Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Repent…to want to do better; to turn away from; to desire to change. Repent. Let the law of God speak to you, convict you, and confess your sins. Repent. Lent has begun. The ashes have been smeared on our foreheads reminding us we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Lent is a penitential season. A time for reflection on our sin. The very sin Christ took upon himself in His baptism and nailed to the cross for our reconciliation with God. There it is….the fulfillment of the Gospel; forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
It's wonderful to know and believe in the Gospel, for Jesus teaches us that not only is our Father willing to forgive us, but that he has forgiven us all of our sins for the sake of Jesus. After all, Jesus did exactly what God expected of us. In our stead, Jesus suffered God's full judgment and punishment that we deserve because of our arrogant and rebellious breaking of his Law. Because of that, when we pray The Lord's Prayer, we may pray confidently: "Forgive us our trespasses."
Jesus made it plain that He came to forgive sinful people: "I have come to seek and to save those who are lost." Nobody needs forgiveness any more than we do. Why, then, do we hold on to our guilt and not enjoy our Father's forgiveness? Perhaps it's because we find it so difficult to for- give others. You see, God gave us the cross, not just to forgive us for our sins but to lead us to do the same for others. Jesus teaches us to pray: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
To forgive those who have wronged us is one of the greatest Christian virtues we can possess. On the other hand, not to forgive, even those who seek no forgiveness from us, deadens our spirits and builds a wall be- tween us and God. Jesus says, "If you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Lent. A penitential season. Come with a contrite heart. Come and confess. Come and receive the gifts God so freely gives. Life, salvation and forgiveness of all your sins….
Serving Christ with you,
The Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm serves as Interim Pastor at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in Omaha Nebraska until Pastor Drebes returns from medical leave. He is a retired LCMS pastor from Dakota Dunes, SD. He currently serves as the Chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors, St. Louis, MO. Dr. Kumm has served churches in South Dakota and Southern Illinois as well as on the professional staff of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. While serving these local congregations, he has served his community as a law enforcement chaplain and has served as the District Pastoral Advisor for the Lutheran Layman’s League; Circuit Counselor and as a delegate to Synod conventions. Additionally, Dr. Kumm serves as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW), a joint corporation of the LCMS and our German partner Church, the SELK.