The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
October 18, 2020
Sixth in a series.
Matthew 16:13-20 (KJV) “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”
These words speak of the forgiveness of sins, impenitence and penitence. Lutherans have learned from the Small Catechism about the keys:
First: WHAT IS THE USE OF THE KEYS?
The use of the keys is that special power and right which Christ gave to his church on earth: to forgive the sins of penitent sinners but refuse forgiveness to the impenitent as long as they do not repent.
WHERE IS THIS WRITTEN?
The holy evangelist John writes in chapter 20, “[Jesus] breathed on [his disciples] and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”
This right and power was given to the church on earth to assure penitent sinners of the forgiveness of their sins, and to emphasize to impenitent sinners that their sins are not forgiven before God.
This is a matter of eternal life and eternal death. Manifestly (plainly) sinners who do not repent of their sins are to be refused the Lord’s Supper, which assures penitent sinners that God truly forgives their sins.
The Law of God shows us our sinfulness and the Gospel of Jesus Christ shows the forgiveness of sins which Christ earned for mankind. It is only through faith and penitence that anyone can receive the forgiveness of sins. Otherwise it is lost to the impenitent.
Lord, make us truly and sincerely penitent!
O God, because without thee we are not able to please thee, mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.