January 13, 2013
I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:11
Although it's a bad habit to read other people's mail, today I will make an exception.
This letter was written by a third-century Christian bishop, who lived in Carthage. His name is Cyprian, and he wrote to his friend Donatus. In the days before the empire embraced the Christian faith, the bishop wrote, "It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and wisdom, which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians ... and I am one of them."
Those words could have just as easily been penned today by one of the Savior's followers.
Like Cyprian, we live in a terrible world. All around us we see anger, hatred, sin and greed. Yet, there is -- in the midst of all this sin and corruption -- a group of people who have learned the great secret of life. But let us spell that word, secret, with a capital S.
Jesus is the great secret of life. He is a secret beyond comprehension. Now the wisest of our race cannot explain why God would love His sinning children enough to send His Son to take their place, their sins, their death upon Himself.
Yet, it is upon that secret -- that which we call, "God's undeserved grace" -- that all of our joy, hope and wisdom is based. Those who have welcomed the Babe of Bethlehem into their hearts, who acknowledge the Christ of the cross as Lord of their lives, who acknowledge the risen Redeemer are able to survive persecution and rejection.
We are humbled and awed as we acknowledge the Father's great gift to us. We rejoice that we have a new Master of our souls -- a Master who has overcome the pains and hurts of this corrupted planet.
We, like Cyprian, are proud to declare ourselves, "Christians" -- those who belong to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have continued to love me when I was unlovable and reached out to me when my sins made me untouchable. For Jesus' sacrifice, I offer You my deepest and most sincere appreciation. Now may I show to all the world that I am a follower of the Christ. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries