on the morning of His resurrection (John 20: 16 – 18).  Then He sent her will the Gospel to His disciples, calling them His brothers while speaking of their familial relationship with God the Father.  He did not call them half-brothers, stepbrothers, or in any other status than His siblings, a perfect, complete, and accepted child of God.


     Let us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, daily remember our adoption by our heavenly Father.  Let us daily arise from a night’s rest invoking the name of the Triune God as given to us a His legitimate children, siblings of Christ Jesus, heirs of His kingdom, and stewards of the gifts He has given us to do His work in His kingdom in our baptism.  Praise God for He has chosen you and me to be His children.  Praise God for He has conceived us by the power of His Holy Spirit in Baptism.  His adoption is perfect, complete and eternal.


     Next, let us meditate upon the spiritual storm that Adam’s rebellion unleashed upon both mankind and creation.  Adam mutinied and all mankind was cast out of pure and perfect health, fellowship and peace into disease, pain, anxiety, want, and conflict.  Creation suffers with weather that destroys life and materials with extreme heat and cold, floods and drought, and man’s excesses and indifference (Romans 8: 22).


     God created everything in good and perfect order and harmony.  His glory shined brightly within and among all the creation on the Seventh Day.  God came to Adam in the cool of the day and there was perfect fellowship between God and man in the Garden of Eden.  Then an unclean influence was allowed to enter the Garden of Eden, testing Adam and Eve’s love for God and one another.  The evil one lusted for the opportunity to expose their weaknesses in trust, wisdom and innocence.  Thus, evil approached them disguised as a wise serpent (Matthew 10: 16; 2 Corinthians 11: 14).  He attacked their faith that God had given them everything needful for the work He had given them in the Garden of Eden.  He suggested God’s love and provision was lacking, their reason and strength was equal to God’s, and knowledge of evil was more desirable than innocent submission to the will of God.  He struck at the image of God in order that it would be desecrated and deformed into his image:  holiness and love for profanity and enmity and perfect peace to stormy conflict.  God then came to those He loved.  He called to them in friendship.  He sought those that did not seek Him.  He extended justice and mercy to those who falsely judged and accused Him of evil.  He promised salvation to those who were unable to save themselves.


     Today, the spiritual tempest that erupted upon creation through Adam’s rebellion and lawlessness continuously swirls around us.  Chaos and mayhem wreak havoc on mankind and nature alike.  Sickness and death devour man and creatures without regard for fame, fortune, intelligence, physical abilities, age, or gender.  Adam, Eve and you and me did not gain what the serpent offered:  the knowledge of good and evil or the likeness of God.  Adam and Eve already possessed both of these divine gifts for they knew they had access and use of every tree EXCEPT ONE in the garden for their good.  They knew that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not given to them and to eat of it would result in evil – death.  God’s hands and breath had created them in His image, not a flawed likeness of God. 


     Mankind remains blind to the evil that beckons to and ensnares them, indulging in self-gratification and idolatries.  Sin, death and the power of the evil one are wrongly recognized as the normal and natural expression of man’s self-destructive and self-consuming nature.  Humans are conditioned to view their losses of opportunity, health, or fortune as a cruel gift of fate.  Unbelieving mankind, in their own reason or strength, cannot see the truth that fortune and misfortune allow them know good and evil.  God uses both for good – to train up His children to look to Him, focus on Him, trust in Him, submit to His will, humbly and obey Him.  Thereby He comforts us as He conforms us more and more into the image of His only begotten Son by the power of the Holy Spirit and keeps us steadfast in the one true faith.  He gives us eyes of faith to see the good He gives and the evil that defiles, enslaves, and destroys unrepentant sinners.  However, our old Adam and the evil ones use both for evil – to enslave us in our own self-sufficiency, focus our attention inward, primarily trust our reason and strength, and submit first and foremost to our wants and desire.  Thereby they maintain the profane and obscene image of a rebel and anarchist who lusts after every false god.


     Let us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, daily remember that while fallen men mean it for evil, God means it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Genesis 50: 20).  Therefore, “Let us ever walk with Jesus” (Lutheran Worship Book – hymn 685) and never wander into the spiritual tempest that seeks to damage and destroy.

Amen and Amen.