Jesus Christ loves you. There is no ambiguity. There is no reason to doubt this. He has come to you specifically in the waters of Holy Baptism where you were joined with Him. You are part of His body, the Church, His bride.  You have been made holy and clean by the washing of water with the Word. Your sins have been forgiven. You have been rescued from death and the devil. You have received eternal salvation. You were sealed with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus purchased you with His blood, brought you into Himself, and made you a new creation. You are part of God’s holy family, adopted as a son, a joint heir with Christ. Because of Jesus, you will be raised incorruptible and live with Him and all the saints in the New Heaven and Earth without sin, death, and evil.

Though we cannot do anything to merit the grace and mercies God has poured upon us in Christ, there is an appropriate response in our lives now. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 11:36-12:2) And the Lord enables our response, bringing to death our sinful flesh and raising us up in Christ. 

Our Lord Himself actively engages with us through the ministry of the Word. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). He does not avoid doing what is necessary and good for us. This includes confronting us in our sin and putting to death the sinful flesh that clings to us, so that He may raise up in us the new life that will continue in eternity. We will not get this from the world, which does not love us or care about us. The world will encourage you to do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. But this is a lie. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20)

When we avoid engaging with the Word of God, whether at home with our Bible or in the Divine Service where His Word is preached and administered in the Sacraments, we are avoiding our Lord. However, when we engage with God’s Word and Sacrament, we are engaging with our Lord!