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A Primer on Forgiving Others for Lent

Pastor George Borghardt over at Higher Things has an excellent video short on forgiveness, entitled “Forgiving Un-Sorry People.”  The season of Lent is upon us and begins tomorrow with the imposition of ashes tomorrow.  This act of receiving ashes reminds us of our brokenness and our mortality.  We need a Savior to heal the brokenness and raise the dead to life.  For Christians, Lent is a season of reflection and repentance, where we focus on the sacrifice of the Christ on the Cross for our sins.  With repentance comes forgiveness of sins in Christ through his suffering, death and resurrection, forgiveness that is ours through Christ.  In the first of his 95 theses, Martin Luther observed

Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

Forgiveness is an essential part of that life of repentance.  And we forgive those who trespass against us, just as we are freely forgiven.  But who should we forgive? And should we forgive those who are not necessarily sorry for the wrong they have done?  Listen as Pr. Borghardt reflects on forgiving the un-sorry person:

Epiphany 1 and the Baptism of Jesus — I am Baptized into Christ

Today the church observed the Baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River by His cousin, John the Baptist.  Christ born under the law, took upon Himself our sin in the waters of the Jordan.  He cleansed that water, purified so that in the waters of our Baptism we might be made holy and righteous, receiving the gift of faith and the very Spirit of God.  Because of what Christ has done for us, we can gladly, confidently, assertively say:  “I am Baptized into Christ!!”  This is a phrase that is repeated in the Hymn, “God’s Own Child I’ll Gladly Say It!” which was added to the Lutheran Service Book as #594.

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any that brought me salvation free,
Lasting to eternity!

Jesus gave the full price for our redemption, what greater treasure can we have?  We can boldly say:  “I am Baptized into Christ!”  This is such a firm and blessed assurance that neither sin nor death need bother us.  And we can proclaim it to Satan himself, as Christ did  for us.

Below is a video from the Coram Deo Higher Things Conference in Atlanta where a group of Lutheran youth, 400+ strong sing this wonderful hymn.  As God’s child, gladly say it — better yet, sing along — I am baptized into Christ!

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any that brought me salvation free,
Lasting to eternity!

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me
Since my baptism did release me in a dear forgiving flood,
Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled,
All your might has come unraveled, and, against your tyranny,
God, my Lord, unites with me!

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes
Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.

There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising,
Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!

Text: Erdmann Neumester (1671-1756), Tr. Robert E. Voelker (b. 1957)
Tune: BACHOFEN – Johann Caspar Bachofen (1695-1755, alt.)
Christian Worship Supplement 
737:2-5/Lutheran Service Book 594:1-5