Thursday, January 14, 2010

Throw Your Sin Down and Come

It can feel rather awkward and challenging to come to the Table of the Lord joyfully after an announcement of excommunication. When this kind of action becomes necessary, we have to recognize that God is disciplining not only the offender but all of us, the entire congregation. He is teaching us wisdom collectively. But this should not cause us to have vague feelings of guilt. If these words have convicted you of a specific sin that needs confessing, then by all means confess it and forsake it at the soonest possible moment. But this sort of chastening ought to yield in us the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews says that no chastening seems joyful for the present, but painful; however, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness. He goes on to say that we must watch carefully that there be no root of bitterness springing up to cause trouble and by this many become defiled. But the great antidote to bitterness is thankfulness, the great weapon against discouragement is Eucharist. The heart that receives and is trained by discipline is fundamentally thankful. It hurts for the present, it is not pleasant or fun, but thankfulness sees a Faithful Father at work. So do not be discouraged when the Lord rebukes you. For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. The tangible proof that you are a son and that He receives you is the fact that He invites you now to His table, to fellowship with Him, to receive His strength and life and blessing. So be assured, God your Father rejoices over you, He loves you, and you are welcome here. So come, throw your sins down, and come eat, drink, and give thanks.

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