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Appreciate God’s Grace

ephesians2-8-9

This last Sunday we had our Confirmation Service here at Trinity. It is surprising how quickly the joy of that special day seems to pass. After worship, my wife, daughter and I attended Confirmation parties as we celebrated the fact that 5 young Christians are now communicant members of the congregation. Now it is a couple days later and the focus has shifted to other events. There are other tasks to get done. The end of the school year is quickly approaching. There are more meetings to attend and worship services to be conducted. Life goes on.

Before Confirmation 2016 passes too far into our memories, I want to go back to that day and think about how it highlights God’s grace. The verses for this devotion from Ephesians 2 were also used for a Confirmation Verse for one of our Confirmands this last Sunday. Ephesians 2:8-9 emphasizes for us that God’s grace is the entire reason for our eternal salvation. We cannot save ourselves in any way. We have to rely entirely on God’s love for us through our Savior Jesus Christ. As I mentioned this last Sunday, we also have to rely on God’s grace in order for us to remain strong in our faith and hold to the Confirmation Promise.

Our 5 Confirmands are living under God’s grace. They did not earn their forgiveness by coming to church or to Catechism classes. At times, it probably felt like a chore for them to learn God’s Word week after week. They got tired of doing homework, taking tests, and memorizing portions of the catechism. In some ways it probably felt like they earned their right to be confirmed and to come to the Lord’s Supper. But that is not entirely accurate. God the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts through their time in class. He nurtured their faith and led them to complete the class. He helped them to mature in their faith so that they could receive forgiveness, life and salvation through the Means of Grace – the gospel message in Word and Sacrament.

God now welcomes them to the Lord’s Supper. Together with all other confirmed members of the church, they receive God’s grace by partaking of his body and blood. As with so many other elements of our faith, attending the Lord’s Supper is not something we do for God. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, he is working in our hearts. He is forgiving our sins and strengthening our faith. He is keeping us on the path toward heaven.  We continue to come to worship and the Lord’s Supper not because we are doing a work for God. Rather we come to worship and the Lord’s Supper because that is a time when God works in our hearts. He gives us his blessings.  

We can’t boast about anything we do. We are saved entirely by God’s grace. As I was distributing the Lord’s Supper this last Sunday, I marveled at God’s grace. Because it was Confirmation Sunday, we started by communing the new Confirmands. As they received the Lord’s Supper for the first time, our Junior Choir began singing “God’s Word is Our Great Heritage.” After the 2016 Confirmands had communed, we went to the front row of church to commune a few of our members. As we communed a married couple that was confirmed back in 1938, the choir finished singing “throughout all generations.” God’s grace was on display. The generations of Trinity are connected by their eating and drinking of the Lord’s Supper. God’s grace preserves his people all the way to their eternal home.

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