God is Praised when we Bear our Neighbor’s Sin

Advent 2 Wednesday

Romans 15:7

“Therefore, receive one another just as Christ received you to God’s praise.”

Why? Or what is it about this therefore? “There are two reasons,” says he, “why you should receive one another.” The first reason is that you hear that Scripture places Christ before us as an example of this: All the dishonor that dishonors God, namely, our sin, fell on Christ. Still, he did not despise us, reject us, or shame us; instead, he received us to redeem us from our sins. This is why it is just that we should do likewise. The other reason is that such example is praiseworthy and honorable before God. For God is praised and honored thereby in the following manner: Since Christ testifies everywhere that everything he does is his Father’s will and that he came only to do his Father’s will, it is certain that he also bore the dishonor of our sin only because it was his Father’s will. We see from this what an exceedingly merciful will of the Father rules over us, since he charged his own dearest Son to bear our sin and his dishonor, so that he did not have to condemn us for this reason. Now, when you rightly recognize such will of God, wholehearted love and laud of God must follow and his mercy must be praised. For man gains a cheerful, certain conscience toward God and cannot help but honor and praise such rich goods of God. See, this is what Paul calls establishing God’s honor through Christ in that he has received us and born and destroyed our sin. This is why we are to take on our neighbor’s sin, burden, and frailties, put up with them, improve them, and help him. When sinners or frail people hear or experience this, their heart grows confident toward God. It must say: “Oh, this is a fine, gracious God and true Father who wants his people not to judge sinners and frail people, not to condemn them, not to despise them; rather, they should receive and help us and let us walk with them as if our sins and frailties were their own.” Who would not love, laud, praise, and honor such a God and wholeheartedly entrust to him all things? What will he be like if he wants his people to be like this? See, such praise God wants to gain through us when we receive one another and each lets his neighbor’s cause be his own cause. In this way, the people are enticed to believe; and those who believe already are strengthened in their faith. But where is this example in the world now? There are only tyrants, even devils, ruling the church who are doing nothing but excommunicating, cursing, driving, and chasing.

St. Louis ed., 12:44-45.

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